Portrait Firenze opened earlier last year to great fanfare. Overlooking the Ponte Vecchio and swirling waters of the Arno, this fabulously spoiling hotel could not be in a prettier spot. Turn right and stroll along the river to the Via Tornabuoni and its flagship stores or nip over the bridge and in minutes you’re immersed in the Oltarnos world of artisans, enotecas and marvelously original boutiques.
Celebrated interior designer Michele Bönan (who also waved his magic wand over nearby JK Place) has deftly brought together the history and style of Salvatore Ferragamo and his family. Their family photos line the walls complimenting the understated yet super-elegant furnishings. Against the honey-coloured backdrop of the city, the monochrome interiors of Portrait Firenze ooze 1950s glamour, vintage photographs of the Ferragamo family lining the walls. The young and very pretty staff hail from all over Europe and do their utmost to assist with every aspect of your stay.
Of the 37 rooms and suites, the two-bedroomed suite is our absolute favourite with bathrooms that are the same (generous) size as the bedrooms and a terrace that runs the length of the suite. As you would expect, the beds are incredibly comfortable and most rooms have majestic Carrara marble bathrooms (some still retain their bathrooms from the hotel’s former life). Mod cons that you can actually master in a matter of seconds make for a stress-free stay. The corner kitchens – a throwback from the hotel’s former existence as mini apartments – are well-stocked with soya milk and spoiling Tuscan treats.
With its floor-to-ceiling windows giving onto the River Arno, the hotel restaurant Caffe dell’Oro offers an all-day menu and does so brilliantly. The steak tartare direct from celebrated Tuscan butcher Dario Cecchini with an almost candied egg yolk is to die for. Here again great thought has been given to the design, with low tables and chairs modelled on Harry’s Bar in Venice to give the feeling of space. This is the perfect place for dinner after an aperitivo on the Hotel Continentale rooftop bar and before a digestivi at the Gallery Art, both of which are just across the tiny piazza that hosts eye-catching art installations year round.