The Helvetia & Bristol Firenze is a magnificent urban palazzo in the centre of Florence, a short walk from the Duomo. Famous as early as the mid-19th century for its charm, service and unrivalled location, it became a favourite haunt of artists such as Gabriele D’Annunzio, Luigi Pirandello, Eugenio Montale and Eleonora Duse. The winter garden has hosted monarchs, aristocrats and Nobel Prize winners over the years.
The unassuming entrance and renaissance façade of this gem in the city’s centro storico provide an air of exclusivity. Portraits of Italy’s 17th-century aristocracy cast a watchful eye over the hotel’s grand entrance hall, which opens into a charming Belle-Époque winter garden, where Florentine noblemen and local literati would meet for late night drinks. The public rooms are cosy with period furniture, heavy drapes, and lived-in velvet sofas, and on winter evenings, an open wood fire crackles in the lounge. A sweeping, wide staircase leads to the guest floors.
Each bedroom comes with its own tasteful colour theme, carefully chosen antique furniture, objets d’art, paintings and rich furnishings all hallmarks of the hotel’s design. Windows are covered with swaths of ornate drapery, the walls are papered in brocade and the bathrooms are cool, modern marble. Top-floor suites have fabulous views over Florence.
Tuscan eatery Hostaria Bibendum offers an impressive array of classic Tuscan dishes by the hotel's talented chef, Samuele Melani. The dining room is like a gentleman’s club with its rich brown wall coverings, 15th-century Italian oil paintings and plush red velvet chairs in the elegant dining room. The glamorous patio-lounge on the grand Piazza Strozzi provides a quintessential Florentine alfresco scene. The convivial Bar Bibendum, once quite the intellectual hub is now a timeless setting for a relaxing cocktail.
You’re just a few steps away from the Via Tornabuoni, the smartest shopping street in town; so Gucci, Trusssardi and the Armani boutique are within easy reach. And of course, it’s also nearby the Duomo plus other Florentine treasures.