BusinessClass rating: 9
Enjoy old-school, personal service in a Renaissance monastery from the 1500s with fantastic gardens and a facade designed by Michelangelo. A stunning backdrop where the weight of world your is lifted from your shoulders.
Belmond Villa San Michele was built as a monastery for Franciscan monks in the 1500s. The mighty Danzati family from Florence donated land and financed the construction of the monastery. The next 300 years saw the villa devastated by wars and subsequently rebuilt by wealthy owners. In 1982 it was acquired by the Belmond chain and is today one of Florence’s most expensive luxury hotels.
Location 10/10: The hotel has a unique location for a luxury hotel. It is located in the commune of Fiesole, in the hills above Florence, about 20 minutes drive from the city centre. Some may not be too enthusiastic about this drive, but are in turn rewarded with an incredibly beautiful view. One that absolutely takes your breath away. The hotel, its lush gardens, and even the pool area offer panoramic views of Florence and the surrounding, tranquil, cypress-clad hillsides. The hotel offers shuttle service to and from Florence city centre several times a day.
Interior & Exterior 9/10: The hotel is built in the Renaissance style and comprises an elongated main building and garden apartments. The hotel has chosen a style that exudes ostentatious luxury. Original artwork, antiques and fresco murals. Upon entering the lobby, you feel like you are stepping into a private mansion full of wonder, with several rooms on different levels initiating a curiosity and desire to explore. The gardens are beautifully manicured, making the perfect place to enjoy a Bellini with the same liberating view. The pool is maintained at 30 degrees
Rooms 8/10: The rooms in the main building are rustic and authentic with beamed ceilings, distinctive antiques, and old glass windows, many with spectacular views of Florence. The luxurious bedspreads and comfortable bathrooms would make modern monks envious. Garden apartments are not quite as historically furnished like the old monk’s rooms, but do offer splendid garden views and a spacious luxury bathroom. Especially recommended is the Michelangelo suite, which was the monastery’s library and, at some point, Napoleon Bonaparte’s headquarters in Florence.
Service 9/10: Villa San Michele offers a friendly, “old school” service, typical of Belmond hotels. You are often addressed by name, always greeted with kindness, and, when it’s cool on the terrace, blankets are preemptively placed over your shoulders before you even turn to ask.
Restaurant/Bar 8/10: At the restaurant “La Loggia” you can sit outside on the broad, covered terrace overlooking Florence and the surrounding Chianti countryside. It’s the perfect setting for a romantic sunset meal. The food is meticulously and conscientiously prepared. Live piano music and magical views contribute to a memorable evening. For a more casual meal, the poolside bar offers simple grilled dishes and pizza from a wood stove. The breakfast is of a very high standard. Champagne and caviar is available to order for those who want to treat themselves to something special.
Value for money 8/10: This is one of Florence’s most expensive hotels. The rate includes breakfast and shuttle service to and from Florence. It is cheaper to stay in the off-season, before the hotel closes in late November, and immediately after it reopens in March/April. Find the guaranteed best price for your stay at Belmond Villa San Michele here.
Villa San Michele is suitable for those who want a tranquil setting, but with Florence’s cultural delights close by and the Italian countryside easily accessible. The hotel is child-friendly, with a small, exclusive mini club that offers activities such as pizza baking. If you appreciate stunning surroundings, understated luxury, and a personalised service, then please read our reviews of Belmond hotels Hotel Splendido in Portofino and La Residencia in Deia in Mallorca.
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