Fodor's Expert Review
People often say that you can simply stay in a Four Seasons in any city and it’s all the same. Well, this is NOT one of those Four Seasons. Without question, this one-of-a-kind hotel is the nicest, chicest, historic, and easily the best high-end hotel in Florence. The former 15th Century Medici palace has been converted into the lap of luxury (there was even a pope who lived here once – but died after 27 days on the job) and features the best spa in town, a sensational pool, endless gardens, priceless artwork, and unmatched service. If you’re a well-heeled traveler who only wants the best of the best, you will love this Four Seasons.
Tip If there’s any downside to the hotel, it’s not that close to the middle of the city center. The good news, however, is they have a shuttle that can drive you or they have bikes you can rent.
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There are actually two separate buildings that date back 500 years and house the opulent and spacious guest rooms. All come with complimentary water, fruit, juice, tea, and coffee and the tastefully decorated spaces are decked out with the finest linens and views of the lush gardens. The Villa, the separate building in the back gardens is more private with its own reception and butler service.
Tip Every suite is unique here with original frescoes, private gardens, views of The Duomo, Jacuzzi tubs, and more.
Bathrooms change depending on the level of room, but you can expect lush terrycloth robes, the finest of toiletries, marble everything, separate soaking tubs and rain showers, and plush slippers.
The heart of the hotel is also the oldest as the 15th Century lobby has the feel of an opulent living room filled with priceless art, comfy green couches, fresh flowers, and hidden nooks and unique finds all around. A small lounge off the lobby used to be a private chapel and still features all the original wood and art and can now be used for an intimate private dinner for two.
The summer only pool is open 9am until sunset, though the outdoor Jacuzzi is available year-round. Drinks are served poolside. You can find the water near the spa by walking through the meticulous gardens or getting escorted via golf cart. The property is vast.
The spa is housed in a separate building in the gardens. Inside this oasis are 10 treatment rooms with every type of treatment imaginable including, facials, body wraps, and massages. There are even special treatments for kids, teens, and brides-to-be.
The fitness facilities are also excellent and quite large with TechnoGym equipment, free weights, and views of the gardens. The locker rooms have both steam and saunas and there is a body slimming machine that is ideal for any quick and not-so-easy weight loss.
Tip The hotel offers a variety of classes like yoga, Pilates, and special excursions throughout the gardens or around the city. These all come with a fee, however.
The food options are quite good at this hotel. At the top is Il Palagio, a one Michelin-star spot with seasonal treats and excellent wine. At La Villa is La Magnolia which is a delectable breakfast joint with every option imaginable. And by the pool and spa is Vito, which is open in the summer for lunch and dinner and provides traditional Tuscan classics with a twist.
Tip One of the best reasons for staying at the Four Seasons is their access to one-of-a-kind options in the city. For instance, if you want to have a romantic dinner on the Ponte Vecchio, they will make that happen.
The Atrium Bar is a picturesque spot off the lobby that has a Colonial explorer feel with plush leather couches, wild prints, and loads of plants. The rich wood bar is known for its creative cocktails, a stellar afternoon tea, and live music every night.
Giardino della Gherardesca is the name of the 11-acred, walled in gardens that are the gem of the property. Throughout the well-manicured lawns, and hedges, are private gazebos, modern art sculptures, Renaissance fountains, and hidden pathways. There’s even an Ionic temple tucked away. Ask the front desk about picnics for lunch.
Although the hotel is on the Northeast side of the city center, most attractions are still walkable. In case you don’t want to hoof it, the hotel offers a courtesy shuttle and there are bikes you can rent as well. Renting a car can be expensive with parking, but if you plan on exploring the countryside, it’s not the worst idea for this part of town and the hotel provides permits for driving in the city center to help avoid fines (double check this).
La Giostra (7-minute walk) is a classic Florentine spot for Tuscan favorites and fine wines. If you want to explore a bit and sample different cuisines, head into Santa Croce and check out the Mercato di Sant’Ambrogio (8-minute walk) which has a dozen food outlets.
Walk down to Santa Croce and you’ll find dozens of bars and clubs to choose from. For something a little upscale with fine food as well, try Bar e Cucina (13-minute walk). For classic cocktails, head over to Moyo (12-minute walk).