The uninspiring location, on a busy arterial road leading west out of the old city gate of Porta San Frediano on the south bank of the river, is actually only a 15-minute walk from the centre of town and even closer to the buzzy bars and restaurants of the Oltrarno.
There are 84 in all, accessed along black-painted corridors; doors are painted with a full length portraits of Renaissance Tuscan big-wigs. Inside, the high-tech rooms are done out with fuscia or black leather walls dotted with fibre optic lights. Super-contemporary mosaic bathrooms are encased in glass throwing modesty to the wind - I wasn’t quite convinced about this and it may or may not be an issue for you! A pillow menu offers five different types.
As soon as you walk into the building, you know you are in for something different: the entrance hall/reception area is dominated by a huge, swooping mosaic that takes its inspiration from the design of a 19th century brocade, while the adjoining bar area is filled with giant red spirals for seating. The restaurant features a long, curving, communal table that recalls the old ‘fratini’ where monks would sit down to meals. The bar moves outside to a courtyard in warm weather. Three fully-equipped conference rooms cater for up to 170 people.
Eating and drinking
I must confess that I’ve never eaten here, but am told by reliable sources that the food in the Una Restaurant is good; the menu offers traditional Tuscan dishes alongside more broad Italian-based specialities. The swirly Una Café is a good place for hot and cold drinks throughout the day and livens up in the evenings at aperivito time.
The Una chain is known for its reliable, professional service and this hotel is no exception. On-site parking costs considerably less than in the centre of the city and bikes are available for hire.
Who stays there
The hotel is geared principally to a business clientèle and is usually booked up during the local trade shows. However, it’s also a good choice for leisure travellers interested in staying somewhere a little different and it really isn’t far from the city centre.
Off-season prices are a real bargain here, but expect to pay premium rates during the main trade fairs held in the nearby Fortezza da Basso, most notably Pitti Uomo in mid-January and mid-June.
- Business travellers
- Design and architecture
Pros & Cons
- Different décor
- Business facilities
- Cheap car parking on site
- There's nowhere really comfortable to sit
- Peripheral location