The views from and the history of VSM are extraordinary (facade by Michaelangelo, no less!) but all else needs work to warrant the price and reputation, in my opinion.
We had two connecting junior suites and both were in need of some modernization and beautification. The AC was glitchy, causing the temperature to flucuate greatly during the night. There was only one light switch for the whole multi-sectioned bathroom (so it was all on or all off with no possibility of a nightlight). The tubs and showers employed a dial to control water temp that was very hard to adjust. The TVs were embedded in oddly placed, unattractive, table-type things that didn't work very well. The doors could only be locked from the inside with a key, and the locks were sticky and hard to use. The decor of the rooms in general was old-fashioned and bland. The beds were hard and the sheets were rough.
There's a way to maintain a historical, authetic look and feel while still making things pretty and highly functional. VSM could learn a lot from the Four Seasons Florence down the road where they have masterfully converted an old palace and convent into a stunning, modern hotel. The rooms at VSM were just not very comfortable or attractive, aside from the gorgeous views.
Oh and the gym was one of ths saddest I've ever seen at a high caliber hotel. A tiny room filled with flies and bees (fresh flowers in a gym the size of a bathroom don't make sense).
The service was good but not exemplary. Some folks were very nice (gentleman serving at pool restaurant was wonderful, for example) but many were stiff and unfriendly. Because we were on our honeymoon, they put candles and "rose petals" in our room for us when we were at dinner one night. A very nice, unexpected treat. But the "rose petals" were made of paper which struck me weird, surprising and a little tacky?
The food was decent but hugely overpriced, especially at dinner. 12E for a bottle of water?!
Speaking of water, the ones in the minibar were also 12E, which seems exorbitant. And we were charged 6E for the Wall Street Journal, though there was no mention of that cost when we were asked at checkin which papers we preferred.
We visted many 5 star hotels on this trip to Italy. VSM had by far the highest room rate and was the only one to charge for water and newspapers. I don't like feeling nickeled and dimed when I'm spending thousands of dollars a night somewhere.
All in all, it was a rather disappointing stay that did not nearly live up to the cost or the reputation of the place. We'll happily remain at the Four Seasons next time (an absolutely FANTASTIC hotel in every way).
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A short distance from the centre of Florence, Belmond Villa San Michele is housed in a 15th-century monastery with a façade designed by Michelangelo. It is surrounded by a large, wooded park and lush terraced gardens boasting magnificent views of the city and the Arno Valley below. The 45 bedrooms and suites are simple, peaceful and elegant while the Renaissance splendour of Florence is a mere 15 minutes away with the complimentary shuttle service, running every 20 minutes. La Loggia Restaurant provides a unique dining venue where guests can enjoy their lunch or dinner, based on Italian and Tuscan cuisine, while admiring the view over Florence. For a light lunch or a snack, the Pool Restaurant, situated directly by the hilltop panoramic swimming pool, is the ideal place. For food lovers, the renown Cooking School offers hands-on lessons to learn how to prepare the best Italian specialties. A Kids' Club and a dedicated Kids' Concierge are available to make the stay of younger guests truly unforgettable. The new Davanzati Room offers privacy and tranquillity thanks to its exclusive location, and a spacious terrace with a view for small banquets, cocktails and coffee breaks. Ideal for hosting meetings, launches and presentations, it also serves as a space for banquets for up to 100 people. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Villa San Michele By Orient-Express Hotel Fiesole
- Hotel San Michele
- San Michele Hotel
- Belmond Villa San Michele Fiesole, Province Of Florence, Italy