The gleaming Westin Excelsior is one of Florence’s more traditional five-star hotels. Opulent interiors, prime position on the north bank of the Arno, and good services and facilities make it a valid option. Facing pedestrianized Piazza Ognissanti, the Westin lies a short stroll along the Arno from the prime designer shopping street of Via Tornabuoni and Florence’s major sights. Hidden gem Domenico Ghirlandaio’s Last Supper fresco is housed in a cloister on the same square.
All of the 171 bedrooms have a subtly sleek look, mainly thanks to a fresh palate of soft grey, taupe and white. All rooms have Westin’s trademark ‘Heavenly Bed’, an extraordinarily cocooning combination of superb mattress, softer-than-soft topper and light-as-air duvets and pillows. Enjoy a river view with an upgrade to one of the top floor suites. The panoramic sweep towards the Ponte Vecchio and up to Forte Belvedere is magnificent.
A highlight is sixth-floor gourmet restaurant and cocktail bar Sesto on Arno, an enclosed glass box from where the 360-degree views of the city are stupendous, especially at sunset. Chef Matteo Lorenzini cut his culinary teeth in France and classical French influences meld with local traditions in dishes such as stuffed cappelletti pasta in a beetroot ‘pot au feu’ and venison with ‘sauce grand veneur’ (‘huntsman’s’ sauce).