Hotel Savoy Florence review: reignite your passion for luxury travel
This haven of Italian style is the perfect base to explore the city from
Sipping a Campari on the terrace of Florence’s Hotel Savoy is a rite of passage for any Italophile. Watching chic Florentines waft by in the surrounds of the historic Piazza della Repubblica with its twinkly carousel and smart cafes will leave you feeling like an extra in a Federico Fellini film.
But don’t make an aperitivo at the Savoy’s Irene Bar your only acquaintance with this grande dame of Florence hotels. It’s a historic five-star establishment steeped in history and oozing class. Just steps away from the Duomo and a few minutes’ walk from the Ponte Vecchio and Uffizi art gallery, The Savoy’s location means guests can indulge in this elegant oasis of calm while staying in the thick of it.
Rocco Forte Hotels has owned the Savoy since 1997, but in 2018 transformed it into a haven of style. Reducing its rooms from 102 to 80 (30 of them suites) has provided more space in each for the plush, high-spec décor of Olga Polizzi, Forte Hotels’ director of design and the sister of Sir Rocco Forte.
The hotel’s reception is surprisingly meagre in size compared to many, but nevertheless eye-catching in cool whites with oversized reception desks. It serves as a backdrop for the eye-catching chair and pillows featuring bold fabrics by Laudemia Pucci, daughter of Emilio, in a first-time collaboration between the Forte and Pucci families. Pucci has also designed beautiful statement scarves depicting Florentine scenes that are sold on the hotel’s website. You can almost imagine Gina Lollobrigida tying one around her neck before heading out for a shopping expedition. Charming pictures of shoes abound in the hotel, a nod to the chi-chi fashion houses of nearby Via Tornabuoni.
Upstairs, Polizzi’s touch is evident. The rooms channel an elegant vibe with luxe fabrics, paints and papers in soothing hues of green, beige and duck-egg blue. The high-ceilinged spaces boast parquet flooring and plush sofas and chairs are adorned with quirky avian-themed cushions. Adding to the plush Florentine ambience are bespoke mirrors and cabinets by local craftspeople. Everything from small art pieces to the harmonious colour scheme has been carefully chosen by Polizzi to create a sophisticated and calming space.
Our junior deluxe room proved a sanctuary with its restful woodland-themed wallpaper and green and grey colour scheme. At more than 40 sqm, it provided ample space for a living room, mini-office in the foyer and good-sized bedroom, so we weren’t bumping into each other as is so often the case in cramped cosmopolitan hotels. The giant bed was ridiculously inviting after a day’s sight-seeing, meaning one of us could nap and the other enjoy downtime in the living room.
Some suites have to-die-for views of the Duomo and Giotto’s Bell Tower – the most impressive aspect belongs to the Presidential Suite, newly created in 2018, located in its own wing and offering six French balconies and 152 sqm of luxury for a family or group. Its double height windows flood the space with natural light and the two bedrooms and sitting room ooze elegance in muted tones of turquoise and beige.
Bathrooms, some with mosaics, are gleaming white oases in Carrera marble, well-stocked with Forte Organics products. Ours had a double sink and bathing options with a walk-in shower as well as a bathtub. Just outside was a makeup table with chair – a thoughtful addition to the room – and capacious walk-in wardrobe, so that our suitcases could be stowed out of sight.
The hotel’s dining areas – a restaurant and bar called Irene after Sir Rocco Forte’s daughter, are refined but not stuffy spaces in which to sample the finest Italian cuisine. After a pre-dinner tipple on the aforementioned covered terrace watching night time fall on the city, we headed inside for dinner. Irene’s Bar, in browns and greens and dominated by a giant bar, was warmed by soft lighting. Even in a period of semi-lockdown, it was nearly full of guests and locals and had a convivial atmosphere. We dined on pasta that melted in the mouth and married traditional Italian cuisine with modern flourishes: linguine with the sweetest red shrimps and pistachio, and an organic filet of beef cooked on a Himalayan salt plate. Each dish was paired beautifully with a Tuscan wine.
Breakfast, served in the same space, is a lavish affair featuring pastries, fresh fruit salad and eggs cooked any way, accompanied by coffee that helped kick-start our days of sight-seeing.
The Hotel Savoy’s reception staff helped streamline our visit to Florence by making bookings for us to visit the Uffizi Art Gallery and Giotto’s Bell Tower: we had notified them of our plans ahead of arrival, because these spaces get booked up. Their help was immeasurable in helping us to map out an itinerary that suited us and also left us time at the beginning and end of each day to wallow in the luxury of our suite. See their suggestions here.
As Europe begins to reopen after lockdown, a stay at the Hotel Savoy will reignite your passion for luxury travel.
The Hotel Savoy is offering #InlovewithFlorence – a sun-kissed Florentine break. Enjoy 15% off the best available rate, complimentary upgrade and €100 (£86.27) hotel credit for guests to sample the refined cuisine and exquisite Italian wines of Irene Bistro for an unforgettable stay. Offer valid for stays through August 2021. Rooms start at €502 (£433) per room per night + VAT.