Fodor's Expert Review Hotel Helvetia and Bristol
Via dei Pescioni 2, Florence, Tuscany 50123, Italy See on Map
With a regal sounding name with Swiss origins, Helvetia and Bristol is an opulent and classic palace with a more than 100-year history of servicing the upper-crust of all travelers. Today, the elegant spot continues its tradition of high-end hospitality and offers up spacious rooms, odes of amenities, and a see-and-be-seen patio that’s perfect for late afternoon drinks.
If you want to get around the city center a little quicker, the hotel has bike rentals for around 10 Euros.
Every room in the hotel is individually decorated, but you’ll typically find classic Florentine styles, red carpets, street-side views, and antique furnishings. All rooms come with a Handy device (a gadget that gives you free Wi-Fi and international calls anywhere in town), a pillow menu for max comfort, bottled water, and tea kettles upon request.
All marble bathrooms have rain shower/bathtub combinations and separate bidets for all your proper cleansing needs. Etro bath products are standard.
Guests are greeted by an uber-elegant lobby with red-and-white couches, ornate brick floors, a roaring fireplace, and a stacked library. The living room feel makes guests feel right at home upon arrival and the surrounding Renaissance art is a nice introduction to the artistic-minded city.
Hostaria Bibendum is the hotel’s gourmet restaurant that offers up authentic Italian cuisine for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Make sure to book a table on the outdoor patio for perfect people-watching at night.
Florence is small, so getting around by foot is easy. The hotel is incredibly central and is in the heart of the city center which is close to all the best attractions, drool-worthy restaurants, fun nightlife, and a chic shopping spots.
For perfectly authentic Florentine cuisine, check out Buca Mario (5-minute walk). If you want something romantic, head over to Hotel Brunelleschi where gourmet spot Santa Elisabetta (5-minute walk) is an intimate gastronomic delight inside a 6th Century tower.
Gilò s.r.l (5-minute walk) is stellar sipping spot if you want creative cocktails and live music. If you want a wild night of dancing, check out Yab Discoteca (1-minute walk) right around the corner.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Elegant and refined, this classic Florentine hotel treats guests like royalty from the moment they enter the historic halls. With a fine attention to service, the Clef d’Or concierges are always ready to assist in tickets for museums, restaurant reservations, or helping to plan excursions in the city and beyond. While there’s no pool, gym, or spa, the hotel makes up for it in location and refinement. Being in the middle of the city center allows guests to experience all of Florence by foot.
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