What We Love
- The Caffe dell’Oro restaurant has swoon-worthy views of the Ponte Vecchio
- Stylish perks include free admission to the Ferragamo Museum and boutique discounts
- All suites face either the city, the Ponte Vecchio or the Arno, so there’s no such thing as a bad room here
What To Know
- The "Portrait Experiences," which include photography expeditions and foodie tours, can be pricey but are worth the splurge
- Pets are not only allowed but spoiled with special treats
- WiFi, Bluetooth and a free iPod for your stay are all included
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
- Room Service
If you’re the kind of traveler who avoids the big, flashy five-stars in favor of boutique hotels that really feel like a room of one’s own, this 37-room gem will set your heart aflutter. Situated beside the Arno River and steps from the Ponte Vecchio, this utterly stylish stay is part of the Ferragamo family’s collection of small but perfectly turned out properties. It’s not hard to trace the famed shoemaker’s DNA in the discreetly opulent furnishings (think elegant tones of silver, gold, cream and gray, Danish Modern–style chairs, cashmere throws and framed fashion prints from the Salvatore Ferragamo archives), nor in such thoughtful touches as the hotel’s signature scent, free bicycles for exploring the city and fresh flower arrangements. The guestrooms and suites all have romantic views of Florence, with its terra-cotta rooftops, famed bridges and tranquil river. Seafood and Tuscan meats are the highlights of the Caffe dell’Oro, a superchic restaurant with pinch-yourself views of the Ponte Vecchio, the city’s iconic medieval bridge lined with gold sellers. The menu is surprisingly adventurous for this part of Italy; along with Tuscan classics such as minestrone and wild boar gnocchi, you can sample zingy healthful dishes like quinoa salad with steamed vegetables and cured pink trout with apple salad.
In the Area
Take advantage of the family discount to visit the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum, a paean to the Italian shoe maestro whose fans included Marilyn Monroe — he personally designed 40 pairs of heels for the blonde bombshell. (There are guided tours the first Saturday of every month.) Pick up a pair of your very own stilettos or wedges at the flagship boutique on Via dei Tornabuoni or, if sticker shock strikes, head instead to the Mall, a high-end designer outlet in the Tuscan hills just 30 minutes from Florence, where you might snag a steal. While in shopping mode, check out the bling on the Ponte Vecchio, which has housed goldsmiths’ shops since the 16th century. You’re in the home of gelato now, so be sure to track down an icy treat when the retail therapy is done; the dark chocolate at La Carraia, on the Ponte alla Carraia, is rumored to be the city’s dreamiest.
How to Get There
The Mrs and I went there for our 10th anniversary in October. We are usually a Marriott family but the St. Regis and the Westin were sold out. Taking a chance on a unknown brand to me and a boutique hotel was a big step for me. We also had a 1 yr old baby with us to add to my anxiety booking this hotel.
Price: Compared to all the other top 5 hotels on Conde Naste and other luxury hotel rankings, I thought our rooms were "well priced". They also didn't mind putting a crib in their regular room (most other hotels want you to book a suite) and didn't charge for it.
Location: Right on the Arno river and 30 second walk to Ponte Vecchio. In fact all river facing rooms face Ponte Vecchio. It's right in the middle of all the hustle which is awesome. If you are looking for a more peaceful location and don't mind walkin 5-10 mins then the St. Regis are is probably better or even the more secluded 4 Seasons (albeit way more $$$). Because of the location there is light street noise (and we were on the top floor)
Customer Service: This is where this place really shines. In fact, it's so good (partly due to the fact that its such a small luxury hotel) that the St. Regis in Rome, where we stayed at after Firenze, felt like such a let down. From the moment you step in the hotel, you have a 1:1 attention from one of the attendants. In fact, before you even arrive they make sure the fully understand all your preferences, including types of linen you want on your bed. From then on, there is ALWAYS someone available with a smile to solve any problem you might have. Not once did we hear "no" or "I can't do it". In fact, we didn't make any reservations before coming and they were able to get tables for us in some high demand restaurants. Also, because we had the baby, they also put on of those modern electrical rockers for her which were a huge help in getting her to sleep and used to the jet lag.
Room: Excellent room. We got upgraded because it was our anniversary and there was availability (we never asked for it). But in general their rooms are contemporary and chic. Very comfortable and with good attention to detail. We did NOT care at all for the Ferragamo bath products. In fact the body wash made our skin feel super dry. We strongly considered going to a store and buying normal soap but we made do with the bar soap that they had which was better than the body wash.
Altogether, this hotel totally changed my mind about small boutique hotels. In fact, I'm not sure I will prioritize booking in a large american style chain hotels with 100's of rooms again. The attention to customer service is unparalleled.
TIP: their sister hotel next door has an awesome rooftop bar where you can catch a beautiful sunset. It is very small and usually has a wait so plan accordingly. The attendants at the hotel do seem to have some pull to get a table but it might depend on who you talk to (this was honestly our only service let down). The first lady we spoke to was not that keen on trying to even inquire if there was availability immediately assuming there wasn't. Luckily we ran into the attendant that had been going above and beyond for us the whole time we were there and he made it happen within 15 minutes. In fact this experience made me inquire a bit more and learn that the Portrait has staff that does internships from the top 2-3 hotel schools in the world. The attendants from those schools are AMAZING. [PERSONAL JUDGEMENT WARNING] - it's likely if you find someone that doesn't try hard to help (very rare in this hotel) then its likely that this person is local and therefore just not as engaged than a foreign student trying to hone their craft.
This is our third visit to the Portrait Firenze and this visit was definitely worthy of 5 stars. The service we received was excellent and attentive and the suite overlooking the Arno was just perfect. I love the decor of this hotel and it is always kept in such great condition. The location is probably the best in Florence - I may be biased but each of our three stays leaves us commenting on how grateful we are for this location for all the things we love to do in Florence - shop, dine and wander....
I am so pleased we were able to stay here this visit as we made the reservation day of after a quick detour on our trip. Can't wait to return again!!
We spent two nights here and it was a perfect visit. Baha and the rest of the staff were very gracious and helpful. For each night of our stay we asked for casual dining for dinner and both restaurants they made reservations for us at perfectly fit the bill and were excellent. The buffet breakfast was top notch and had everything anyone could want. The room we had did not have a view as it overlooked an alleyway, but it was elegant and, for a European hotel, pretty spacious. The entire hotel is very stylishly designed. The location is a half block from Ponte Vecchio and within walking distance to all the major sites. Would definitely stay here again. Kudos to the staff especially for the excellent service.