Florence – Where History and Hospitality are Your Best Friends
Hotel Helvetia & Bristol at Via dei Pescioni was opened in the mid-19th century and has recently been purchased by Star Hotels, who have added it to a five-star portfolio that includes the Hotel d’Inghilterra in Rome. Advisors can reach out the hotel by calling 011-390-552-6651; or sending a fax to 011-39-055-288-353.
Guests come here for the old-world elegance, according to GM Stefano Venturi (firstname.lastname@example.org; 011-390-552-6651), who has been with the hotel for six years. The company has acquired the property next door, in which 25 new rooms will be added to the existing 52 rooms and 15 suites in the original building. We suggest contacting Venturi for an update on renovation plans before booking large groups.
On the fifth floor is the Panoramic Suite, No. 550, which has a view of the Brunelleschi dome and the Campanile di Giotto tower. It is one of two suites with beamed rustic ceilings and stenciled stucco walls. The living room of the 550-square-foot suite is upstairs and includes a sitting area, desk and dining table. There is a full bath with tub and separate shower, as well as a half bath in the suite. The suite sleeps a maximum of three guests.
The Executive Suite No. 256 offers a separate living room, as well as a small terrace overlooking Palazzo Strozzi. The bedroom is decorated in yellow damask and has a window with balcony. The marble bathroom includes a tub and a shower. For guests who would like additional space, it’s possible to take the adjacent Junior Suite No. 267, which has a seating area and a Jacuzzi tub. Ask about other adjacent suites and connecting doubles.
Executive Junior Suite No. 253 is situated on the piano nobile and is a corner room with windows in both the room and the bath. The decor is done in soft greens, with a Murano glass chandelier.
The Helvetia & Bristol’s location in the center of Florences shopping and historic district attracts diners to the Hostaria Bibendum Restaurant, where Chef Luca Ciaffarafa offers traditional Tuscan cuisine. For reservations, call 011-390-552-665-620, or e-mail hostaria email@example.com. The Bar Bibendum is a cozy spot for an aperitivo or an after-dinner drink. Breakfast is served in the Winter Garden, with its Art Deco glass ceiling.
Florence is known for its leather goods. Set up on Via di S. Niccolo 2 is Stefano Berner, which is world-renowned for custom-made and bespoke shoes. Mannina, on Via Barbardori 19r, produces one-of-a-kind hand-crafted shoes. Il Bisonte on Via del Parione 31-33r has been making leather bags and accessories since 1970. And, most famous of all is the Leather School at Via S. Giuseppe, 5R, near Santa Croce.
We would be remiss if we overlooked the luxury outlet center outside the city of Florence, aka The Mall (www.themall.it). Designers represented here include Burberry, Armani, Valentino, Gucci, Saint Laurent, Ferragamo, Fendi, Etro, Sergio Rossi, Tod’s, Tom Ford and more. Nearby are Dolce &Gabbana and Prada.
Private transportation, bus and shuttle services are available through hotel concierges in Florence. Timetables and opening hours are available on the website.