For my money, the Lungarno enjoys one of the best locations of any city centre hotel in Florence. Standing right on the river, the entrance is just off a narrow street lined with interesting shops and eateries at the heart of the Oltrarno, the most eclectic neighbourhood in Florence. It’s a pigeon’s spit from heavyweight sights such as the Ponte Vecchio, the Uffizi and the Pitti Palace and a short walk from the gentler charms of Piazza Santo Spirito with its daily morning market and nearby artisan workshops.
The best of the 73 rooms are the suites on the top floors, which have big terraces over the river. Other rooms are mostly on the smallish side (the classics are really small), but if you manage to get a river view, that will compensate. Compared to these, the street-facing rooms are disappointing.
The open-plan bar and sitting room areas on the ground floor are a delight with their huge picture windows that give you an eyeful of the river and the Ponte Vecchio. The breakfast room shares the same view and there’s a small riverside terrace for summer aperitivi.
Eating and drinking
Restaurant Borgo San Jacopo, where Beatrice Segoni serves up elegant, unfussy fish and meat dishes in a calm, sophisticated environment, is one of Florence’s top restaurants (see my restaurant guide): book well in advance to bag one of only two tables on the tiny riverside terrace. An excellent breakfast is served overlooking the river and tea and cocktails are taken in the smart, comfortable sitting areas with more river views. If you’re lucky enough to have a room with a waterside terrace, I’d go for room service.
Courteous and efficient, with a touch of old school charm.
Who stays there
Mainly well-heeled tourists from all over the world with the odd celeb cropping up every now and then. Some small, up-market tour groups. Anyone seeking the services of a top-class hotel in an away-from-the-crowds location.
- Culture vultures
- Mature travellers
- Escaping the crowds
- Special occasions
Pros & Cons
- Borgo San Jacopo restaurant
- Riverside location
- No leisure facilities