Four Seasons Hotel Firenze
An art-filled Renaissance palazzo and a centuries-old private park make this a hotel a jewel in the Florentine crown
In a city full of wondrous works of art and architecture, the Four Seasons Hotel Firenze is an enchanting sanctuary worthy of its surroundings. The hotel is located a few steps from the Duomo and occupies two buildings: the 15th century Renaissance Palazzo della Gherardesca and the Conventino, a 16th century Palazzo, which was once a convent. The 116 sun-filled guest rooms reflect the rich heritage of the surrounding city. Original frescoes, friezes and hand-painted sculptured reliefs elegantly blend Renaissance artistry with the high-tech comforts of modernity. The bright and airy decor inspired by the Tuscan countryside is highlighted by the surrounding palazzos and gardens, and the delightful 11-acre Giardino della Gherardesca, the hotel’s own sanctuary of giant shading trees, vast lawns and vibrant flowers, is the largest private garden in Florence.
In the palazzo, previously a Florentine aristocratic residence, the guest rooms feature delicate 15th century painted ceilings, accented by carefully selected silks and velvets, offering the height of true sophistication. The luxury continues with the hotel’s renowned dining experiences. Imaginative menus focus on modern interpretations of Italian cuisine inspired by traditional Tuscan fare. Guests may enjoy wine or cocktails throughout the day at the Atrium-covered Bar, a vast sun-lit and decorative space also serving light meals and afternoon tea. The spacious, full-service spa offers a number of inspiring treatments, and it represents a peaceful oasis in the centre of the city. For those seeking royal treatment, this lovingly restored Renaissance palace will surely meet all princely requirements.
Rooms and Suites
The Royal Suite at the Four Seasons Hotel Firenze is truly just that. Formerly serving as the royals’ quarters within the Palazzo della Gherardesca, the suite is still perfectly suited to those of regal tastes. Topped by vaulted ceilings, the rooms have walls with beautiful frescoes, and there is an original Capodimonte Maioliche-style ceramic floor by Ignazio Chiaiese in the gallery. French windows overlook the park, and a large ensuite marble bathroom has a deep soaking European tub and separate glass-enclosed rain shower and steam shower. The Royal Suite is certainly the grandest accommodation at the Four Seasons, but all the rooms and suites are wonderful artistic and architectural delights. Housed either in the Palazzo della Gerardesca or the Conventino, each of the hotel’s rooms and suites is a unique masterpiece, containing frescoes, friezes and architectural reliefs. Inspired by the hues of the surrounding Tuscan countryside, colors are warm and inviting, with picturesque views of the romantic Florentine streets, or the surrounding palazzo and gardens. Yet, the luxuries of modernity have by no means been forgotten; each room and suite is equipped with a flat-screen satellite television, CD and DVD player, Internet access, and iPod docking station.
Il Palagio Restaurant
Executive Chef Vito Mollica of the fine-dining Restaurant Il Palagio is a master at preparing seasonal, regional cuisine with a modern twist. Those guests lucky enough to dine at Il Palagio will be treated to such contemporary delicacies as baby lamb served in a crust of pine nuts and mint, with glazed sweetbreads and cabbage flan, or potato and marjoram gnocchi, with wild mushrooms, roasted prawns and small rabbit cutlets. Or you can leave the food decisions to the Chef, who serves a nightly tasting menu, with wine and food pairing. Il Palagio features lovely views and large French doors that open onto a terrace that offers al fresco dining during the warmer months. The terrace is the perfect spot to enjoy breakfast as well, when Il Palagio serves up à la carte items including fresh baked breads and pastries, egg specialties, cheeses and smoked fish, to name but a few.
The Winery and the Atrium Bar
In a separate space within Il Palagio, the Winery offers a selection of over 400 bottles of wine, which line the walls in a spectacular display of "liquid culture." Serving an exceptional menu of assaggini, taster dishes of Italian cuisine, featuring both traditional and contemporary recipes, with carefully selected accompanying wines, the Winery appeals to both wine connoisseurs and novices alike.
Beneath a sumptuous skylight in Palazzo della Gherardesca, the Atrium Bar provides an elegant setting in which guests can enjoy light meals, afternoon tea, or cocktails throughout the day. In the evenings, live piano music offers a discreet and sophisticated accompaniment.
La Magnolia and Al Fresco
A small and intimate venue, La Magnolia serves breakfast to guests staying at the Conventino. La Magnolia's à la carte menu offers fresh fruits and juices, freshly baked pastries and cold meats, amongst other delectable options.
For those relaxing poolside, the summer restaurant Al Fresco offers relaxing shade beneath a majestic tree in the magnificent Giardino della Gherardesca. The ideal place for informal dining with a menu dedicated to simple traditional Tuscan and Italian tasted and flavours, Al Fresco serves an appetizer buffet, dessert artisan gelato, and a full dinner menu using only the freshest seasonal ingredients.
Spa and Fitness
In its ten luxuriously appointed treatment rooms, the full-service Spa at the Four Seasons Firenze offers an exquisite experience designed to pamper guests and promote wellbeing. The spa’s signature service is an exfoliation treatment using the delicate blooms of the purple iris, leaving the skin radically refreshed and rejuvenated. The only spa in central Florence, the wellness centre at Four Seasons is also the only spa in the world to use products from Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella. One of the world’s oldest pharmacies, Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica products are based on recipes recorded by 13th century monks, and they use only natural ingredients. Among the beauty and wellness services, spa guests are also invited to use the relaxation rooms, outdoor pool and whirlpools. The spa is also host to the Spa Lounge, which serves an all day menu, either indoors, or outside on the poolside deck. For those who prefer some activity, prior to or after their spa experience, the Four Seasons has a fully-equipped fitness center, yoga sessions, and personal trainers on hand.
H.N ., 6.7.11