Il Tornabuoni Hotel, Florence: Medici meets modern

Il Tornabuoni Hotel, Florence: Medici meets modern

Bold interiors, a stellar location and a rooftop retreat make this hotel stand out

Words by Ute Junker

Photos supplied

This article first appeared in Traveller


THE PLACE If your idea of the perfect stay in Florence includes waking up in one of the city’s oldest palazzi, then Il Tornabuoni Hotel, part of Hyatt Hotels’ Unbound Collection, is for you.

THE LOCATION It is hard to imagine a better location. Il Tornabuoni – which opened late last year after a two-year refurbishment of the Renaissance palazzo that houses it – sits on the Via de’ Tornabuoni, one block from the river and one block from the Palazzo Strozzi museum. The fact that this pedestrian street is lined with luxury retailers such as Pucci and Gucci, rather than bars or restaurants, gives it a more peaceful setting than many of its competitors.

THE LOOK Architect Andrea Auletta has drawn on the splendour of Florence under the Medici to inspire his eye-catching interiors. Each storey has a different colour scheme, mostly dazzling combinations like blue and green, pink and peacock, or yellow and grey. (If you prefer something more restrained, the elegant grey and brown of level two will work for you.) Key Florentine motifs, such as geometric patterns and the balls of the Medici coat of arms, appear everywhere, but the feel is resolutely contemporary. The one exception is the Lorenzo Il Magnifico suite, which lives up to its name thanks to the gloriously restored frescoes that cover the walls and ceiling.

THE ROOM Il Tornabuoni’s rooms are generously sized, starting at 20 square metres and going all the way up to 60 square metres, and half of them are suites. I have been upgraded to a suite which comes with soaring ceilings, two king beds, a sofa, a table with four seats and a sumptuous bathroom with an oversized bath. Every piece of furniture in the rooms is bespoke. I particularly love the beds, which feature scalloped bedheads and brass frames that are a stylish nod to traditional four-poster beds. I am also pleased to see that there is a coffee machine, which many Italian hotels don’t offer, and that the mini-bar has room to put your own drinks in.

THE FOOD The hotel has only just reopened after it shut down during the height of the Omicron outbreak, and not all of its food and beverage outlets have reopened yet. The Il Magnifico café and restaurant is doing good business and, by a stroke of good timing, I arrive the day that the Butterfly Terrace reopens. The La Cave wine cellar and the opulent Lucie restaurant are scheduled to reopen soon. The breakfast buffet at Il Magnifico offers Italian standards (plenty of cakes and cold cuts) but the menu also includes more international choices such as muesli, eggs benedict and toasted ham and cheese.

STEPPING OUT The hotel’s central location means that many of Florence’s most-loved sites, from the Uffizi and the Ponte Vecchio to the Duomo and the Medici Chapels, are less than a 10 minute walk away. If you are arriving by train you could even walk to Santa Maria di Novella station, if your luggage is light enough.

THE VERDICT Spacious rooms, spectacular interiors and warm, friendly service – it’s not often that a hotel ticks all the boxes, but Il Tornabuoni hits the mark.

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