While I typically opt for staying at a boutique hotel in cities I don’t get to visit often, there are always exceptions to the rule. On a visit to Florence this winter, I recently found one such exception in the spectacular Four Seasons Firenze, the luxury hotel and resort chain’s Tuscan crown jewel. From the painstakingly restored Renaissance architecture to the seemingly endless amenities and tranquil gardens that will make you forget you are in the heart of the region’s biggest metropolis, a stay at the Four Seasons reminded me of the pleasures and unapologetic luxury that comes from staying with a legacy hospitality brand.
Naturally when you book a stay at a Four Seasons property, your expectations will be much different than if you choose a hip boutique hotel in the heart of a city’s buzzy arts district. I stepped into the 15th-century palazzo once owned by a councilman to the Medici family, floored by its beauty and suddenly feeling a bit like a member of Florentine nobility myself. The palatial digs are outfitted in fresco-lined walls, Italianate marble and furnishings and decor that feel right at home for the modern Medici. The hotel has even preserved a former confessional room used by the family; drenched in Renaissance glamour, it now serves as a memorable place for intimate private dining. But while there’s no downplaying opulence and luxury here, the Four Seasons Firenze somehow doesn’t feel stuffy in the slightest, and as soon as I stepped out onto the property’s garden — the largest private garden in the city — I couldn’t help but relax and begin feeling right at home in the historic setting.
The options abound when it comes to choosing your accommodation at the Four Seasons Firenze, but each offering is rooted in Italianate classicism while still feeling plenty warm, comfortable and inviting for a modern traveler. You won’t want to miss out on a stay in one of the property’s historical suites, which feature frescoes, period furniture and immaculate views (think: the Duomo or the sweeping 15th-century gardens) for a one-of-a-kind stay. And there are also sumptuous, spacious two- and three-bedroom suites that feature separate generous living and dining areas if you’re booking a trip for the whole family or a group of friends.
The resort is also home to an equally historic villa on the other side of the verdant gardens first cultivated by the former resident monks, which offers more exclusive, private stays that are tailor-made for guests. La Villa features just 37 rooms and a private concierge, breakfast room and ballroom while offering access to the resort’s wealth of amenities and activities. It’s worth chatting with a member of the concierge before booking your stay to ensure you’ve selected the perfect spot to call home for a long weekend or more.
Four Seasons Firenze offers three distinct dining experiences at the hotel for whatever your heart (and stomach) desires, be it a generous club sandwich poolside or a Michelin-starred event with pairings from the hotel’s exceptional Italian wine cellar. Il Palagio is the property’s flagship restaurant, serving up contemporary takes on Tuscan classics with renowned chef Paolo Lavezzeni at the helm. The restaurant also serves an elevated take on the classic continental European breakfast, a complimentary amenity offered each morning for guests, and a truly luxurious way to begin the day.
If you’re seeking something more casual for lunch or dinner, the Atrium Bar or Al Fresco and Pool Tree Bar will do the trick. The latter will have you instantly at ease under shady trees overlooking the resort’s gorgeous pool and spa as you dine on spectacular pizza and freshly churned ice cream that will have you feeling like a kid again. The Atrium Bar, on the other hand, offers several lovely alfresco lounge areas where you can admire the garden’s natural beauty while sipping on an inventive cocktail. The Vintage Negroni is the hotel’s most iconic libation (warning: no other Negroni will ever compare), concocted on a vintage drinks trolley at your table. The bar is also the perfect place for an afternoon pick-me-up of espresso and Italian pastry after a busy day of exploring Palazzo Vecchio, the Uffizi Gallery and the Boboli Gardens. However, if you’re jonesing to explore the local dining scene, you’re just steps away from some of the city’s best regional cuisine, pizza and gelato.
The Special Extras
The resort offers experiences and amenities you won’t be able to find anywhere else in Tuscany, making it the ideal destination for an extra-special getaway for couples, enthusiasts or families. One such offering is the option to dine in a former home of Leonardo de Vinci’s with an unbeatable view of the Duomo — featuring dishes crafted by Il Palagio’s chefs, no less. Oenophiles will love the opportunity to step into a hot air balloon for a breathtaking tour of Tuscany’s famed Chianti region, as well as Florence’s most iconic sites. You’ll enjoy plenty of bubbly and a bespoke picnic from the Michelin-starred dining team for a truly idyllic afternoon. And there are plenty of enlightening itineraries that are appropriate for all ages, from immersive textile workshop tours to scenic cruises down the Arno River and even a kids’ club for when the adults need to get serious about R&R.
A visit to the resort’s spa is also a must while staying at the Four Seasons Firenze, as it’s widely considered one of the city’s best. You’ll experience the same sense of opulence and comfort found throughout the rest of the property while enjoying rejuvenating treatments inspired by the potent natural ingredients Tuscany is most famous for. One of the most popular offerings is the Bioliv’ Experience, which uses extra-virgin olive oil and ground olive stones to exfoliate, detoxify and nourish weary bodies and minds. Plus, you’ll also find facial treatments that utilize cutting-edge technology if you’re serious about getting instant results. A trip to the Four Seasons Firenze, however you decide to take advantage of its impeccable locations, amenities and experiences will leave you feeling enlightened and refreshed in a way that will leave you dreaming up a return trip before checking out of your fresco-adorned suite.
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