What makes a hotel great? Is it your personal experience there, the five-stars it was awarded in a review, how comfortable the bed is, the view, or the customer service? To me it is a little of all of the above.
I just got off the phone with my parents, who have been in Italy for the past two weeks. They even got to visit Sicily where our extended family is. I was definitely jealous of that…one day I may share with you the story of how my mom’s side of the family made their way to the US. But that is for a later date, because I don’t know how much dirty laundry my mom would appreciate me airing.
But back to what makes a great hotel, talking to my mom brought me back to a trip RG and I took a few years ago. We traveled through Italy, visited Florence for a week and stayed at my favorite hotel to-date, Hotel Davanzati. It is ranked as the second best hotel on TripAdvisor, so I know I am not alone in singing it praises. What made it stand out to me were the little touches, the things that you would never expect a hotel to take care of, but they did.
Hotel Davanzati is run by the Marcello family and located in the heart of Florence. At any time you will find “grandpa Marcello” or one of his sons behind the desk ready to help. They will take care of museum reservations, restaurant suggestions and arranging Tuscan wine tours. We took them up on all of the above! It is on a busy street between clothing and gelato shops. At first glance you wouldn’t even notice the hotel sign. It is very discreet and doesn’t demand a lot attention. Beware, to get to the lobby you have to hike up a steep cement staircase, but don’t be shy or let this discourage you…just ask and they will help with your luggage.
Now, I ask what makes a great hotel to you because I would not consider this a five-star resort or spa, but a quaint hotel where the little touches make all the difference. The location is perfect. It is a short walk to the Duomo, Ponto Vecchio, open air markets, and all of the famous museums. Inside each room is decorated differently and is very homey. The windows have light and sound blocking shades – very dangerous for those of us who can sleep in easily! Every room includes a laptop with free internet, which you never would never see in the US!
The best part is everyday in the early evening they host a complimentary happy hour for guests. We met many other couples at these gatherings, and really enjoyed exchanging travel adventures. Italian nibbles and local wine is served to your content and it ends at the perfect time, 7:30pm, when you are ready to head out for the evening. I couldn’t speak more highly of this hotel and have recommended it to others and have not heard any complaints. I don’t have many pictures of the hotel, but have included some of our time in Florence.
Florence in general is a great city, it’s much like a large city in the US. It reminds me of a smaller version of NYC, tons of hustle and bustle with business professionals running around and great landmarks to visit. Instead of visiting the Hampton’s as New Yorkers do they visit the Tuscan Coast.