Total score: 9/10
Where to stay when visiting the birth place of the Renaissance? We highly recommend the Westin Excelsior Firenze Palace, just a few steps from the Ponte Vecchio. Here you will find historic surroundings, spacious rooms and wonderful service, whilst the hotel is right in the centre of the city. The roof terrace is also a highlight.
The palace once belonged to Napoleon Bonaparte. However, it’s been a long time since the Bonapartes moved out and the palace was converted into a comfortable 5-star hotel (in the 1920s). Looking further back, the palace was built by the Italian Umiliati religious order in the 1400s. Later, it became the home of the Gondi family, one of the most powerful families in Renaissance Florence. In 1835, Napoleon bought the palace for his sister Caroline Bonaparte and her husband, General Murat, the former king of Naples.
The Westin Excelsior is very centrally located in a quiet piazza, only consisting of the Westin and its sister hotel, the St.Regis. Just 10 minutes on foot to Palazzo Vecchio and Ponte Vecchio, the hotel is the perfect base for exploring Florence’s cultural life.
The hotel has 171 rooms including 16 suites and seven penthouses. The rooms are mostly bright with pastel colours, with many historic features retained such as marble bathrooms, antique stone floors, and original woodwork. You really feel like you are in Florence
Several rooms have stunning views over the river, the beautiful bridges and hillsides in the distance. These rooms are recommended.
The bathrooms are spacious and particularly elegant.
This hotel is blessed with very competent and friendly staff. Many have been working here for decades and exhibit a professional pride that makes you feel more than welcome.
The Westin has preserved its origins as a venerable palazzo with high ceilings, carvings, fresco paintings and huge fireplaces. Everything testifies to the aristocracy of the past and how important it was for these families to have a stately home with the finest art, textiles and furnishings. There are many details and curiosities to dwell on, perfect for those with an interest in culture and history. The lobby is spacious and accommodating with several comfortable seating areas. The breakfast room and restaurant are modern in style, with a focus on comfort.
Other facilities include a 24-hour gym, the opportunity for a private in-room massage, and a concierge service that can help arrange excursions, cultural experiences, and offer restaurant recommendations.
Restaurant/ bar: 8/10
The rooftop terrace features the hotel’s bar and restaurant. An overwhelming panoramic view over Florence makes it extremely worthwhile to enjoy a meal or a drink up there. It is, in fact, actually Florence’s highest bar! A perfect place to enjoy a cocktail as the sun sets. A delicious snack buffet is included for those who want something simple to tuck into. The restaurant offers both indoor and outdoor dining, while the menu features classic Italian cuisine with an international touch.
Who is the hotel for?
The hotel will be a good choice for most. Those who want to stay in the heart of Florence, enjoy high standards and historical surroundings, as well as a casual and relaxed atmosphere, will be more than satisfied at the Westin Excelsior Firenze. The hotel is family-friendly.