Our experience of European hotels, especially when compared to hotels in asia and some of the places we frequent, is that they are generally very small rooms.
So imagine our delight when we arrived at the St Regis, and were shown to a lovely Arno River View Junior Suite. We are platinum, so we were upgraded from a Premium River View room to this type of room.
Not only is it palatial in size, but the new fittings and furnishings are breathtaking and of the highest quality. I know a lot of people say things like this, but we are not big fans of antiques, and so this sort of thing doesn't usually impress us, but the furniture, fittings, flooring, all of it is of magnificently high quality.
If I am sitting in the bedroom and my husband in the lounge area, we struggle to be able to hear each other because the space is so large.
Room 208, the Dante Suite, on the second floor, looks onto the main courtyard of Ognissanti, but is towards the Arno River side, and has the view down towards the Ponte Vecchio. It has a balcony, just behind some of the hotel flags, which looks onto the square and towards the Westin Excelsior too.
The suite is also furnished with a butler service and free hot beverage service, which we used extensively for our morning espresso.
While the room is fashioned in the old style, the comforts are modern, with flat screen TVs in both rooms and plenty of good downlights. The bed was extremely comfortable.
The bathroom quite usable with separate shower and tub, and a guest bathroom as well.
The walk-in closet had lights which turn on when you enter, automatically, which was a lovely touch.
The climate control was a Daikin system which was unintrusive and not "blowy" in any way. This time of year, in winter, it heated the room quickly when needed, but not intrusively.
The TV had the ability to attach an HDMI device to it without one of those stupid european cable systems they sometimes put onto the TVs which disable all other connections, so we were able to attach our Apple TV or our iPad directly to watch the programming we brought with us. I know this doesn't matter to most, but to me it is a must.
The staff at the hotel are charming and friendly and were able to cater to our every need, organising a quick dentist for me around the corner when I had a problem with a tooth, providing advice and booking for a porter for the train station, and organising for packages to be forwarded to Rome for us. All was done quickly and easily and appeared not to be a chore for them, which it so often seems at many other hotels. They were delighted to help, which was lovely.
Staff in all the hotel areas were equally accommodating, personable and friendly.
We had the breakfast in the lovely tea room only one morning. I had the eggs benedict (which in Florence, as I found out, are actually eggs Florentine... which makes sense). The food was very good and somewhat reasonably priced considering the style and class of hotel. The staff at the restaurant were still friendly, but not quite as accommodating, I thought, as in other areas of the hotel. However, they were still efficient.
The ONLY thing I could fault, which I don't think is the hotel's fault, is the street noise.
When I had read other reviews of the hotel, I felt people were perhaps being a bit melodramatic, and I figured I'd sleep fine here, because I'm a reasonably heavy sleeper.
But alas, despite the windows being double-glazed, somehow the sound gets in... it must have something to do with the old building. And in Florence, there are regularly sirens and bells and street traffic outside, at all hours of the night. Last night there seemed to be a street cleaning truck that went around the square for about 90 minutes starting at 3am. Why? I don't know. But I didn't sleep after 3am.
Anyway, despite the frequent wake-ups, I would still stay at this hotel if I came back to Florence. It is a lovely property and can compete with some of the best hotels I've stayed in.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located in a sumptuous palace in the heart of the city, The St. RegisFlorence is a privileged base from which to experience Tuscany'stimeless attractions. A short stroll will bring you to the iconic Uffizi,Duomo or Ponte Vecchio’s elegant jewelry shops. Legendary for its history, Florence’s streets offer inimitable treasures.The St. Regis Florence offers 19 exquisite suites enriched with refinedfurniture and antique artworks, together with 81 elegant guestroomsdecorated with the prestigious Medici, Fiorentino and Renaissancestyles. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The St. Regis Florence Hotel Florence
- Florence Grand Hotel
- Grand Hotel Florence