Four Seasons Hotel, Firenze
Following a massive building restoration, Florence’s 117-room Four Seasons hotel finally opened in June 2008. Located in the 15th/16th-century Palazzo Scala della Gherardesca—with monumental frescoed halls and room décors that range from opulent Renaissance suites to a discreetly elegant, almost Georgian style in most rooms—this is the city’s first true resort hotel. Facilities include a spa, an outdoor pool, and an eight-acre private park. Room amenities go beyond the usual satellite TV to include DVD players, iPod docking stations, twice-daily maid service, and Wi-Fi. Service, under manager Patrizio Cipollini, is top-notch. There’s an annex in an ex-convent—500 yards away, on the far side of the park—with its own entrance at 46 Via Gino Capponi.
Insider Tip: Those traveling with families should ask the concierge to arrange a kid-oriented visit to the Uffizi, Pitti Palace, or the nearby Pinocchio Park (Pinocchio’s creator was from the town of Collodi, just down the Arno toward Pisa).
Room to Book: The 37 rooms in the former convent building are the quietest and most discreet. With its own reception desk and breakfast room, the Conventino has the advantages of a small boutique hotel with the facilities of a larger resort.