Grand Hotel Villa Medici
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... in a village of Italy called otavrio. The guide collects money for us all to catch the cable car up to the village which is on the side of a mountain. There is a hostel there with more travellers to pick up. The break is two hours which gives us time for lunch & gelato. The tiny village is very quaint & the outside of the cathedral is really nice. Gold leaf paintings on the outside & the side of the church is all striped black ...
... B and the door unlocked. So we headed up the stairs, and then up some more and more....5 flights in all, with no lift in sight. I went on an advanced scouting mission to see where the place was, so Ken stayed down on the first floor with the bags. I was welcomed by Simone, who promptly went down to fetch Ken and also helped bring my bag up, which was no small miracle. She showed us to the Executive Apartment, which had 2 bedrooms, 1 bath and full ...
... think our pasta dishes in North America. Of course when it was all cooked - we had lunch with some more wine from the region. It was a hoot and everybody that was in the class was a lot of fun. We had a lady from England and another from South Africa and then a couple from Syracuse NY.
Now not to make any of you in -25 degree weather back home jealous but today ...
... it's Chianti, with varying degrees of refinement. Italy has a regulation system somewhat similar to France's, so to be called Chianti the wine has to be 85% or more from the Sangiovese grape, and in order to use a regional classification it has to be totally produced within that region, from grape growing to bottling. We will be starting with the best: Chianti Classico from one of the central subregions. After a shortish drive through terrifyingly narrow village backstreets ...
... to wait about half an hour in a queue to be able to climb to the top of the dome. It was quite a crazy climb up as the beginning of the climb is a winding stairwell and then you come out on the inside of the church around the height of all the satanic depictions that are painted on the base of the dome.. and then you wind your way round before climbing up inside the inner and outer layers of the dome.. Poor Simon was almost bent in half trying to fit ...
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TravelPod Member ReviewsGrand Hotel Villa Medici Florence
This review is the subjective opinion of a TravelPod member and not of TravelPod.com.
Historical Traveler Reviews Grand Hotel Villa Medici Florence
Our 1st hotel on a 3 centre Italian vacation & what a start! Ok so its a little expensive but the pool area was lovely & a welcome retreat after hot sight seeing & the service was excellent. We had a 'basic' room overlooking the garden - very big with lovely bathroom. If you can afford a room with a balcony go for it but we found a small terrace on the 5th floor with superb views of Florence where we sat all alone for well over an hour with our own bottle of wine. Bliss!
Great Family Retreat
This was our favorite hotel during our vacation in Italy. We truly felt like we were family. The rooms were the largest and most comfortable we encountered. When we arrived, we were welcomed with a bowl of fruit in our room. The concierge was always there to help. He was almost able to read our minds on what we wanted or needed. For example, we went to the desk and simply asked where we needed to go to see the statue of Michelangelo's David. The concierge said that it is at the Galleria dell'Accademia. He then went on to say that we would need reservations, so we would not have to stand in line. He then proceeded to make all the arrangements for us. Another time, the conceierge even tracked down a screw driver to open the back of my daughter's hand held game system. The hotel, from what I was led to believe, has one of the few swimming pools around. The pool area was beautiful and a great escape from the city. The kids really enjoyed swimming after a hot day. The hotel dining room was also wonderful. We had dinner there one evening. The staff that waited on us was very attentive and the meal was one of the best we had in Italy.
Expensive but a real treat
We stayed 3 nights (Fri.-Sun.) at the Villa Medici, in early May, upon direct arrival from North America. With the long trip and time adjustment, we decided we would pay the premium for what we hoped would be a guaranteed, comfortable room. We weren't disappointed. Our experience began with the fabulously gracious and helpful staff whose high level of service was replete throughout our stay. We reserved a 3-night package, directly through the hotel, that included a room upgrade and a few goodies (fruit, chocolate, Vin Santo). The average nightly rate of 375 Euros, for a deluxe room with balcony, was better than anything being offered through travel agents or internet travel services. Still expensive, to be sure, but it was a treat. Our room was very spacious, walls adorned in rich fabric, and included a very large and quite modern bathroom. Breakfast each morning, in the lovely dining room, is varied and hearty - the best we had through two weeks in Tuscany. The one dinner we had at the hotel was delicious but we were one of only two tables that evening making for an oddly quiet meal. The location is a little out of the way, though only 5 minutes from Santa Maria Novella, but we actually enjoyed our walks to and fro. It's also makes for a quiet area when sleeping though Saturday night brought out many people in the streets and transit buses are a little noticeable first thing in the morning. No big deal, though. Maybe the only complaint was that our room was too warm. If you don't mind the prices, the Villa Medici is a great place to stay.
The Best Staff, period.
We stayed here for 1 week of our honeymoon. The staff was unbelievably friendly and helpful. One concierge -- Marco -- constantly made special arrangements for us at restaurants. Our room was very large and clean, overlooking the pool. Quite a bit different from our sad experience in Rome. We would recommend the Medici to anyone.
I agree with the other posters
I agree with the other reviewers, and just wanted to chime in my agreement. I loved the linin sheets, but my wife found them "rough."
This is a small hotel, and feels a bit like a private club. You are likely to be one of only one or two couples at dinner. The piano bar had perhaps 15 people when we visited. As mentioned, the extra two or three blocks away from the action is a negative, but that's what makes the hotel like a club.
There is a swimming pool which we did not use as both our visits were in March. But it might be important for families with children.
We enjoyed our stay, and got a good rate off the company website (sina group).
Wonderful Place to Call Home in Florence
I recently stayed on my own for close to a week at this hotel and was extremely satisfied. Hotels (including luxury hotels) in Italy are not usually known for their good service. In this aspect, the Villa Medici was exceptional. The staff are superb -- helpful, efficient, discrete and very friendly. Everyone at concierge is great and will undertake any request promptly and smilingly. Also, perhaps because it is not a large hotel like the Excelsior or the Grand, everyone seemed to know me after my first night. Like a previous user, I too had a great experience with Paolo, who helped me get a seat on the only flight out of Florence when Alitalia suddenly went on strike, by badgering his contact at Alitalia nonstop. That's another thing -- all the concierge staff (male) seemed to be on a first name basis with people at all the top restaurants, museums, etc. so getting reservations anywhere was no problem at all. I had a room on the top floor, which was gorgeous and probably the best room to stay in outside of the suites. I had a huge terrace facing the Duomo with a table for breakfast and two sunbeds!
The bed, done up with linen from Milan, is the best I have ever slept in in Italy -- and I spend at least two weeks staying in hotels in Italy every year. Breakfast is okay but nothing exceptional in terms of luxury hotel breakfasts. Meanwhile, the flagship restaurant, the Lorenzo di Medici, was empty on the two ocassions that I had dinner there. However, the food was excellent and the female maitre'd was very good and kind. The chef is a wonder with grilled scampi -- a welcome change after the typical heavy Florentine meat dishes at the local trattorias. The only drawback perhaps is the location, which is slightly further away from the main areas compared to other good hotels. It always took me at least twenty minutes to get anywhere on foot. Of course, this also means that the hotel is away from the usual tourist traffic and probably a little quieter compared to the others.
I would certainly stay here again and recommend it to friends as well -- particularly to those who don't mind the walk to and from the sites.
Wonderful Hotel & Staff
Wonderful hotel and staff. Like another reviewer, we used our Amex miles to book the room. When we arrived, we were upgraded to a suite facing the Duomo (sp?). The staff couldn't have been nicer. Please say "hi" to Paulo at the front desk. He has visited the US and is planning to visit New York early next year. He knows everything about the city and where to go and what to do. Please also use their concierge services to assist you with getting tickets to museums. A call to them about a week or two before you arrive with pay great dividends when you have the tickets for the times that you want.Finally, the general area that the hotel is located is not at the center of town but it only took us about 8 minutes to walk from the hotel to all the sites.Overall, you won't do much better than this hotel!
Great Character - Good Area!
It's a funny place, quirky in a comfortable way. The area, described as seedy by another reviewer, is only seedy-looking to a first-time visitor - it's a typical residential area where people hang out by the local trattorias and you'd have to be pretty paranoid to feel theatened by it. Anyway, it's an interesting couple of blocks to see while en route to the center of town. Naturally, the rooms facing the pool have the view of the Duomo and center of town and they are pretty sweet.
However, if you want a peaceful night with open windows, I'd request a room facing north on a high floor - you get a balcony, views of the distant hills, parks, and a nunnery next door, including the option of waking up to the nunnery bell at 0700 (beats the traffic noise on the main drag, methinks). The concierge is extremely helpful in all aspects but prone to recommend touristy restaurants unless you insist on better trattorias. I'd definately return here as opposed to the mosquito-infested palaces by the riverside.
What a great place. We had a terrific room (linen sheets), lovely balcony over the pool, with breakfast for alittle less than$300 night.
Breakfast was wonderful, outside in the garden-pool area. The service was great and made you feel like you were at home.We found the best meals were getting a bottle of wine and some food from a nearby place (across the street) and eating on the balcony. It is about a 15 minute walk along the Arno into town and about 10 minutes to the train station.
Nice Place to stay
First let me explain that I used my American Express points and stayed here for free. We had a incredible suite, really beautiful room. Large bedroom, large living room area, huge bathroom. The room smelled like smoke when we first walked in, but we opened the windows and the smell left. The hotel is breathtakingly beautiful. The location is not the best though. Kind of seedy area, right across from a casino. About a 15 minute walk to the center of Florence. Breakfast was super and the front desk service was the best we experienced. Super friendly and helpful staff.