Like all of Florence’s best bits, Hotel Savoy has a long and fascinating history. Since opening in 1893, it’s become famous for its personalised service and sophisticated style, as well as its enviable location in the heart of the city.
In fact, a stiff cocktail on the terrace here, overlooking the Piazza della Repubblica, has become an Instagram favourite with tourists. Since reopening in spring 2018, Hotel Savoy offers less rooms, but more spacious suites for the luxury traveller. Its collaboration with Florentine fashion house Emilio Pucci has also been a triumph, with the brand’s whimsical, colourful touches adding a contemporary, arty twist to the classic hotel.
You could try looking for a more centrally-located hotel in the Tuscan capital, but you’d probably be unsuccessful. Hotel Savoy is found in the chic, café-lined Piazza della Repubblica and is a short stroll from the Duomo, the Ponte Vecchio, countless museums and churches as well as the beautiful Ponte Vecchio or ‘old bridge’ that crosses the River Arno. Fun fact: Hitler was said to be a big fan of this particular bridge, so much so that when the Germans bombed Florence in World War Two, he gave orders for bombers to avoid it.
There are also excellent shopping options in these parts, with high street favourites like Zara and H&M giving way to the more upmarket designer brands on Via Tornabuoni. The San Lorenzo market and exhibition at Palazzo Strozzi are also worth a visit.
Upon entering, Hotel Savoy certainly emits the elegance and glamour that you’d expect of a five star hotel in Florence. The lobby area is small and lacks a lounge, but the lifts and central staircase are just a few footsteps away, so check in is quick and easy and within minutes I was relaxing on the sofa in my suite.
The faultless service is well practised and friendly, with no job too big or small for staff to assist you. Their longstanding relationships in the area mean hotel staff can arrange pretty much anything for you, from personalised experiences to dietary requirements, culture trips and even special transport.
Unfortunately there is no spa in the hotel – as a foot rub would go down well after a long day pounding the pavements! However, the fitness centre in the basement is particularly impressive and is stocked with Technogym equipment and a separate studio. With just 80 rooms sharing it, I also found it to be wonderfully quiet and enjoyed the place to myself on both visits – ideal if, like me, you’re less than confident about your squat thrusts…
The collaboration with Pucci is immediately obvious as soon as you step foot into the foyer, with the label’s signature colours stealing focus in the otherwise white lobby. This continues into the suites, where bold fabrics and historic books combine with flea market ornaments to create a wonderfully unusual, eclectic interior that really makes its mark on hotel design. While remaining in keeping with the hotel’s history, Pucci’s thoughtful flourishes are tasteful and elegant.
Also available in the hotel is free Wi-Fi, a laundry service, room service and a kid’s club.
In order to offer more luxury suites, Savoy have cut down on rooms, giving more discerning travellers plenty of space to relax in.
Throughout the hotel are 80 rooms, with the two-level Presidential Suite undoubtedly the best bed in the house. I’d also rate the Grand View Suites on the fourth floor, which is where I happened to be staying. As expected, views here are simply unbeatable and accommodation spans 105 square metres, with fine parquet flooring, sumptuous marble bathrooms, floor-to-ceiling bookshelves in the spacious sitting rooms and king size beds with the softest cotton sheets.
Rather than feeling you’re in a hotel, it’s easy to believe you’re staying in someone’s home, with the décor warm and inviting, partly thanks to the unusual artefacts in every room. While enjoying a pre-dinner glass of fizz in the sitting room, I threw open the windows to the square below, listening to a harmonious singer busking in the streets below.
However, even the standard double rooms are of a good size and promise a similar décor with Farrow & Ball paint, bleached oak floors, cute wallpapers and quirky fabrics. All the bathrooms come stocked with Forte Organics toiletries, white fluffy bathrobes and padded slippers.
Travelling with kids? That’s no problem at all. The larger suites and connecting rooms are perfect for families, offering just enough privacy. The hotel will even provide cots free of charge for little ones under the age of three, while baby baths and bottle warmers are on hand if needed and a Teddy Turndown Service will delight older children.
On the ground floor you’ll find retro bistro Irene, which spills out onto the terrace and provides an excellent spot from which to people watch in the Piazza. Whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner you’re after, executive chef Fulvio Pierangelini has got you covered with fresh, seasonal options like octopus salad with red turnips and chicory, lobster linguine and sea bass with olive oil mashed potato, all served up in the glamorous yet relaxed dining room.
Breakfast is something of a treat at the Savoy, with fresh fruit, bread, pastries, a cheese selection and a good variety of cold cuts served alongside the made-to-order menu of eggs and pancakes. The coffee is the best I tasted in Italy and the cute pink tables on the terrace are delightfully chic.
In the mood for a sundowner? Irene Bar is found just next door to the restaurant and is the place to head for inventive cocktails and a cool speakeasy vibe. Order the Savoy Sling and thank me later.
In a nutshell
Expect all the grandeur and warmth of a historic hotel with a dash of contemporary chic and a winning restaurant and bar. Located in the heart of Florence, you can explore the city with ease before returning to your first class suite for some down time. Indeed, Hotel Savoy is a lesson in sophistication.
Rooms start from £347 per night B&B.
Address: Piazza della Repubblica, 7, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
Phone: +39 055 27351