The trip from New York to Florence is long…very long. So is it worth it? You bet.
I arranged transportation through the hotel–Firenze Number 9. The driver was pleasant and accommodating. I arrived early evening on Saturday, so the drive from the airport to the hotel was a mere 20 minutes. It’s a “local” drive, so I had no sense of which direction we were traveling. I was so tired, though, it really didn’t matter.
The concierge at Firenze Number Nine was waiting at the door as I walked into the lobby. I really wouldn’t call it a lobby; it was more like a lovely modern yet inviting living room with over-sized chairs, a stylish sofa, and a cozy fireplace, all in a neutral palette with splashes of purple–an important color for Florence. All in all it was a lovely welcome. Check-in took two minutes, and I was shown the breakfast/dining room, gym, and spa.
The concierge then led me to my single room on the third floor. I decided on the single room because it was significantly cheaper than a double room. I know everyone says the hotel room doesn’t really matter because you’re not in the room that much, but I like a nice home base and I need to feel comfortable so that I can relax when I am in the room.
I do like the nicer hotels–who doesn’t–and I make no apologies for that. However, I can’t always afford the nicer hotels. Firenze Number Nine offered a nice option with a special price for a single room, so I took it. As the concierge turned the doorknob, I anxiously awaited to see a room in which I could touch the walls as I spread my arms out–I expected a single room in Europe to be exceptionally small. And yes, it was not the size of a standard double room, but was much larger than I expected. Ah…Italy was already living up to my expectations.
All in all, the room was comfortable and very, very clean. That is important–especially for me since I can safely say I am somewhat OCD. As we stood in front of the now closed door, i faced a long room with a wardrobe, chair and table, and bed along the left side of the room. The wardrobe allowed for good storage, and it included a safe and minibar. No, there wasn’t much in the minibar, but the first item used was complimentary. That was something. Along the right side of the room, a Juliet balcony stood, filling the room with the lovely Florentine sunshine. What was even nicer was that every day was sunny and around 65 to 70 degrees. Just marvelous. Next was the modern TV propped up on the wall, and then a modern, tiled wall. At the end of the room stood the small, but efficient (and did I say clean?) bathroom, with another window allowing for more of the glorious Florence light to stream into the room. The only complaint, if you want to call it that, was that the shower was very small. I’m on the shorter side, so I was fine, but I can see the shower being a problem for taller people. All in all, everything, ultimately, was comfortable.
The breakfast was fine, but I had several mornings in which I didn’t have breakfast because I had to get to class, and in that case I stopped at a cafe right around the corner from the school that had the best cappuccino and croissants. Yum! As well, the hotel offers the most important thing, I think–free Wi-Fi. Their server needs to be better, though, so I had a hard time posting anything which is why I am posting now, but it was good for basic needs.
Would I stay there again? Yes!! The location was literally around the corner from the Duomo, and within a 5 to 15 minute walk to everything, depending on where you want to go. In particular, it is a good location if you want to be close to the train station. But I preferred that it was 3 minutes from Piazza Santa Maria Novella, Piazza del Duomo, and Piazza della Repubblica.
Now at this point I was exhausted. But I was in Florence and I needed to experience a little of it before I crashed. The answer–aperitivo! On the advice of a former student of mine, I found the News Cafe right around the corner from my hotel.
The aperitivo is a fun and exciting happy hour style celebration cherished by Florentines. Go to your favorite cafe, order a drink, and choose from a nice selection of hor d’oeuvres presented and offered in a buffet style. It’s really lovely and lively, and The News Cafe was a fun and spirited choice. The aperitivo would become my choice for several nights for dinner and conversation.
So at this point I lost track of how many hours I had been up. Knowing I had a busy Sunday planned, I headed back to my hotel, unpacked–remember, OCD–showered, and sunk into a very comfortable bed. I drifted off dreaming of waking up as a Florentine, and I couldn’t wait. Zzzzzzzzz.