After a sold-out August, Florence is embracing the end of the summer with a flurry of hotel openings destined to turn heads through daring design and playful concepts.
The elegant one (with a garden): Dimora Palanca
A discreet entrance and cicada chorus greet travellers to Dimora Palanca, which is looking to further its 19th-century history as a cultural hub for the artistic community. Now, this airy and exquisitely appointed five-star accommodation near Porta al Prato welcomes art lovers in search of tranquil surroundings for their creative endeavours. Flawless ornate parquet floors, frescoed lounges and a bold 50-piece contemporary art collection by Lucca native Paolo Dovichi define this refined property filled with natural light and spectacular chandeliers (the cloud-like sculptural light feature in the breakfast room is breathtakingly beautiful). Wake up to a Campanile view in one of the 18 rooms with high ceilings, impeccable stucco work and neutral colour palettes before strolling out into the palazzo’s private garden, one of the few within the city walls. Whether you choose to stay or not, the hotel’s Restaurant Mimesi serves sophisticated fine dining ingeniously overseen by innovative head chef Giovanni Cerroni, who’s worked alongside Michelin-starred chefs in Puglia and Tuscany. Savour one of the tasting menus (starting at 110 euro for five courses) skillfully paired with carefully chosen Italian wines: standout dishes include a vinegar-driven anchovy salad, red tagliatelle with caviar and a striking armagnac consomme, and a decadent chicken and bell pepper main with lashings of unctuous demi-glace, all served in what was once the noble palazzo’s kitchen quarters.
Via della Scala 72, Florence
The playful one: 25hours Hotel Piazza San Paolino
Opening September 8, 25hours Hotel Piazza San Paolino is a playful addition to the city’s hospitality scene from the German brand, whose vision is to have “a 25hours Hotel in every cool city”. A short walk from piazza Santa Maria Novella, the hotel’s design takes inspiration from Dante’s Divine Comedy (timely, given the 700th anniversary celebration of the Florentine poet’s death!): scenes from heaven and hell gleefully guide you through the virtues and vices of Dante’s world. A restaurant, courtyard garden, Negroni bar and grocery store complete the culinary offering. There’s no shortage of culture either: the Cinema Paradiso film lounge will show movies on a regular basis. Bikes come as part of the package and runners can find everything needed for short or more ambitious routes. Expect spacious accommodation with entry-level Medium rooms starting at 21m2 through to the Gigantic room with a separate lounge, and even an apartment, Casetta nel Giardino, with its own private pool, pizza oven and BBQ.
Piazza di S. Paolino 1, Florence
The magnificent one: Il Tornabuoni Hotel
Via de’ Tornabuoni is gearing up to inaugurate the new five-star luxury Il Tornabuoni Hotel by the Italian AG Group. Expect a tribute to the Renaissance in these 62 rooms and suites across five floors that epitomize the rich history and artistic magnificence of the period in sumptuous gem tones (from vibrant teal to energetic vermilion) and boasting luxurious furnishings, including custom-made wallpaper. From classic vintage-style rooms to distinctive suites blending the antique and the avant-garde, all the accommodation at 12th-century Palazzo Minerbetti boasts modern amenities and total relaxation. (A regal touch is seen in two double beds in most rooms, plus the grandiose bathrooms recalling lavish spas of the past.) Dining at Il Tornabuoni looks set to become the new big thing in central Florence with a gorgeous emerald-hued gourmet restaurant on the fourth floor named Lucie with a feel of The Great Gatsby, birdcage-esque banquettes at ground-floor Il Magnifico Bar and Restaurant, and The Butterfly Terrace with mesmerizing rooftop views over Florence. We’re going off the website and press information; bookings are open from October 1.
Via de’ Tornabuoni 3, Florence
The redesigned one: The Place Firenze
The Place Firenze recently relaunched its sought-after “home after from home” in piazza Santa Maria Novella. After in-depth research into the lettering and design motifs on Leon Battista Alberti’s facade of the neighbourhood basilica, general manager Claudio Meli and his team have restyled the townhouse to bring Santa Maria Novella inside the palazzo. In a nutshell, Alberti’s own words have been embraced: “We take pride in our home if it is built with more care than usual.” From the green, white and red vaulted ceilings in the Studiolo lounge to the studied SMN star emblazoned on room linens and Richard Ginori tableware, The Place proudly renews its calling as a celebration of the city, exemplary quality and, more specifically, the very piazza on which it has stood for 17 years. Just ring the bell to be granted entry to this singular world of hospitality.
Piazza Santa Maria Novella 7, Florence