If you’re a fan of the details, Relais Santa Croce has you covered. This stunning boutique is carved out of a 16th Century palace that was also the former Russian Embassy and is known for some of the best service in town. The staff here prides themselves on the personal touches, whether it’s a fruit plate in the room, a welcome drink on arrival, or special chocolate on your pillow, they go the extra mile to make you feel at home.
One of the more unique offerings here is the Aquaflor Atelier Experience. What you get is a 2-night stay in a suite, welcome drinks and buffet breakfasts, a 4-hour personal perfume experience at the Aquaflor perfumery, dinner for two at the hotel restaurant, and Ferrari Time (see drinking section). The whole experience runs around $1,000.
The rooms are a hodgepodge of sizes and styles, but you’ll typically see chic black and white walls with modern furnishings that contrast with the original brick and stone from the palace’s origins. Parquet floors are typical, and you’ll also find coffee and tea waiting for you.
Check out the Junior Suite if you want a balcony looking out at the city.
Large Jacuzzi’s are standard in the signature suites and bathrooms are equipped with steam showers in about half the rooms. All the rooms have bidets, towel heaters, and rain shower/tub combos with stone-laden floors. Bath products are by Ortigia.
The reception area is small, but just behind is the stunning music room with soaring and ornate ceilings, hardwood floors, rotating art exhibits, and a working piano that gets use nearly every night. In the winter, there’s a tea station for guests to indulge and in the summer the room is home to ice cream time between 4-6pm.
If there’s an outside event happening in the music room, guests are encouraged to attend, free of charge.
There’s no spa, but the hotel has a long menu of decadent in-room massage and facial treatment options.
A gourmet Italian restaurant called Guelfi e Ghibellini is open for both lunch and dinner and offers new takes on classic Tuscan cuisine. Not officially part of the hotel, but downstairs at the entrance is the world-famous three Michelin-starred Enoteca Pinchiorri. Make sure to ask the hotel well in advance if you want to dine here – reservations fill up fast.
A fully equipped bar offers up a delectable apperitivo dubbed Ferrari Time. At 19:02 (7:02 pm for the Americans), named for the year Ferrari’s winery was founded, the hotel serves a glass of the Ferrari branded vino alongside specially made delicacies from the chef.
The hotel is on the eastern side of the city center in the neighborhood of Santa Croce. You’ll find dozens of great restaurants, shops, sites, and nightlife all within minutes’ walk of the hotel. Generally speaking, everything in the city center is walking distance, so you don’t really need a car.
For perfect pastas in a bucolic setting, check out Trattoria Il Francescano (2-minute walk). If you want the best (and most expensive meal of your life) head down to the hotel entrance and eat at Enoteca Pinchiorri (1-minute walk) for three-star Michelin insanity.
In an area known for its nightlife, Bar e Cucina (8-minute walk) is a cocktail bar and restaurant that stands out as the cooler older brother to the drunken messes that most spots represent along Via dei Neri. But if a drunken mess is your thing, check out The Lion’s Fountain (4-minute walk).
WHY WE LIKE IT
This hotel’s attention to service goes above and beyond, making it one of the most personalized and high-end experiences in Florence. The rooms are spacious and chic, the restaurant is fabulous, and the bar has great specials. You won’t get certain amenities here like a pool or gym, but this boutique makes up for it with its attention to detail and personal touches not found at most hotels.