Via della Scala 18, Florence, Italy, 50100
- Recommended for:
- Culture vultures, Families with younger children, Singles, Travellers with pets, Shopping
Expert review of Casa Howard
Up-market and sexy, Casa Howard (which has two branches in Rome) was among the first of Florence’s new-generation boutique b&bs. Owned by an Italian aristocrat and his English wife, the motto here is excellent personal service, a fantastic location, competitive prices and a homely atmosphere. Indeed, it feels like the stylish yet relaxed apartment of a vaguely eccentric friend. The rooms are filled with an eclectic mix of antiques from the family vaults and custom-made or one-off design pieces with an emphasis on strong colours and quality fabrics.
The handsome palazzo lies five minutes by foot south of Florence’s main train station and ten from many of the major sights. The designer stores of Via Tornabuoni are a short stroll away. Next door is the wonderful Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella with its delectable lotions and potions and 13th-century frescoed chapel.
Each of the 11 rooms and two suites is highly individual, so you can take your pick. I particularly like the fireplace room with its big black sofa and enormous bathroom where you can watch TV while lying in the clawfoot bath. And the terrace room, with its comfortable terrace and dog bed on request. The more economical twin rooms will suit singles and the play room, with its climbing frame and Disney DVDs, was designed with young families in mind. Bathrooms, with their underfloor heating, are quirky and fun and supplied with Santa Maria Novella bath goodies.
Breakfast (freshly-squeezed juice, warm pastries, honey from the owners' farm) is brought to your room on a tray by the housekeeper and can be ordered at any time within reason. Honesty fridges on each floor are kept supplied with wine, Champagne and soft drinks.
The Turkish hammam (big enough for five) costs 100 euros a pop.
Two smiling housekeepers greet guests on arrival and look after their daily needs. There’s also a concierge service for advice on tours and trips out of town.
A tuned-in lot (both business and leisure guests) who could probably afford to pay more but who appreciate Casa Howard’s approach.
More information on Casa Howard:
- Bed & Breakfast
- Via della Scala 18, Florence, Italy, 50100
- Santa Maria Novella