Casa Howard Guest Houses
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Travel Blogs from Florence
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... in high school and we went out to dinner which was nice. Sunday morning we went to Santa Maria Novella which is famous for it's facade which was done by Alberti and focuses on the perfect square and other geometries. After that we went to Palazzo Strozzi, and then to the Galleria dell'Accademia where the original sculpture of Michaelangelo's "David" is prominently displayed. The last thing we did before taking the train back to Rome was to visit ...
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How has this hotel rated in the past?
Historical Traveler Reviews Casa Howard Guest Houses Florence
Stayed in the Black and White room, the decor was cool but, a very small room. I kept thinking to myself that this is primarily a money making venture, it's all about style over content. Tiny room, no public space, overpriced breakfast, overpriced steam bath and at 180 Euros per night.... not that much. Irritations include a patronising Manager/housekeeper, a small kettle without a plug anywhere near it's location, but it was very small ie kewl! Pretentious and overpriced sums it up for me.......... Florence is wonderful!!!!!
My wife and I had higher expectations
Considering the reviews that had been posted on this site and the Casa Howard's website my wife and I had very high expectations for this hotel. Location is good, nearby the train station Maria San Novella for easy access and about a 10 minute walk into central Florence. There is also an ancient and famous Perfumery (the building is beautiful inside) 3 doors down.
However, location isn't everything.
We were put up in the Play Room which is supposed to be focused towards people with children. Nice colors, kids movies and books and even a climbing wall in the common room (which you could pay extra for and book out).
The bath was very difficult to get in and out of. My wife is 5ft2 and she scraped her legs several times trying to get in an out of the bath that was at least 2.5ft high from the floor. If you are worried at all about falling in or out of a bathtub (I wasn't until I saw this monster) don't stay in the Play Room.
Lighting in the entry area was problematic with devious motion sensors and even with lights on it was still pretty dim.
The staff was very short with me when we arrived and left (even going as far as to disbelieve us about the honour bar!) but strangely during our stay they were all smiles - the maid was particularly lovely, a very kind woman.
Please note that this hotel is number 18 on the street and is a blue address or residential. Don't get confused as we did between business addresses (usually red) and residential addresses (blue or green).
Even though the money was fairly reasonable, I don't think I would stay here or recommend this place to others.
Had higher expectations...
My husband and I just got back from our honeymoon in Italy with our first stop in Florence at Casa Howard. All in all it was a nice spot. The location was great; near the train station, a few blocks from the Duemo, right around the corner from Santa Maria Novella, etc. Our room (the library) was clean, cozy and comfortable with a great bathroom. The breakfast service in the room was nice although a bit overpriced for what you got. The two ladies managing were very pleasant and helpful.
Beautiful, grand room. Great value
Decorated in a luxurious, thoughtful, whimsical, delightful way. The Fireplace Room has a wonderful high ceiling, and the spacious bathroom has a free-standing tub and a flat-screen TV. So the city of Florence had to fight to get my attention after this. Close to luxe designer shops (helllo Loro Piana, I love you) and the train station. On the same block as the Sta Maria Novello perfumery, a laundry, a wonderful pizza joint, & a gelateri. Don't let the Filipina live-ins bend your ears with their tales of woe. A wonderful place, very good location, and excellent value for money.
First, the staff is quick to point out that this is a "guest house", not a hotel or bed and breakfast. That would be fine, except that we did not feel like guests... more like pesky relatives.
1. The Casa Howard is very difficult to find. We finally gave up and hailed a taxi that we then followed in our rental car. This could be due to the extensive construction in the area. The neighborhood is constantly busy, with noisy bars spilling out onto the street and lots of traffic.
2. The "check in" is non-existent. No help with unloading on the one lane, one way, incredibly busy street. No help with bags. No basic instructions such as how to leave the house without a key. (You push the button on the left to release the iron gate.)
3. The lighting is terrible. Dim lights are supposed to be activated by motion detectors, but you will find yourself fumbling around the dark stairwell.
4. There are NO common areas of the house. The garden is part of one of the suites and is not accessible if the room is booked (which it was). You pay for "breakfast" which is brought to your room. There is no place for a cocktail or tea with other guests.
5. The staff seem to feel they are only there to maintain the property. The only Florence advice you will receive is from their website.... so print it out before you go. There is NO internet access. You can pay to access from a sketchy place down the street.
I guess you can tell that we were not happy. The room was nice (Library room) with a beautiful bathroom. But the owners need to "wake up" and make come changes.
Wonderful Casa Howard Florence
We have just spent 5 nights in the most wonderfull guest house in Florence.
Casa Howard is a total delight from arrival to departure. We stayed in the Black & White room - ellegant and over the top with every thing to make our stay superb. We looked round the other rooms and every one is perfection. Go and try it.
Amazing Boutique Hotel
This beautiful hotel is located in an old mansion. The rooms are all modern and amazingly furnished; the pictures on the site are all completely accurate. The bathrooms are modern and luxurious with great towels. The manager/host is Virgie and she is a doll: sweet, helpful, kind. When we arrived we realized we had left our passports and plane tickets in our hotel in Rome. She helped me contact the hotel in Rome, got the necessary information to check us in, and also arranged for them to be couriered up to Florence the next day. She told us not to worry about a thing and she was right. She made our stay so comfortable and she personally turned down our beds each evening. You can't go wrong in this hotel. Also the location is terrific: A three-minute walk from the train station and just a few blocks from the Duomo.
A Small, Intimate Place
This is a small, lovely place near the Sana Maria Novella and close enough to the train station to walk, even with luggage. The lovely rooms are each decorated in a different style and have names such as the Library Room, the Fireplace Room, etc., each with its own theme and decorating. I believe this place has been open for less than a year, so everything is new. Breakfast is available (at an extra -- fairly expensive) charge. The two staffers are Phillipino, very friendly and speak English very well. We were in Italy for a week, and this was our favorite place!
Florence Gem! Beautiful, clean, spacious, and gracious
I believe that we were the first to stay at Casa Howard in Florence last week. What an excellent experience! I only wish we had more days there. The owners have done an exceptional job of taking a Florence residence and converted it into an intimate and unique experience for visitors to the city. After reviews on this site and their own, my wife was convinced we should stay there because the interior decoration pictures were so excellent. Once you arrive you will see that everything is sparkling new and in perfect condition. In fact, the final rooms are getting finishing touches as we speak.
If you are considering where to stay in Florence as I was, You MUST take a look at Casa Howard. I stayed right on the Arno one night and the next night Casa Howard. I should say that the location is right next to Santa Maria Novella and the Perfumarie, consequently is it extremely convenient to the train station as well. As far as location, the walk, bus ride, or taxi to the "sites" and town was interesting, and not too far. You are in much less of a touristy area and can see more local italians to interact with. You will also get a competitive rate. There was also bars, gelati, food,and a coin laundry a few doors down. Overall, I would definitely recommend this unique property. It is not a hotel but has the benefit of a more intimate atmosphere. The owners have instilled a great feeling of charm and peace with the staff and furnishings/decor.
Trip to Florence
What a difference ! This is something I never saw before in Florence in thirty years. Their quality-to-price ratio is unbeatable. The house is a real private mansion, in the very hearth of the Santa Maria Novella area - that is the town pivottal place to stay. Decoration is wonderful, service cute, facilities excellent. The "pozzo" (an outside courtyard close to the Hammam), and terraces were actually not ready, but House Keeper said a famous garden architect - Oliva Collobiano - is going to finish the job in March.