‘I’m just so happy to be here,’ I exclaimed as Mr S popped the cork on the bottle of prosecco that we’d found waiting in our room on arrival at the Four Seasons Hotel Firenze.
Our plane had literally just been about to take off when the pilot turned around back to the airport informing us that there was a fault in the plane. After a four hour wait sitting on board, with warnings that our flight may be cancelled, and with no planes on stand by it looked like we might not be flying to Pisa and going on to Florence that night. With my best friend’s wedding the day after next, I spent the time frantically looking for a way to get to Italy that day anyway we could…
…my relief was palpable when the pilot got clearance and the flight finally took off. I also told Mr S he wasn’t allowed to talk to me until I’d had some food. Apparently they’re not allowed to serve food before the flight takes off. Or wine. The struggle was real.
We arrived in Pisa four hours later than expected and from there it was just over an hour’s drive to Florence and the beautiful Four Seasons Hotel Firenze.
Now apologies for starting on a negative note, as I truly loved this hotel but I must say, for the size of a junior suite, you don’t get great value for money. I was also not a huge fan of the colour of the room and mismatched print. But this is a hotel that is so much more than the room you’re staying in.
And the classic furnishings were elegant and fitting with the history of the hotel.
Also, here’s a photo of our gorgeous view of the garden which I took the next day when it was light.
And if you love marble bath rooms, this one will be right up your street plus it included a large bath to soak in, a double sink and rain shower.
We quickly got ready for our first night out in Florence, I even had a new dress for the occasion. I’ve got bored with always wearing black and I love this dress from Alice + Olivia with its electric blue sparkles.
The next day after a delicious breakfast we asked the hotel reception for a tour of the hotel. But as we were to find out Four Seasons Hotel Firenze always goes the extra mile. We were introduced to a gentleman who I assume was a historian for the hotel.
Even just standing in the reception it was clear to see that this was so much more than a luxury hotel, the background of the property was intrinsically linked to the history of Florence.
All around you there are gorgeous antiques, original artwork and plush furnishings that all speak to the hotel’s Renaissance background and the respect for the city.
Our guide led us into the foyer which is the oldest part of the hotel. Dating back to the 15th century, the building was previously an opulent palace known as Palazzo della Gherardesca and was the private home of several Florentine nobles, including a pope. Adjacent to the palazzo is Il Conventino, a 16th Century building and former convent, which now houses additional guest bedrooms.
I absolutely love a hotel with a detailed history and in the foyer you can admire the original frescoes of the palazzo that have been restored to their former glory when the building was converted to a luxury hotel for the opening in 2008.
And if you look up you can see the original painted ceiling.
Not many hotels have their own chapel, but it seems natural that a hotel with such a lofty background would. You can even have a private romantic dinner for two in the chapel whilst admiring the original frescoes by Giovanni Stradano. That’s just one example of the amazing customised experiences that the Four Seasons have become known for; they can also organise a private dinner right on a terrace on the Ponte Vecchio or a Italian super car to whizz around Tuscany.
As our guide led us upstairs and through the hallowed halls of the former palace, there was no denying the museum-like quality of the place.
Particularly the dramatic frescos commissioned by the family and painted by 18th century artists and the huge Murano glass chandeliers. Actually Four Seasons Hotel Firenze typifies everything that I love about Four Seasons properties – they are never bland and boring chain hotels, each has a history, a story and a sense place.
One of the main features of Four Seasons Hotel Firenze is the Giardino della Gherardesca, the largest private garden in Florence measuring 11 acres
Originally a 15th Century Renaissance garden, now you can stroll around the verdant grasses under the shade of the gorgeous trees…
Admiring modern sculpture…
Set next to original fountains.
In the summer months you can enjoy a drink on the terrace surrounded by lemon trees and from mid-April the outdoor pool is opened up, definitely a city hotel with a more relaxed resort vibe. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the hotel is not located right in the very centre of the city but it was a very easy ten minute walk to the main square and the shops.
The gym and spa are located in the garden and are separate from the main property, I had a nose around but no time to use either. Mr S did use the gym while I was preparing for the wedding and it had all the facilities you might need plus personal trainers for hire and yoga sessions tailored for the individual. The spa provides facials, body treatments and massage and there are salon services too for hair, manicures and make up.
Another highlight of the hotel is the Michelin-starred restaurant, Il Palagio.
The dining room is just stunning with feminine pink and purple tones, high ceilings and grand chandeliers. We ate here everyday for breakfast eating from the elegant buffet or ordering eggs from the a la carte menu.
Mr S and I actually ate here for dinner before when we in Florence for our mini moon…
Then it was summer and we enjoyed an al fresco dinner on the terrace.
This time, the cooler April evening meant we had dinner inside.
Though I try not to eat at the same place twice, we had loved the elegant cuisine of Executive Chef Vito Mollica the first time around and decided to return to revisit the incredible flavours that we tried the first time.
The food is Italian of course and where possible the ingredients are sourced locally.
During the summer the hotel serves relaxed meals, typical of a Italian trattoria in Al Fresco just by the swimming pool and spa.
And for drinks there’s the gorgeous Atrium bar with it’s classic furnishings. We didn’t get to try it but the bar is famous for the 100KM Tiramisu cocktail.
Four Seasons Hotel Firenze is already totally unique for its extravagant decor, luxurious surrounding and out-of-this world dining but what really set it apart is the level of service. I must particularly mention the concierge who helped us with booking and recommendations, no task was too big or too small. Yes, there really is something very special about the converted palace located in the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance…and it’s clear to see why many publications have named in one of the best hotels in the world.
PIN FOR LATER:
Four Seasons Hotel Firenze
Borgo Pinti 99
39 055 2626 1
I travelled to Florence and stayed at Four Seasons Hotel Firenze independently but by booking through Emyr Thomas at Bon Vivant Travel I received a free upgrade, breakfast and spa credit.