Updated December 5, 2023
The most important part of planning any trip is figuring out where to stay. The right hotel, resort, lodge, or apartment can make or break a vacation.
The right choice can elevate a trip and make it so much more memorable, while the wrong choice can create so many problems that could otherwise be avoided.
I often get questions like “what’s the best hotel in (insert city)” or “where should I stay in (name the town or region). But the answer isn’t so straightforward. I’m in several travel agent groups on Facebook, and it always amazes me when someone posts a question about “the best” hotel or resort in an area without sharing any information about their client.
The “best” hotel or resort for you won’t necessarily be the best for someone else. Everyone has a different budget and different tastes.
Maybe you want to be in the heart of a city, or perhaps you prefer to be in a quieter area where you can travel into the city center when you want to. Decor that for oozes opulence and luxury to you may feel stuffy and fussy to someone else.
That’s why I always take lists of the “best” or “must stay” hotels with a grain of salt. But I still love looking at them, and I’ve found some of my favorite hotels that way!
With that in mind, here’s my list of my favorite hotels in Florence, Italy.
If you’re looking for a beautiful, centrally located hotel you can’t get more central than the Brunelleschi Hotel. Florence has three main piazzas, and the Brunelleschi is right in the center of the three.
The hotel itself is located in a Byzantine tower built in the mid-6th century and an adjacent medieval church. The decor is a combination of classic and modern, and some of the rooms have views of the Duomo.
The on-site museum contains artifacts found during the excavations under the Torre della Pagliazza. The concierge can take you on a tour of the museum and help you understand more about local life when the Byzantine tower was built.
For a spectacular dinner make a reservation at Santa Elisabetta, the hotel’s 2 Michelin starred restaurant located on the first floor of the tower. Choose between 5 and 7 course tasting menus, or go all the way with the full 9 course Chef Experience. You can also include wine pairings for each menu, with wines selected by their sommelier to perfectly compliment each course.
You should also try their second on-site restaurant, the Osteria Pagliazza, located on the ground floor of the tower. They specialize in Florentine and Tuscan specialties with a modern twist. Also on the menu are a few selections from Santa Elisabetta, so even if you can’t get a reservation for the main restaurant you can still try a couple of their most popular dishes.
If you’re looking for a truly unique stay make sure to reserve the Tower Suite, spread over two floors of the Byzantine tower.
The Four Seasons Florence
The Four Seasons Florence is special for two reasons. One is because it’s the only central hotel with an on-site spa, complete with an outdoor pool. The second is that it sits in the middle of the city’s largest private park and garden. When I lived in Florence I’d walk by the garden on my way to the cathedral for my internship and it was always so beautiful.
The 116 room hotel is spread between two buildings, one a Renaissance Palazzo and the other a former convent. Each room is unique, including their beautiful two and three bedroom suites.
For guests arriving early after an overnight flight, the Four Seasons offers additional amenities if you reserve the night prior to your stay. These additional amenities include guaranteed early curbside check-in starting at 7:00 am, unpacking service, breakfast for two served in your room on arrival, and a spa service that includes a 20-minute back and neck massage and cold eye masks for two guests.
When you’re ready for a meal the hotel has several options. Reserve a table at their flagship restaurant, Michelin starred Il Palagio. Try one of their signature dishes, like smoked risotto or marinated eggplant served with pecorino, tomato and rhubarb ice cream. Pair each course with a wine selected from their exceptional cellar of Italian vintages.
If you’re looking for something a bit more simple you can enjoy a meal or a drink in their Atrium Bar or outside on the pool deck. On a nice day ask the chef to pack a basket that you can enjoy out in the lovely gardens.
Are you planning a proposal or a once-in-a-lifetime special dinner in Florence? The Four Seasons collaborates with a renowned jewelry shop on the Ponte Vecchio, which has the only private terrace on the bridge. It can be yours for the evening, where you’ll enjoy a special meal prepared by the hotel’s culinary team while you watch the sun set.
In the hills above Florence you’ll find several of the the most beautiful and luxurious hotels in Florence, Italy. One of these is Il Salviatino. An aristocratic 15th century villa in the countryside above Florence, many of the rooms offer exceptional views of the city and the Duomo that dominates the skyline.
Enjoy classic Italian dishes at Giacomo al Salviatino, the on-site restaurant with expansive views over the city. Indulge in a treatment at the spa or take a swim in the outdoor heated pool. When it’s time to go into the city you can take the hotel’s shuttle into the city center, or alternatively private transportation can be arranged.
Although it’s only 10 minutes from the center of town it feels like a different world. Listen to the birds while you stroll through 12 acres of gardens, or sit with a glass of Chianti on the terrace while admiring the view.
The St. Regis Florence
In central Florence, the iconic Grand Hotel Florence has attracted travelers since the 1800s. Originally the palazzo of the noble Giuntini family and designed by Filippo Brunelleschi (the famed architect who also built the cathedral dome), the city turned the building into a hotel in the late 19th century.
The hotel underwent an extensive renovation in 2010 and reopened as The St. Regis Florence in May 2011. Each of the 80 rooms and 19 suites reflects Florence’s artistic heritage with rich tapestries, frescos, crystal chandeliers and gold leaf.
When it’s time for an aperitivo enjoy the St. Regis evening ritual of saberage, which involves opening a bottle of champagne with a saber. You can also indulge in the traditional St. Regis tea each afternoon or reserve a table for dinner in the Winter Garden, the beautiful restaurant in the heart of the hotel.
Set within a centuries-old rose-filled park overlooking the Boboli Gardens, Villa Cora was built in the 19th century by Baron Gustave Oppenheim. Today the villa contains 44 rooms and suites, each unique. The villa has long been considered one of the most beautiful in Florence.
Restaurant Le Bistrot offers a menu of modern Tuscan cuisine, using locally sourced seasonal ingredients. During the summer the restaurant is located in the winter garden by the pool, allowing guests to admire the beauty of the gardens. In the winter the restaurant moves to the Moorish Room, one of the most beautiful rooms in the villa decorated in a Moorish style, with a domed ceiling and original frescoes.
When you’re ready for a break from exploring the city you can have a treatment in the spa or lounge by the city’s only year-round heated pool.
Villa La Massa
Villa La Massa is located on the banks of the Arno in the heart of the Chianti wine region, just 15 minutes from the center of Florence. The shuttle service to and from the Ponte Vecchio allows you to enjoy both the wonders of Florence and the peaceful tranquility of the countryside. It’s a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city, a serene oasis of vineyards, cyprus and olive trees.
With 51 rooms spread across 5 historic buildings, the room and suite decor ranges from Renaissance frescoes and tapestries to contemporary styles. One villa, the Casa Colonica, is made up of four suites and a kitchen and can be rented out on an exclusive basis.
The gourmet restaurant “Il Verrocchio” offers the traditional Tuscan cuisine with over 400 labels of wine. Its terrace overlooking the Arno River is a unique setting for romantic dinners. Bistrot L'Oliveto is named after the surrounding olive trees, which are used to produce the hotel’s own olive oil, and occupies a former barn which has been lovingly restored.
Villa San Michele
In the mid-15th century, the noble Davanzati family donated land in the Fiesole hills to a Franciscan order to build a monastery. Five centuries later that monastery is now the Villa San Michele, a Belmond hotel.
The Villa San Michelle’s location offers dramatic views of Florence, only 15 minutes away. The hotel is a true work of art, featuring a facade designed by Michelangelo, ancient frescos, a wooded park and gardens. Many of the 46 rooms boast stunning views and a private terrace or gardens.
The gardens overflow with lemon trees, orange blossom and fragrant roses. Each spring a centuries-old wisteria swathes the lawn-facing façade in purple blooms. The heated pool, perched on the hillside, offers breathtaking views of the Arno Valley. Private picnics, alfresco massages and yoga classes can all be enjoyed in the gardens and a changing exhibition of contemporary artworks and site-specific installations keeps the hotel’s creative spirit alive.
Learn how to cook in authentic Tuscan fashion at the culinary school or head into the city to learn how artisans in Florence are preserving time-honored crafting traditions and blending contemporary design with historic production techniques.
Swim in the beautiful pool, the highest in Florence, or take a cooking class at the acclaimed cookery school. No day is complete without a meal at La Loggia, one of the city’s finest dining establishments. From there the sunset views embrace the silhouetted domes and turrets of the Florentine skyline. In Bar San Michele, gentle piano music provides a gentle accompaniment for stargazing through the glass roof.
To see a side of Florence that many travelers miss, take a day to explore the ancient Etruscan and Roman ruins of Fiesole. Wine enthusiasts will enjoy using the Villa as a base while they explore the many wineries of Chianti. Foodies can enjoy tasting the bounty of local foods that Tuscan offers. For history lovers there’s no greater treasure than Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance and home of Michelangelo’s David.
The Bottom Line: The best Florence Italy hotels
Whether you’re looking for a classic Palazzo or something a bit more modern, there are Florence, Italy hotels to suit every taste and budget.
Looking for more Florence travel inspiration? Check out our other Florence, Italy travel blog posts.