Fodor's Expert Review Hotel Brunelleschi
Piazza Santa Elisabetta, 3, Florence, Tuscany 50122, Italy See on Map
Named for the historic architect Filippo Brunelleschi who built the dome atop the Florence Cathedral, Hotel Brunelleschi is a luxury property only steps away from Filippo’s world-famous architectural masterpiece. The hotel has quite a history of its own as the Torre La Pagliazza (tower of the building) dates back to 572 A.D. and is fully incorporated into the design of the property. Inside, you’ll discover an intense dedication to service, an unmatched attention to detail, and a host of amenities that give the hotel its stellar and well-earned reputation.
The Torre La Pagliazza is actually the oldest intact building in Florence and upon excavation, they found ancient Roman ruins which are now on display in a museum in the basement of the hotel.
Contemporary-styled rooms have hardwood floors, canopy beds, and breathtaking views of sites like the Duomo, Giotto’s Bell Tower, or the luxury shopping streets below. All rooms come with coffee/tea makers, large flat screen TVs, and super soft Italian linens.
Suites have added amenities like complimentary one-way airport transfers, clothes, pressing, or packing assistance. But if you really want something unique, book the tower suite. This is the only room inside the ancient Byzantine Tower, which is a two-story, romantic spot with unmatched views of the Duomo.
Typical bathrooms are spacious and include shower/tub combos (some standalone), with fishbowl sinks, and towel heaters on the walls. You’ll find Dr. Vranjes bath products throughout.
The small and opulent lobby is more of a pass through or waiting area for checking in and out guests. There’s a small sitting area with free Pellegrino and snacks, and old brick walls and marble busts to help take you back in time to the hotel’s roots.
A well-equipped gym has hardwood floors, Technogym machines, and free weights. The facility is open from 6 am-9 pm and provides guests with apples, headphones, and water.
The restaurants are where the hotel really shines. Inside the historic tower is Santa Elisabetta, a fine dining establishment that serves up gourmet gastronomical delights in a romantic and intimate setting. For more casual fare, there’s Osteria Della Pagliazza with more traditional Tuscan cuisine and a great terrace that makes up the front of the building.
The Tower Bar is next to the Osteria and offers a range of classic cocktails and wine. Guests can also order from the Osteria menu at the bar.
If you order a drink, you’ll also get a small selection of snacks.
With such a central location, it’s incredibly easy to walk to the best attractions in mere minutes. Also surrounding the hotel are fantastic restaurants, fun bars, and a bevy of shops.
For a fine dining experience inside a historic building that dates back to Ancient Rome, you can’t go wrong with Locale (5-minute walk). Also around the corner is Paoli (4-minute walk) a restaurant that dates back to 1824 and offers up traditional Tuscan fare.
Just down the road is Rivoire (4-minute walk) a chic and historic spot that pairs the perfect chocolate with the perfect wine. For a stellar apperitivo and occasional live music, check out Dolce Vita (4-minute walk).
WHY WE LIKE IT
Hotel Brunelleschi has a perfect location that’s situated between the Duomo on one side and the Uffizi on the other. The building itself is a tourist destination as the Pagliazza Tower is the oldest Byzantine structure in all of Florence. History and location aside, the service and amenities are all of the highest quality and you’ll be made to feel incredibly welcome from the moment you arrive. If there is a drawback, it’s a lack of a spa or pool, but the hotel makes up for it with unique dining experiences, uber comfy rooms, and a romantic vibe that’s hard to find elsewhere.
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