Perched on the banks of the Arno river, just up from the iconic Ponte Vecchio, Hotel Lungarno occupies one of the most desirable and romantic spots in Florence yet still feels – just enough – removed from the crush of crowds.
Designed to evoke the appearance of a floating boat, interiors are cool and breezy, flooded with natural light from white-painted picture windows, and filled with a tasteful collection of art. The staff are chatty and charming in an easy, natural way; they make everything – from the check-in process to the journey up to the room and the delivery of bags – feel effortless.
WHAT TO PACK
Understated elegance. The soft sound of jazz drifts lazily through the rooms; everything looks expensive and smells wonderful.
Space is a luxury in central Florence but well worth sacrificing, in our opinion, for views over the Ponte Vecchio and the rolling Tuscan hills in the distance. Rooms can be compact but always bright and elegantly designed in the hotel’s signature navy and white colour palette (all crisp Ferragamo linens and heavenly smelling bath products, of course) with drawings by Cocteau and a painting by Picasso hanging on the walls. The enormous balcony (nearly the same size as the bedroom) could have perhaps done with a pair of sun loungers, but who are we to complain? Sipping glasses of prosecco at sunset, as the buildings turned various shades of gold, it felt like we had the whole city to ourselves.
The Little Extras
There are complimentary bikes for guests to use, and umbrellas to shade from the sun. Or for a more stylish tour around the city, pick up an electric Vespa from Portrait Firenze, Lungarno’s sister hotel located just across the river.
The Food + Drink
The hotel’s main restaurant Borgo San Jacopo comes with one Michelin star and serves innovative takes on Italian classics – chilled tomato soup with marinated mackerel, tagliatelle with sea urchins, risotto with chicory and saffron. This is also where breakfast is served (bag a table on the terrace, if you can) with a hearty buffet spread of pastries, fruit and cheese, plus all the usual à la carte options.
If you’re after something lighter, the Picteau Bistrot Bar offers an all-day menu of salads, soups, sandwiches and pastas, and cocktails in the evening.
The To-Do List
Where to start? Guests at Lungarno are given a special card granting them access to various museums and discounts at the Ferragamo shop, and the best way to experience the city is to wander. The Uffizi gallery is a treasure trove of Renaissance art with works by Masters such as Botticelli and Raphael while Michelangelo’s 14 foot marble sculpture of David can be found at the Galleria dell’Accademia. The Duomo, Filippo Brunelleschi’s colossal cathedral, is hard to miss but make sure to also stop by the Santa Maria Novella Church to admire its pastel coloured, patterned facade. Just round the corner from the church is one of the world’s oldest apothecaries, Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella, which once concocted treatments for the plague and now sells luxurious botanical beauty products.