Four Seasons Hotel Florence
Stepping into the Four Seasons Hotel Florence lobby is stepping back into a 15th-Century Renaissance dream. The palace is stunningly decorated with remarkable frescoes, original bas reliefs and stuccoes, hinting to the glory of its former 15th-century Palazzo della Gherardesca days. Four Seasons spent 7 years to restore the palace to allow us all to enjoy a few days of life as a Florentine noble, and what an exceptional job they have done.
The Michelangelo style statue that greets you as you enter is exactly how you expect to be welcomed to Florence. The hotel spreads out further to include La Villa, a sixteenth-century former convent on the other side of the eleven-acre park, the largest private garden in Florence. Our room faced out to the garden, feeling more like a countryside getaway amongst an oasis of calm.
Walking through the gardens produces lots of curiosities with quirky artworks amongst secluded areas. Climbing a hidden pathway, I arrived at what felt like a secret, a gazebo picnic area complete with a plug to connect your music to the hidden speakers. It’s this level of detail, which is dotted throughout the hotel, that makes Four Seasons such a special brand.
Rooms have all been individually decorated, with no expense spared in the uses of silk, velvet, marble and antique furniture. They serve as relaxing old-style escapes from the bustle of the outside.
The Atrium Bar is the spot within Florence to see and be seen, a perfect place to meet for an aperitif or cocktail. The pianist that plays here in the evenings is one of the highlights of the hotel, playing with such passion that kept us coming back every night. The staff perfectly balance their interactions and pay such attention that by my second evening I was already able to order ‘the usual’.
Il Palagio Restuarant is home to 1 Michelin Star. But if stars could be given out for ambience, this place would be swimming in them. It is here that breakfast is served underneath grand chandeliers, with vaulted ceilings, elegant decor and views out to the gardens.
During the winter months, Sunday’s are taken over by Brunch. It feels as though this is a regular hangout for the Florentines who come here, seeming to spot friends to greet on every table. The kitchen is opened up from where guests can select from a range of main courses. We had the best spot next to the window and were taken care of by the faultless staff who make you feel so welcome and somehow completely at home in their 15th-Century palace restaurant. We were served a delicious vegan menu created especially for us which tasted sublime accompanied by Piedmont white wine.
With one of the best Spa’s in all of Italy, the Chianti wine massage is the perfect way to unwind from a busy day tasting wines in the Tuscan countryside. The accompanying fitness suite is the best equipped hotel gym I’ve ever seen. They have personal trainers on hand as well as Group Fitness, Yoga and Walks in the Park.
Four Seasons Florence is located a short walk from the old town. The aim was to create a new experience for visitors, to allow guests to appreciate a side of Florence that rarely gets seen. Away from the hustle and bustle of the art & architectural treasures, instead exploring an area that is still relatively unspoiled, but within walking distance of the major sights.
Having stayed in a few Four Season’s, this one has to be my favourite. The architecture and artwork create the perfect Florentine ambiance, the facilities are exceptional, the room far beyond any home from home, but the staff here are what makes this the hotel to stay at. From the doormen greeting you as you arrive, to the breakfast waiter ensuring you have everything you could dream of, the housekeeping adding new surprises every time you come into the room and the bar staff greeting you as though you’re an old friend, I felt at completely at home, and as home is where the heart is, I look forward to going back.