The Four Seasons Hotel Florence is the most spectacular hotel I’ve ever stayed in.
I had the privilege of staying in the hotel for a complimentary night. I’ve been inside of many Four Season Hotels including the George V in Paris but none of them were as special as the one in Florence.
Situated on a quiet street about 15 minutes from the central tourist area, I entered the hotel and was overwhelmed by the beauty of the lobby area with a three story atrium containing ancient friezes from the 1400s contrasted by a striking present day Christmas tree made of metal trimmed with long delicate hanging crystals.
I was escorted to my room and told it was on the Noble floor where all the top suites are. At the end of a long corridor with heavily waxed dark parquet floors, my room appeared and my jaw dropped open. The room had 30 foot ceilings, which had a ceiling fresco-Blindness of the Human Mind being Enlightened by Truth, painted by Baldasare Franceschini in the 17th century (I got a little dizzy craning my neck trying to take in the details), gilded moldings and painted silk Chinoiserie wall panels. Once the hotel escort left me in the room, I jumped up and down for joy and pinched myself, basking in my good fortune. I eyed and touched every last object in the room including the black lacquered desk with gold details and a forest green brocade covered chair, Chinoiserie vases, gold painted framed mirrors, a high bed with a green velvet and gilded headboard (the sheets were the softest I ever slept on, probably a million thread count or more), a side table decorated with a mini-Christmas tree, and a cushy dark green velvet chair with an ottoman, perfect for book reading.
The bathroom, which was almost the size of my apartment, was another over the top luxury story, with deep green marble counters, Carrara marble tub and white towels thicker than a copy of War and Peace.
The hotel set out an appetizing fruit plate, Evian water, and a bottle of Champagne on ice on a handsome marble topped commode.
I didn’t want to leave the room but there was one last restaurant I wanted to try, so I ate as quickly as possible as not to miss any room time. I reluctantly checked out the next day at the last minute possible, savoring the last moments in my Florentine fantasy.
After I checked out the public relations coordinator gave me a tour of the hotel. She showed me all the public rooms on the main floor including the bar, reception areas, a petit sitting room, formerly the private chapel, restaurants and boutiques, all stunningly decorated.
The Della Gherardesca garden from 1870, one the largest in Florence, is eleven glorious acres. It’s based on an English style garden begun by Count Guido Alberto Gherardesca, later taken over by Giuseppe Poggi but the origins date back to the 15th century. The exquisite garden is dotted with modern day sculptures, majestic trees, an ancient stone archway, an English garden folly and a sweet children’s playground. Such serenity in the middle of Florence. If it were a bit warmer I would have dove in the alluring swimming pool. Another building in the back, a former monastery, contains 36 additional rooms.
The stand alone spa building featured 10 treatment rooms, gym, steam bath and sauna and the specialty treatment is a Chianti wine massage. During the spring summer there’s al fresco dining in the garden.
After the tour the public relations coordinator gave me a coffee table book with the history of the hotel along with photos and illustrations. I poured through the book, learning the fascinating story of the former palazzo. The original site of the property was developed by the Chancellor Bartolomeo in 1473, later owned by Alessandro Medici in the 1500s, and in the 1600 and 1700s it was the home of the Gherardesca family, named the Palazzo Scala-Della Gherardesca.
Four Seasons Florence
Borgo Pinti, 99, 50121
Eye Prefer Paris Photos
I am happy to announce a new series of Eye Prefer Paris photos for sale just in time for the holidays. Give the gift of Paris to for your Francophile friends, relatives, colleagues and co-workers.
- I’ve listed 20 new photos on my Etsy page for easy shopping.
- Photo prints come in two sizes, 8”X10”, $35 each plus shipping and 11”X14”, $50 each, plus shipping.
- They are printed on Fuji crystal Archive metallic paper with rich satin gloss finish and are unsigned and unframed.
- Shipping is $6 per photo in continental U.S. and shipping time is 3-5 days via USPS.
- I can also ship them UPS or Fedex for an extra charge.
- If you are ordering photos as a gift, I can write a personal note card if you send me your text.
Click here to see full selection of images.
Below are some sample images.
Eye Prefer Paris Postcards
I am thrilled to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Postcards, a 3, 6 or 12-month subscription service where the subscriber receives three physical postcards of my iconic Paris photos every month. Each month will have a specific theme, from architectural street scenes to romantic outdoor cafes to beautiful gardens to unique shots of iconic monuments. Each mailing will include two postcards in color and one in black & white or sepia, beautifully packaged in a special French Blue postcard holder with a custom designed seal.
Each 6” X 4.25” traditional size postcard is printed on thick matte coated card stock, similar to traditional vintage postcard stock that enhances the vibrancy of every image.
Only $30 for a 3-month subscription plus shipping or
Only $60 for a 6 month subscription (plus shipping)or
$110 for a 12-month subscription (plus shipping)
Click here to order a 3-month subscription from my Etsy store
Come experience Eye Prefer Paris live with Eye Prefer Paris Tours, which are 3-hour walking tours I personally lead. Eye Prefer Paris Tours include many of the places I have written about such as small museums & galleries, restaurants, cafes, food markets, secret addresses, fashion & home boutiques, parks and gardens and much more. In addition to my specialty Marais Tour, I also lead tours of Montmartre, St. Germain, Latin Quarter, in addition to Shopping Tours, Gay Tours, Girlfriend Tours, Food Tours, Flea Market Tours, Paris Highlights Tours, and Chocolate & Pastry tours.
Tours start at 225 euros for up to 3 people, and 75 euros for each additional person. I look forward to meeting you on my tours and it will be my pleasure and delight to show you my insiders Paris.
Check it out at www.eyepreferparistours.com
Click here to watch a video of our famous Marais tour