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Garibaldi Blu, Florence, Italy
Overlooking the basilica of Santa Maria Novella in central Florence, this 18th-century townhouse hotel has married a bold and witty style with classic features. The ground floor's airy spaces of stone-flagged floors, Corinthian pillars and stone vaulting are furnished with contemporary sofas and dotted with whimsical touches like as fake palm trees and superhero models (including one of Italian hero, Garibaldi, who gave a speech from one of the building's balconies). Bedrooms, some with frescoes or balconies, feature retro-style furniture, deep colours and modern art. Breakfast is a decent buffet (shared with sister hotel, Rosso 23) and best eaten at one of the courtyard tables, and there's an American-style cocktail bar perfect for an aperitif.
We love being able to slip in early to Santa Maria Novella church to enjoy the fabulous 15th-century frescoes of Ghirlandaio in peace.
Located in lively Piazza di Santa Maria Novella, the hotel is just a couple of minutes from the train station (with its direct line to Pisa airport) and a 20-minute walk from city's other main sights.
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 25-minute drive from the airport.
Style & Character
Those young or young-at-heart will enjoy the breezy, informal feel of the hotel and the lively atmosphere in the piazza. We love the whimsical style: fake palm trees in the atrium and life-size models of super-heroes such as Superman and Wonder Woman.
Service & Facilities
We love returning to the hotel after a busy day of gallery-viewing and shopping, and being able to relax and recover in the cool atrium.
- Snack bar
- Airport shuttle
- Free Wi-Fi
Our favourites are the front-facing rooms which enjoy views of the spectacular façade of the basilica of Santa Maria Novella - some with balconies. The clean, sleek style without fussy details, and the warm colours of the wood flooring and furniture, is lovely.
Classic, Deluxe, Deluxe with View, Junior Suite
Facilities include: ensuite bathroom with luxury products, Egyptian cotton sheets, free Wi-Fi, tea and coffee-making facilities
Food & Drink
The inner courtyard is the best place for breakfast; get down early to bag a table. The cocktail bar, with its American styling, offers a good choice of aperitivi - try the negroni.
Breakfast: continental and American buffet. Open 7-10.30am.
Il Garibaldino Bar: extensive menu, cocktails. Open from 3pm.
Old Fashioned American Bar: '50s and '60s decor, piano bar.