Photos: St. Regis Florence/Jared Paul Stern/Rocco ForteEven if you haven’t booked a room, there are ways to enjoy the five-star treatment at Florence’s finest hotels. Lunch and cocktails are two easy entrées to the luxury experience. Last spring the city’s longstanding landmark Grand Hotel was completely renovated and re-opened as the St. Regis Florence, further extending the legendary brand’s presence in Italy to accompany the St. Regis Rome. The Grand Hotel has been attracting well-heeled visitors to the culturally rich city since the 18th century, and the St. Regis continues that tradition with its trademark brand of modern opulence.
The hotel’s restaurant Etichetta is a perfect place for a casual yet elegant lunch in the middle of a busy day seeing the sights, with its central location on the River Arno near the famed Ponte Vecchio. The cuisine ranges from classic Florentine offerings to tastes of the Mediterranean, with artful dishes sure to appeal to every palate. Options range from light fare like a platter of classic antipasto to culinary feats like duck in dolce forte sauce with stewed endive and baby onions. Of course, an extensive selection of wines is available with both regional and international offerings.
While the light, airy dining room is the main draw, those who truly want to immerse themselves in the local vino culture, the hotel also has an intimate wine cellar room available for dining or sampling the liquid delights. And no matter what level of indulgence you opt for, be sure to check out the hotel’s chic spa with its custom Clarins treatments for a return engagement — not to mention the 81 gracious guest rooms and 19 lavish suites along with signature St. Regis touches like an Assouline library stocked with slick volumes.
At the end of the day when cocktail hour beckons it’s but a short walk from the delights of the Duomo and the Uffizi Gallery to the luxurious and stylish Hotel Savoy on the Piazza Repubblica. Part of the prestigious Rocco Forte portfolio, it offers the same level of impeccable service and amenities savvy travelers have come to expect from properties bearing the RF monogram.
Designed by Olga Polizzi, the hotel's décor interprets contemporary Italian style with fashionable refinement —
a reminder that the city’s famed fashion houses like Gucci and Ferragamo are also close neighbors. The Savoy’s luxe L'Incontro Bar and Restaurant is frequented by a stylish crowd that enjoys the perfectly prepared cocktails, and in warmer weather al fresco tables with a view of the lively Piazza. The list of special concoctions changes seasonally, with certain Florentine classics remaining in rotation, accompanied by delicious appetizers. Martinis are also a house specialty, prepared in many varieties, all of them intoxicating.
After imbibing such artfully prepared libations, it’s awfully tempting to stay for dinner — or even the night. Failing that, the hotel’s brilliant concierges — another Rocco Forte hallmark — can help guide you on your further explorations. Visit StRegisFlorence.com and HotelSavoy.it to learn more.
Jared Paul Stern
Etichetta Restaurant at the St. Regis Florence
Courtesy Rocco Forte Hotels
Negroni at L'Incontro, Hotel Savoy