Fodor's Expert Review
One of the most breathtaking properties you’ll ever see, Belmond Villa San Michele is a stunning hotel that is propped up in the hills of Fiesole with a front row seat overlooking Florence. Lush greenery surrounds the property as rooms poke out from behind the foliage with window views of the surrounding hillside. Top-rate all the way without any hint of stuffiness, the Villa is a luxurious retreat away from the city that will have jaws dropping from beginning to end of your vacation.
You Should Know The Villa is seasonal, only opening from April to around the end of October.
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There are a variety of room types that range from classic to suite to standalone villa. All come with coffee and tea, fresh orchids, Bose speakers, terra cotta floors, and TVs that magically arise from the furniture (not all rooms). Rooms have modern touches but are Tuscan styled.
Tip The hotel is very family friendly and they can arrange welcome kits for kids with fun toys, T-shirts, slippers, robes, and more. In the restaurant there’s a special kids menu, and there are even kids cooking classes.
Bathrooms are awash in marble and have separate showers and large sunken tubs. Lux Bulgari bath products are standard and worth grabbing a few for the road.
The main lobby is built out of 15th Century church with high ceilings, terra cotta floors, gray lounge couches, and rotating displays of modern art that makes for a fun dichotomy of culture/style/history.
Overlooking the whole property, the pool sits on a terrace with jaw-dropping views. Open from 10am to around 7:30pm, the heated pool also features a small restaurant with a pizza oven and has ice cream on especially hot days.
Tip If you’re here during a full moon, the Villa throws full moon parties at the pool with live music. You won’t believe the views.
There’s no formal spa, but you can get open-air massages by the pool or in your room.
The gym is open 24/7 and features TechnoGym machines and free weights. The hardwood floored space has endless views to inspire workouts and there is always water and apples on hand. Guests who want to get more intensive fitness can request a personal trainer.
La Loggia is the hotel’s signature restaurant that serves authentic and gourmet Tuscan cuisine for lunch and dinner. Like most areas of the hotel, the views are stunning and it’s one of the most romantic dinner spots in all of Tuscany, especially when you throw in the live piano music every night.
Tip If you want to get your hands dirty in a real Italian kitchen, the Villa offers cooking classes three times per week.
Surrounding the main bar is a rotating collection of art, but that takes a back seat to the real creations being made by the expert mixologists. Open from 10am-1m, the cocktail concocters are great at finding the perfect drink for you at any time of day.
The property is surrounded by greenery, including a 400-year-old wisteria with vibrant purple colors. You can ask the front desk for a tour by the property’s gardener and get lost among the many pathways surrounding the villa.
Because you’re outside the city of Florence, it can make sense to rent a car as the hills are steep and walking to most things is basically out of the question. Luckily, the Villa has a courtesy shuttle that runs back and forth from the city every hour.
Drive down the hill just a bit and you’ll run into Fattoria di Maiano, which has an incredible Tuscan trattoria called Lo Spaccio (3-minute drive) with globally-award winning olive oil produced on site. If you drive up the hill into Fiesole, you’ll find Vinandro (5-minute drive) which is perfect for Italian home-cooking.
There aren’t a ton of great options in the immediate vicinity, but Blu Bar (5-minute drive) at the top of Fiesole has insane views and a decent apperitivo.