Advantages Friendly, welcoming staff. Quiet location but close enough to attractions to walk.
Disadvantages No tea / coffee making facility in bedrooms
|Value for Money|
|Quality of Rooms|
|Standard of Service|
|Quality of Food & Drink|
Choice of Hotel and historySo out of all the possible Hotels available in Florence, why did we choose the Orto de Medici?
I researched hotels reviews on the internet (including those on Ciao), I asked for friends personal recommendations and looked at photographs & websites.
I prefer quiet to busy. The hotel is close enough to all the attractions in Florence to walk but just outside all the noisy hustle & bustle of a city.
One of main choices of Florence for a holiday was a trail of Michelangelo. I loved the history of the hotel which claims the “prestigious past”. Lorenzo de Medici in the sixteenth century set up a school for sculptors. Included in its many students was none other than Michelangelo . The garden area of the Orto de Medici formed part of the renowned sculpture garden as verified by research see http://www.palazzo-medici.it/mediateca/en/schede.php?nome=Giardino_di_San_Marco). The garden is mentioned in Michelangelo’s biopic, The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone, which I loved and spurred on my dream to visit Florence.
I loved the photographs. The hotel is filled with character. The hotel was originally a 19th century palazzo (palace) and still boasts original frescos and parquet flooring.
I liked the fact that is owned and run by an Italian family - father-and-son team Emilio and Giacomo Bufalini.
The Orto de Medici is situated in a long street – Via San Gallo to the north of the city. It is one short street away from Piazza San Marco which contains San Marco church & museum and the Academy Gallery. It is a mere five minute walk to the Cathedral and a ten – fifteen minute walk to Palace Vecchio, the Uffrizzi and Ponte Vecchio.
There are at least five restaurants within very close proximity – most very nice. There is also a small shop just opposite the hotel for drinks and snacks.
Entrance and lobby
The first floor of the building has a grey-stone exterior to the front with three pale painted floors rising above it each with three windows overlooking the street.
The entrance is through an arched automatic double glass doorway giving immediate views into the frescoed lobby. There are two large amber stained-glass windows to each side of the of the door. There is a plaque with the hotel’s name and a plaque bearing the Medici crest.
As you enter the lobby, you are immediately struck by the impressive high vaulted and frescoed ceiling looking down a corridor decorated in a similar manner. In the corridor are before and after pictures of the refurbishment of the hotel.
The reception desk is to the left of the lobby as you enter. Just beyond the desk is the Tuscan Serena Rock stairway beginning the ascent to the other floors. To the right hand side of the lobby are settees, chairs and coffee table. Just behind the settees are two workstations with free internet connection for use by customers.
In the corridor is the lift, public toilets and the start of the rooms.
The first floor houses the breakfast room with high ceilings, original parquet floors and frescoed panels depicting garden scenes all around. The breakfast buffet is laid out to the entrance of the room. Three rows of two / four seated tables lead to french doors opening onto an outdoor terrace with wrought iron chairs and tables and a lovely view of San Marco church.
Also on the first floor is a large sitting room also with frescoed ceilings and parquet flooring and a conference room.
The hotel has 42 rooms available in four classes – Classic, Deluxe, Superior and Junior suite situated over the four floors of the hotel.
Due to a unfortunate double-booking, we were allocated a classic room for the first night of our stay followed by six nights in a double deluxe room.
The Classic room had a large double bed with an ornate metal head board. There was a large ornate wooden wardrobe, a small desk and chair and television. The bathroom had a bath with overhead shower, toilet and sink. The hairdryer was one of those tube things attached to the wall (next-to-useless). I have to say that I would have been happy in the classic room for my stay but . . .
. . . the Double deluxe garden room far exceeded my expectations. Accessed through an iron and glass covered walkway within the garden, a door leads into the spacious bedroom containing a large double bed, a settee, a large desk & chair, television, mini-bar, laundry basket and television. The bedroom area has a number of tasteful black & white pictures of Florence.
From the bedroom (and also accessible through a second external door) is a small hall which leads into an enormous bathroom. To the left as you enter is a large walk-in shower area in grey and white marble and a large bath with hair-rinsing facility. To the right are the toilet and bidet. To the far end of the bathroom are two sinks both in grey and white marble. Underneath the sinks is a shelf on which a hairdryer, towels are stored.
Also leading from the hallway of the bedroom is a dressing area with a wardrobe area to the left; a safe and chest of drawers to the right and space in the middle for dressing. A large mirror is on the far wall.
I cannot comment on the Superior room or Junior suite as I did not have any experience or view of them.
The Garden area
The garden area is quite small but very well tended. There is a pave and covered walkway to the rooms. At the centre of the garden is a bronze fountain surmounted by an angel – a copy of one by Verrocchio. There is also a small olive tree.
As I have said, breakfast was a self-service buffet. There was a wide range of food to choose from including a large fruit salad; fruit juices; Mozzarella cheese balls, cherry tomatoes, slices of bread; croissants, muffins and cakes; boiled eggs; cereals; cold meats; pre-packeted cheese spreads, jams, honey and nutella. There was also a toaster and a coffee machine (with all types of drinks possible from espressos – to tea – hot chocolate (with various coffees in between).
Both my husband and I have very different tastes – his a more conservative British taste and mine whilst I like to savour food from the area we are visiting. The selection of foods well-catered for our different tastes. There was sufficient available to satisfy the most hungry of guests.
Staff and service
Reception desk staff were always very friendly and welcoming. There was always two staff on duty at the front desk - sometimes three. They were very knowledgeable and ready to offer information or help. We were offered the use of a hotel umbrella on the first days of the hotel when rain was threatened.
Staff were available in the breakfast room not to serve but were very helpful. They cleared away promptly but did not hurry anyone. They ensured there was sufficient food available replacing food quickly and discreetly.
The rooms were cleaned daily – efficiently and again discreetly. Towels were changed on request.
There three rooms specifically for the use of disabled visitors advertised as “completely equipped rooms”. I didn’t actually see inside any of the rooms so am unable to comment on how well they meet disabilities.
There is a garage service available near to the hotel costing €24/30 per day which includes pick-up and delivery service.
Reception staff can book tickets to excursions and concerts on request.
The hotel has an impressive website - http://www.ortodeimedici.it/?gclid=CJKriN_DhLACFUdItAod-RVWiw. The website contains information and pictures of the hotel and Florence; reviews from tripadvisor – good and bad; booking availability.
What I particularly likes about the website was a direction facility enabling you to plot routes from the hotel to attractions – car, bus and walking routes. There was also a weather forecast – three days only but very helpful.
There is also a link to their facebook page which gives more information and opinions from guests.
Do I recommend the hotel?
Whilst I was initially disappointed by the double booking on the first night and a downgrade to a classic room, we were more than adequately compensated by the hotel with a complementary bottle of Prosecco wine and a voucher for up to €60 towards a meal at a local restaurant.
The staff were all friendly and more than helpful. There was not one member of staff that warranted any complaint. They were extremely welcoming but not imposing.
The location was perfect for our taste. Close to attractions but away from the main hustle and bustle. There were cafes and restaurants within close proximity – one café and one restaurant which became our favourite haunts during our stay.
Everywhere in the hotel was kept spotlessly clean.
Whilst not the cheapest room available, it is certainly not the dearest. I do feel that we had value for our money.
The hotel is three star - I don't know why, I pesonally feel it warrents a higher rating.
Anything I didn’t like
The only thing I would have liked was the British-style of coffee / tea making facility in the bedrooms. There was a mini-bar but typical of many of the British, I like a nice cup of tea first thing on waking. Having to wait until we were bathed, dressed and ready for the breakfast bar was a little frustrating.
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