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AdAstra Suites, Florence, Italy
In the oft-overlooked, less touristy Oltrarno district south of the river, there's a feel of the 'real' Firenze in the streets around this hotel. Indeed, as it overlooks the largest privately owned city garden in Europe (Giardino Torrigiani), you feel you've stumbled across a secret when you enter its gates. The 14-room guest house occupies two floors of a 16th-century palazzo (owned by the Marchese Torrigiani's family) and is everything you expect of a Florentine palazzo: grand staircase, gilt-framed portraits, vast rooms and decorative stucco work. Furnished with a mix of retro and contemporary pieces, and with bold modern art on the walls, it has a cool glamour. Breakfast is taken in the fresco-ceilinged salon or on the terrace with its spectacular garden views.
We love a wander around nearby tree-lined Piazza di Santo Spirito - surely the city's prettiest piazza? - surrounded by bars and restaurants, and taking in its lively scene.
The banks of the River Arno are a five-minute stroll away and the Museo Novecanto another ten.
By plane: there are direct flights to Florence Airport from London (2 hours 5 minutes), Manchester (4 hours 25 minutes), Edinburgh (4 hours 55 minutes). The hotel is a 30-minute drive from the airport. skyscanner.net
Style & Character
The hotel is perfect for people with an appreciation of art and culture, a love of an eclectic style, and who like the idea of palazzo-living as oppose to a formal hotel service. We love the fantasy that, for a while, you're a guest in an aristocratic friend's palazzo, and a friend who collected the most extraordinary items.
Service & Facilities
The staff's insider city knowledge means you'll discover neighbourhood bakeries, bars and restaurants that you might not otherwise find.
- Breakfast room
- Free Wi-Fi
Two garden rooms, in the former gardener's cottage, offer the most privacy while those with direct terrace access have the best views. The unexpected touches - lamp-bases made out of fire extinguishers, a frescoed ceiling, a framed vintage Pucci scarf - are fabulous.
Superior, Deluxe, Premium, King View, King Balcony
Facilities include: super king-size bed, free standing bath tub, CO Bigelow amenities, tea and coffee facilities, TV, free Wi-Fi
Food & Drink
Breakfast on the terrace overlooking the romantic garden is sheer bliss; you'll feel extraordinarily privileged. Pastries come daily from a nearby bakery, and are freely available all day, as are teas and coffees.
Breakfast: local produce, fresh pastries, Italian coffee. Served 8-10am.