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Historical Traveler Reviews La Quinta del Melque, Casa de Miedo Toledo
We had a reservation at the Hotel Orcagna, which is a two star and we were upgraded for free to the Hotel Jane, which is a three star across the street owned by the same people. We did look at Hotel Orcagna though and it was very nice inside. Hotel Jane was very clean and the staff was great. These hotels are about half a mile to three quarters of a mile from the city center, so not as far as it may seem on a map (we were assuming at least a mile or two). Hotel was a great deal! The websites said they have bikes, but they only had two because the rest were broken, so dont' count on them. But, it isn't very far and it is probably very difficult riding a bike in the crowded city, so don't worry about it.
Great little hotel!
Family-owned hotel Orcagna was a real gem. It's a bit more "mom & pop" than many of the big hotels in the heart of town, but that was part of its charm. It is a few blocks off the tourist path in Florence, so the streets were a tad quieter and the prices were lower, but it was only about a 10-15 minute walk from the city center. For the price, this hotel was a delightful surprise.
The staff was incredibly accommodating and friendly, and even offered for free services other hotels charge for (for example, we were allowed to access the Internet without charge). They were cheerful and a pleasure to "come home" to each day. Everything ran very, very smoothly.
The room was very clean and tastefully decorated. It was small but included a sleeper sofa and a queen-sized (I think) bed, as well as a bureau and armoir. The bathroom, while small by US standards, was also quite clean. The 13" cable TV accessed the international CNN station so we were able to keep up with the news in English. We had a little balcony overlooking the street, which was a sweet little bonus.
As I'm told is true in nearly all of Florence, the street-side rooms were a little noisy - in hindsight we would have asked for a quieter "back of the building" room - but it wasn't too bad because the location is more of a neighborhood than a tourist district, so the Vespas stop racing around fairly early. And there is something pleasant about being able to watch goings-on on the street now and then.
Breakfast was a nice surprise. In a cheery breakfast room, we had our choice of danishes, yogurts, juices, and cereals, and were offered cafe latte or cappuccino (as well as "American coffee"). I had eaten the free breakfast in a "3-star" hotel in Milan, and this one was far tastier.
Although we did not make use of it, guests were welcome to use a small outdoor seating area in the back of the hotel, and a nice indoor seating area next to the hotel desk.
There are about four steps up to the tiny elevator, so the hotel is not really handicapped accessible (as an ancient city, much of Florence is not). Our room was on the 2nd floor so we generally walked the steps, but the elevator was quite handy for arrival and departure days.
The neighborhood felt safe, clean, and relatively quiet. The hotel is about 2 blocks from a small grocery store that is mostly used by the local residents. Besides being generally convenient, it also turned out to be a good place to buy less-expensive cookie, candy, and beverage souvenier gifts.
The clean, attractive rooms, tasty breakfast, relatively quiet location, and (especially) the cheerful staff - as well as the low price we found through Expedia - were the strongest points of the hotel. The drab exterior is perhaps its one weak point (but how much time do you spend looking at the *outside* of your hotel)?
When we return to Florence, I am sure the Orcagna--and the Hotel Jane across the street, which is run by the same family--will be top on our list of places to stay.
TripAdvisor Reviews La Quinta del Melque, Casa de Miedo Toledo
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... which is great for travelling around with maps, phone and camera.
Then I got further distracted by the Baptistery. I knew the ticket for the Duomo let me into a few places, and this was one of them. I am so glad that I didn't miss it. My pamphlet says "the sumptuous mosaics of the dome reveal the influence of the Byzantine art in central Italy'. Not sure about that, I would just say "wow" again! Check out the pics of that.
... people so I can't complain.
We did manage to check out the view from Michaelangelo's Piazza and the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella. Both were impressive, though again these churches pale after seeing St Peter's. I loved the bridge which had buildings and shops protruding off it. I can't remember if I've mentioned it on here already, but I have this thing about bridges. I love walking across them and taking photos. ...
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