A Room With a View
Some hotels are hotels, and others feel like home away from home, meaning much larger, much grander then your home, with spotless service and incredible views. Still, you feel like home because service is so good you remember everyone’s name because he or she has delivered incredible service. And yet you feel much better than at home, for the privileged moments you stayed there.
The Florence Westin is one of those hotels. Ideally situated on the Piazza dei Ognisanti, meaning a seven minute walk from anything central including the train station, the main shopping area and the best kept secrets of the Oltrarno, the building goes way back to the 16th century with an ongoing renovation giving the old City of Lillies a contemporary flair.
A terrific staff is at work there. One doesn’t care that much about design providing service is what it is supposed to be in a five star hotel. Still, one has best of both worlds here. An heritage building at ease with its five century legacy, a welcome contemporary design statement with its rooftop bar and restaurant, an expert concierge team and the most welcoming breakfast team ever (a rarity in such property), the Westin Excelsior have them all, and more.
Let’s say that you are lucky enough to get a room on the fifth floor with a view on either the magical landscape over the Arno or the rooftops commanding the Duomo and the Palazzo Vecchio. In summer, you won’t want to leave the hotel for one of the many local restaurants because the sky will turn orange and purple and you will stay transfixed at your window. In winter, you will fall asleep cradled by the rush of the river water. There is no bad season there, just variations on sight and sound.
There is a renovation at work, but you wouldn’t know it if you don’t ask. The new rooms have a sober palette with clever touches of local leather craftsmanship and the occasional vintage painting. Marble bathrooms are vast and amply provided with Aqua di Parma toiletries. Room service is expensive but dishes are worth it. Breakfast is all over good, don’t be afraid to ask for Eggs Benedict, an affable cook will do them for you. Or Florentine, with spinach, if you think there is so much as a light version of this hotel breakfast staple. Ah ha.
One of the best hotels in Europe in one’s humble opinion, The Westin Excelsior has everything a grand hotel should have. No need to enumerate, just book and let yourself go. You won’t be disappointed if you remember one simple thing: you are in one of the most beautiful place on Earth and you should feel happy; so be so, smile, and talk to people. They have a lot to tell you and deserve your attention.