On the banks of the river Arno sits a fairly unassuming five-storey building. Though perhaps rather simple from the outside, from the moment one sets foot indoors every inch of the hotel screams of grandeur and lavishness. Welcome to the St. Regis Florence. Though the rooms are small in comparison to other luxury hotels of its calibre, the decor is unmistakably St. Regis in style - opulence in spades and patterns wherever you cast your gaze, from the curtains to the cushions to the carpets. Simplicity is not in the St. Regis' vocabulary.
Breakfast is held in a grand room fit for regality; on the balconies we dined every morning, overlooking the giant chandelier and Winter Garden restaurant below. The Michelin starred Winter Garden itself was an incredible dining experience. From the moment we were seated to the moment we left to return to our room, bellies bursting with food and unable to take even another sip of water, we were treated to delightful service from charismatic, charming waiters and gorgeous food by 1 Michelin star chef Michele Griglio and 2 Michelin star chef Valeria Piccini.
Aside from the fantastic service at the restaurant (and at breakfast), my favourite room features were: the bed, which is sumptuous and provides an excellent night's sleep; the view of the Arno that our room had; and the breakfast location, which, for a city hotel, I think is unbeatable.
Anything that could be improved upon?
A small detail - having no coffee machine in a five star hotel room comes as a shock to the system. It's almost unthinkable...and I know we're in Italy, where you can step outside and find four coffee shops within 5 minutes walk but still - sometimes I just want to make my own in the comfort of my big, cosy dressing gown! Also, the whole 'shower inside a bath' thing is old fashioned and not at all to my liking.
Overall, the St. Regis is all but impeccable and even if you find yourself staying elsewhere in Florence, it is still worth paying a visit to the Winter Garden, whether for a top-notch meal or just a drink. You won't regret it.