My first visit to this beautiful hotel took place during a foggy and dull February. Leaving Florence’s busy streets to enter the fabulous entrance hall, my spirits were instantly lifted by the warm welcome from the staff and the serene charm of this 18th century palazzo. I was invited to sit, and offered refreshments as I checked in, so the process became a pleasure rather than a routine. The pride the staff takes in their hotel became apparent as I was shown the stylish and comfortable public rooms. There is an intimate bar for refreshments when the cultural attractions of Florence have exhausted you as well as an office area with all facilities if you can’t leave the world behind. It is, however, the Sala di Musica that will take your breath away. It is a stunning space that can also be used for parties and recitals. As you relax there before dinner you can use the wonderful ‘Uffizi Touch’. This resource allows you to browse the whole Uffizi collection on a large screen and zoom in on details you wouldn’t be able to see in the gallery itself (without setting off the alarms)!
There are 24 rooms furnished with a mixture of modern and antique pieces chosen to provide stylistic contrasts within the sympathetically restored building so modern plasma screen TVs and wifi access complement original structural features and specially commissioned items of furniture. Some bathrooms have rain showers, some hydro-massage bathtubs; all have warm relaxing tones and are well equipped.
After a day of culture and shopping I was able to relax and enjoy the refined atmosphere of the hotel’s Guelfi e Ghibellini restaurant and the delicious meal created by the talented chef Marco Tremonte and his colleagues. I started with little clouds of gnocchi in a delicious sauce followed by maialino roasted to a tender perfection with a crisp veneer of garlicseasoned crackling – perfetto. Choosing a dessert was a delightful problem but eventually I opted for a selection of passion fruit dolci including a delectable crême brulée.
There are a number of fine hotels in Florence but the Relais Santa Croce combines the best location with the finest facilities and service in a ambience of relaxed sophistication; a perfect place to celebrate a special occasion or just to treat yourself.
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