There's no time like the present to visit Florence's historic piazzas and museums, sample the creamiest gelato, and stay a night (or a week) in one of these top hotels.
J.K. Place Firenze
This hotel has a great location on Piazza Santa Maria Novella, with a front terrace where the hotel serves a generous and tasty brunch on weekends. Rooms range from cozy doubles to the first-floor front suite, with its massive canopied bed and three French doors that open onto the square. The décor is terrifically chic, with large-scale photos by Massimo Listri throughout.
This hotel’s couldn’t-be-better location in the heart of Florence means that its rooftop bar has incomparable 360-degree views of the Palazzo Vecchio, the Duomo, the Florentine hills, and the Ponte Vecchio. The 43-room Continentale is luminous, with a chic contemporary look made comfy by cushioned white sofas and gossamer white drapes flowing from luxurious four-posters piled high with pillows. Guest rooms have freestanding full-length lacquered mirrors and raw-oak floors; bathrooms have square white-stone sinks and walk-in showers with thunderous water pressure.
Belmond Villa San Michele
A former monastery on a cliffside amid trees and terraced gardens just outside Florence. Historians attribute the villa’s facade—which dates to the 15th century—to Michelangelo. Floral arrangements in large ceramic vases line the floors of corridors with arched ceilings. Service is superb, and the terrace of the restaurant Loggia is offers delicious takes on regional cuisine.
Westin Excelsior Florence
If getting a room with a view matters to you (and in a city with views as sweeping as Florence, it should), you can’t do much better than this 171-room 15th-century palace turned hotel overlooking the Arno. Head upstairs for aperitivi at the rooftop bar, Se-STO on Arno, or better yet, book the Belvedere Suite and enjoy a private panorama of the entire city, from the Ponte Vecchio to the Duomo and beyond.
The Ferragamo family’s latest hotel offering (adding to the Hotel Lungarno and the Continentale) only further establishes its reputation for intimate and fashionable hideaways. The 36 rooms, all suites, mix light interiors and dark-wood floors with velvet upholstered furniture and vintage Florentine style. Loaded iPods and an online film library are a nice touch in a country that can be a bit behind the times tech-wise.