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“Beautiful, another world....” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Belmond Villa San Michele

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Belmond Villa San Michele
Ranked #1 of 11 Hotels in Fiesole
Certificate of Excellence
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
13 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“Beautiful, another world....”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 5, 2007

I took my boyfriend here for 3 nights for his 30th birthday and had a wonderful stay apart from the first day. We arrived after our flight being delayed for 3 hours and our baggage being badly damaged and ready to relax! The receptionist took us all the way up a winding path to the little chapel and got inside the room and discovered it was the wrong room and guests clothes were in there! After waiting outside for 20 minutes they eventually came back and showed us to the right room in the main building. Later that night we had a 20 minute wait (we asked 3 waiters for menus) just for a drink. i was upset and the receptionist was extremely nice and couldnt do enough. The next day they upgraded us to the Michaelangelo suite (2100 euroes a night) and the meal in the restaurant that night was exceptional. The setting is beautiful - breaktaking view over florence, gorgeous pool and overall good service. Dont go there without money to spend. They booked us in to museum and added a heft booking fee ontop! Great shuttle service to and from town.

  • Liked — Unique hotel steeped in history, Bulgari bathroom toiletries, views and food
  • Disliked — Got bitten twice
  • Stayed August 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank Lynda81
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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377 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (57)
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London
Level Contributor
30 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 28, 2006

Having read some of the reviews on the Villa San Michele I do wonder if I have been staying at the same hotel. If there is a better hotel with better service in Europe let alone Italy I have yet to stay in it.

I recently spent a week at the hotel with my wife and two daughters aged 6 and 12. I can not think of anything negative to say about the hotel. On arrival we were upgraded to 2 adjoining junior suites with terraces that had the most wonderful views over Florence. We stayed on a half board package which was very favourable for a couple with two young children.

The food at the hotel was excellent and the waiting staff as good as it gets. The pool and pool service were also first class. In particular anyone who thinks that the hotel in the Summer is not suitable for well behaved kids is mistaken. The children had a fantastic time and were warmly welcomed. However I am sure that many families would not enjoy this type of holiday.

Yes of course the hotel is expensive but what do you expect? In fact the cost was the same as week spent at the Augustus in Forte Dei Marmi where the rooms were worse than I would expect in a 3 star hotel.
I look forward to returning.

  • Liked — Outstanding rooms, bathrooms and terraces
  • Disliked — Nothing
  • Tips/Secrets — Book a junior suite with a view
  • Stayed August 2006, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
4 Thank JGRL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Switzerland
Level Contributor
8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 26, 2006

We have stayed at many of the best and most luxurious hotels in the world, so we have some idea of what we should expect when staying in a 5 star hotel charging from approx. 1000 Euros per night. However, the Villa San Michele was not up to the usual 5 star luxury standard. Having stayed in 5 star hotels in other parts of Italy, we know that the standard of accommodation and service is often different from other countries and the interiors are mostly on the 'needs to be rennovated' side. The VSM is a beautiful hotel with the most fantastic view of Florence you could find. A rennovated 15th century hillside Monestary with a stunning view of Florence is a unique staying experience, but this is all you are paying for. The food is not bad, but mediocre. We expected it to be expensive as it would be at similar hotels of this class, but it was not worth it. You can get a fanastic meal in the center of Florence for less than 50% of what you pay here and the food is much better. Again, you are paying for the view. The accommodation is not bad. It is quite basic as they seem to keep a traditional Monestary style decor. The pool facilities were good and also the free shuttle service into Florence was good. The overall service was friendly but often very slow and inefficient. We felt the hotel was very understaffed in all areas. We had to carry part of our own luggage into reception as there was only one guy on the door who was handling all the concierge requests. We had a good time in Florence, but were dissapointed at the lack of service for hotel of this quality vs. it's peers.

  • Stayed June 2006
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
22 Thank lexicat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
Level Contributor
360 reviews
75 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 244 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 12, 2006

We stayed at the hotel from May 23 to the 28th.
Where to start? It was just incredible. Service was amazing. Rooms were excellent. Food to die for. And the view? Words can't do it justice.

Nothing to complain about at all. Front desk was great, the towel guy at the pool was attentive (a little boy broke a plate by the pool. The towel guy goes over & picks the kid up & carries him away from all of the glass, then puts a towel on him...), and even the driver of the shuttle bus to town was great.

If you're going to stay in Florence, do it right. I know it's expensive, but well worth it.

We've had the pleasure to stay at some of the finest hotels in the world. This way out-classes the Four Seasons, the Bellagio, Fairmont hotels, etc.

  • Stayed May 2006
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
8 Thank MSkinner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bay Area, CA
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 8, 2006

We just returned from an 8 day trip to Italy, 2 nights at Villa San Michele. In a nutshell, this place is stunning, romantic, scenic, and everything we ever could have wanted. We will definitely return as soon as possible.

We stayed in a Junior Suite, which was spacious, but didn't have a separate sitting room. Frankly we think those are overrated anyway, and was more than made up for by the huge and beautiful bath. Moreover, out front of the room was a large, beautiful and private garden with views of Florence and it's famous Duomo. We spent every spare moment together in the garden. It was like having our own villa atop a Tuscan mountain.

The grounds are amazing. First of all, it's a former monastery designed by Michelangelo. I'm mean come-on, how can you miss that?! And everything about the main building and the grounds are absolutely gorgeous. There are flowering vines crawling up the ancient walls, lovely gardens with fruit trees, hundreds of colorful potted plants, manicured lawns as well as overgrown and lush gardens, a pool carved out of the hillside . . . It's a landscape lovers dream. The restaurant has an interior room, as well as a long patio overlooking Florence. Each morning and evening we found ourselves parked at a table on the patio looking down onto one of the most beautiful cities in the world. As the sun sets, the red roofs and hills change colors and cast long shadows across the valley. It left us speechless. And since Fiesole is on a hill overlooking the valley in which Florence is tucked, it gets cool breezes while the town is roasting.

And the staff was incredible. The restaurant staff is attentive, helpful, friendly, but reserved. While some writers have complained about the food for the price, our meals were incredible. Simply wonderful. The front desk was perfect. But our favorite staff member was Maurizio, the concierge, who hooked us up with everything. Last minute tickets to see David at the Accademia, the Uffizi, a limo through Chianit, a private tour of a 1000 year-old farm, dinner reservations . . . Since we didn't have but two weeks to plan our trip, Maurizio proved to be priceless for us.

I have read the other reviewers complaints about VSM, and I simply cannot agree with them. Some people feel it's for an older crowd or that it was too pricey. I think they simply felt out-classed by this incredible place. My husband and I are in our mid-thirties and have the privilege of traveling quite a bit, and to very nice places. We found that for the money, which was quite expensive, there was great value. The views, the setting, the comfort, the privacy, the romance, the food, and the impeccable staff were worth every penny.

Helpful?
7 Thank DisappintedLocal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
bishops stortford
Level Contributor
117 reviews
34 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 85 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 6, 2006

This hotel is unique. It is in a fabulous setting with awesome views of Florence. The gardens are immaculate. The service is great - attentive at all times without being oppressive. When the hotel bus was full we were immediately offered a complimentary taxi paid for by the hotel/ The food was very good though not exceptional. Our room was very nice - again not exceptional. I liked the rustic furniture but the room was disappointingly small and our bathroom rather cramped. We had a fabulous view though and we enjoyed the care taken to keep our room serviced at all times. The pool was wonderful - admittedly up a few steps but gorgeous with views over Florence and excellent poolside service. I made use of the simple but pleasant gym facilities. I am surprised that anyone felt that they were packed off to bed as we stayed up partying to the small hours without a hint that we were in any way unwelcome. Overall the hotel is full of character, in a beautiful setting, with spectacular gardens, delicious food and the best service you could hope for. We had a magical time there and I would absolutely recommend this hotel to anyone. Our stay was paid for by my husbands company and I must admit that I would not want to pay the advertised rates. The hotel while luxurious does not really justify those rates.

  • Stayed May 2006
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
9 Thank squoogle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Palm Beach
Level Contributor
29 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 161 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 8, 2006

I scanned some of the comments on the Villa San Michele before I wrote this piece (one of them claims to be by a travel writer!) and I wondered if we stayed at the same hotel.

The villa is situated in the hills of Fiesole with beautiful views across Florence and the valley. The facade of the old monastery building was designed by Michelango and that is the hotel’s finest feature.

My wife and I visited in August 2005. We stayed in a room in the main building on our first night and subsequently in a junior suite in the grounds for the remaining time.

Many of the rooms in the garden area have small semi-private terraces with views of Florence. Some of the garden “cottages” have private spaces. The location therefore is “picture postcard” perfect. The downside is that the hotel is built into the hillside, so that any rooms in the main building facing the rear have a view of a stone wall a few feet from the window. No sun permeates this chasm and the rooms with this aspect have very little daylight. They are gloomy and in semi darkness at all times of the day to such an extent that one needs to leave the lights on no matter how bright a day it is outside. We were offered one of these rooms for the first night of our vacation and paid over €1,000 for the privilege of staying in it. They should have paid us!

I may on a bit of a rant here, but I hate hotels that give you the worst room in the house when you arrive late in the afternoon and think that you should find it acceptable. Normally this occurs when one is the last to arrive and everyone else has rejected the room…..leaving you to draw the short straw. On this occasion it was because of a full house and a late booking. However, they should have told us what to expect.

On our second day we were moved to a junior suite in a terrace of outside rooms set back into the hillside with large (floor to ceiling) front windows, containing a glass door inset into the window, overlooking the garden area. There are no windows to the rear or sides for obvious reasons. The glass door opens up onto a small semi private terrace with public walkways to the front of it. The décor of the room is tired and sparse - the most notable feature and conversation piece being a television that rises out of a box at the bottom of the bed. The room was furnished meagerly in a rustic manner (as is most of the hotel). There was nothing comfortable or chic about it. However, it was very clean. Although described as a junior suite, it was in reality a slightly larger than average sized bedroom. For this we paid in well in excess of €2,000 per night.

As the room was set into the hillside, it gave the feeling of staying in a cave – complete with bugs! The design,landscaping and the setting attract mosquitoes in abundance. I still carry the scars.

Again, because of the hotel’s location there are steps everywhere. It is not suitable for someone who has ambulatory problems. The swimming pool has stupendous views, but it is 90 plus stair-steps up the hillside. There is no lift, so you need to be into hill walking.

The restaurant with its external cloistered balcony has the most beautiful and romantic view over Florence. The food was average, not of Michelin star quality and nothing like it is possible to experience in France. Do not stay too late enjoying your companions or sipping wine slowly. The member of staff left to “close up” takes a dim view, scowling at the night owls.

Which brings us to service: It was polite and pleasant (except late at night, as above) and especially so during the lunch period. The Maitre de was professional and polished with the demeanor of a “Hudson” and would not have been out of place in Buckingham Palace. The front of house staff were welcoming, helpful and informative; the only exception occurring when we voiced our resistance to staying in the villa’s “dark room” for our first night.

Would we go back? Definitely not. I value my comforts too much. And in return for a 5 star price, I expect 5 star accommodation, comfort and service; not an overpriced, mosquito ridden, monastic cell.

  • Stayed August 2005
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
37 Thank tullyraine
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Belmond Villa San Michele

Property: Belmond Villa San Michele
Address: Via Doccia 4, 50014, Fiesole, Italy
Phone Number:
Location: Italy > Tuscany > Province of Florence > Fiesole
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 11 Hotels in Fiesole
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Belmond Villa San Michele 5*
Number of rooms: 46
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

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