Strolling the streets of Florence is like wandering through an open-air museum. Between the elegant villas, historic churches, and atmospheric piazzas, the city offers Renaissance grandeur at every turn. And while you’ll want to spend as many hours as possible exploring these incredible sights, the top hotels are just as enchanting, offering a different perspective on this Renaissance city.
Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Hotels were rated on their facilities, location, service, food, and overall value. Properties were classified as city or resort based on their locations and amenities.
Related: The 2018 World's Best Awards
Florence is one of those places where the hackneyed phrase — location, location, location — actually applies. Since the town is easily explored on foot, the best hotels serve as great jumping-off points. For example, Hotel Brunelleschi, which claimed No. 5 on this year’s list, is set in a church that faces the iconic Duomo. And if you splurge on the Pagliazza Tower Suite, which occupies a circular Byzantine tower, you’ll have dead-on views of Brunelleschi’s masterpiece.
For those who want to escape the tourist hordes while still staying close to the action, nothing compares to the Four Seasons Hotel Firenze, voted No. 4 by T+L readers. The sumptuous property — a 15th-century former palace — is situated on one of the largest privately owned gardens in Florence, 15 minutes’ walk from the Duomo. Guests can wander the temple-studded gardens, dine at the Michelin-starred Il Palagio restaurant, or lounge around the large outdoor swimming pool.
No. 3 Belmond Villa San Michele also offers a respite from the city’s hustle and bustle. The former monastery is located in the sleepy village of Fiesole, a 20-minute drive from Florence’s main attractions, where it overlooks terraced gardens and the Arno Valley. Guests can tuck in to traditional Italian fare at the restaurant La Loggia or refine their culinary skills through hands-on demonstrations at the cooking school.
This year, two properties — Villa Cora and Hotel Lungarno — tied for first place. Read on for more details about these winning properties.