It may not be set on a very picturesque street (Via Sant’Egidio gets quite a lot of daytime traffic), but Palazzo Galletti is located only metres east of the Duomo. Santa Croce is within 10 minutes' walk as is the Ponte Vecchio and the Uffizi. If you have heavy bags, you should be aware that the hotel is on the first floor of the building and there is no lift and no porter service.
Each of the 11 rooms (named after the planets) is different from the next but all are carefully decorated with great attention to detail; the mix of classical, ethnic, baroque and contemporary elements is eclectic and fun. Some rooms are flowery and frescoed with chandeliers and pastel colours, others are done out in a more modern vein. The two huge suites at the back have grand floor-to-ceiling frescoes and 18th century furniture.
My favourite room, nettuno, is actually one of the smallest (and cheapest), but it is particularly cosy. Seven bedrooms look over the internal courtyard and have a little balcony which, while offering no privacy, is just big enough for two chairs, a table and a bottle of wine. The two suites that look onto the road have quadruple glazing, so noise is not an issue. Travertine marble bathrooms are smart and modern; about half have tubs, others have walk-in showers; some have both.
None to speak of unless you count the small reception area and the breakfast room.
Eating and drinking
Breakfast is served in the original vaulted kitchen of the palazzo which predates the rest by a couple of centuries. It’s fairly standard, but the pastries and orange juice are fresh.
Although it’s under different management, there is a delightful small spa called Soulspace on the ground floor of the palazzo and hotel guests are given a discount. The spa offers all sorts of interesting treatments and massages (the owner is Turkish) and has a plunge pool.
The owners and reception staff are happy to book restaurants, museums and exhibitions. They also organise tours to the Tuscan archipelago (Elba is the biggest and best known of its multiple islands) in a private boat. Note that then reception is only open until 7pm; after that time you will be given a key to get in an out. Late night arrivals (after 11pm) carry an extra charge.
Who stays there
Mostly tourists, especially those who are looking for small, independently-run accommodation.
- First-time travellers
Pros & Cons
- Spa in same building
- Lovely bedrooms
- Value for money
- First floor and no lift