Golden Tower Hotel & Spa Rating: 4.5 Pearls
The Golden Tower Hotel is a luxury boutique renowned for its decadent touches and prime location. A blend of contemporary Italian furnishings, sumptuous fabrics, and rustic architectural details create a vibe that is opulent without being too stuffy. Swanky guest rooms offer flat-screen TVs, cozy beds, and sparkling marble bathrooms. The posh vibe extends to the Golden Spa with its specially lighted Jacuzzis, and the Golden Chocolate Bar with its selection of more than 30 types of chocolate. The hotel's location is another big draw, as it is close to everything from high-end shopping to popular tourist sights.
Rocco Forte Hotel Savoy Rating: 4.5 Pearls
This 102-room hotel is known for personalized service and contemporary style. Neutral tones and tasteful fabrics create an elegant look, and are livened up by colorful artwork throughout. The attached L'Incontro Bar and Restaurant features a renowned Tuscan menu created by Michelin-starred Chef Fulvio Pierangelini and a chic dining room that spills out onto the piazza during summer months. The hotel's central location is a major draw, and most guest rooms offer spectacular views. Those facing front look out onto the piazza, which makes for a pretty vista, but a bit of noise. Rooms in the rear overlook the stunning Duomo -- even the fitness center has lovely views from its top-floor perch. Such beauty comes at a premium, however, as rates at this luxury hotel are steep -- and unlike the Golden Tower Hotel, there is no spa.
Grand Hotel Baglioni Rating: 4.5 Pearls
Housed in the former residences of the Bertolini princes, the Grand Hotel Baglioni lives up to the grand image painted by Florence's past. The hotel is filled with heavy-handed regal touches and ornate decor from top to bottom. The 193 rooms are very spacious (not often the case in a historic building), and feel luxurious, decked out with classic Italian furnishings, large leaded windows, gorgeous dark wood (the ceilings, floors, and furniture), and equally spacious dazzling white bathrooms. Both the rooftop garden and Terrazza Brunelleschi restaurant offer stunning views of Florence. All of this comes with a hefty price tag, of course, but the convenient location, rich design, and outright luxury make the splurge worth it for some.
Hotel Brunelleschi Rating: 4.0 Pearls
The Hotel Brunelleschi is a historic boutique property that's on the higher end of the price scale -- for good reason. The 95 rooms are of average size by Florence standards, and have lovely, classic decor -- wood floors, crisp white linens, wall panel molding, and in suites, four-poster canopy beds (though some rooms have contemporary touches, such as dramatic headboards). The hotel juxtaposes modern design elements such as glass staircases with historic elements such as old stone walls, and houses a private museum displaying ancient Roman artifacts found near the hotel. It's a convenient location for first-time visitors to Florence, just a short walk away from high-end shopping and popular museums, and the train station.
Palazzo Niccolini al Duomo Rating: 4.0 Pearls
This intimate, family-run boutique is ideal for those seeking an authentic stay in Florence within easy reach of tourist sights. Built centuries ago as the home of a Florentine merchant family, this property was inherited through marriage by the Niccolinis in 1891. They have kept its historic charm intact, having preserved the wood-beamed ceilings and frescoed walls. Each guest room has a unique layout, but all are furnished with antiques, flat-screen TVs, and stocked mini-fridges. Many have large windows that feature stunning views of the iconic Duomo cathedral across the street.
Grand Hotel Minerva Rating: 4.0 Pearls
If asked to picture a postcard version of Florence, the views from the Grand Hotel Minerva are most likely what would come to mind. The lovely rooftop pool and terrace offer up some of the most picturesque views in the city, and many rooms have balconies offering similarly excellent outlooks (most balconies have great views of the Santa Maria Novella Plaza, and those on higher floors have spectacular views of Florence's skyline). All rooms and suites are spacious, with high ceilings and elegant furniture, and bathrooms are modern (if a little tight); plenty of handicap accessible units are on offer. The hotel's central location, high-end restaurant, and regal historic ambiance make it easy to justify the splurge.
UNA Hotel Vittoria Rating: 4.0 Pearls
The understated exterior of the UNA Hotel Vittoria belies the funky, ultra-modern decor found inside this 84-room property. The hotel's eclectic style is hard to peg: Plastic furniture can be found in common areas, while Renaissance-style paintings adorn dark, atmospheric hallways. The design elements are definitely distinctive, and it will most likely be appreciated by hip travelers with an eye for aesthetics.