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Casa Howard, Florence

Editor's Pick
Arcetri, Italy, Europe: The bathroom in Casa Howard's Fireplace Room
18 Via della Scala
Italy 50123
Tel: 39 06 6992 4555's insider take:

Casa Howard more or less invented the luxury Italian guesthouse in its two original Roman locations. This discreet home-away-from-home exports that winning formula to Florence, offering high standards of comfort and service at great rates. The look is colorful and vaguely eccentric; furniture is an eclectic mix of antiques and custom-made pieces combined with fine fabrics and strong tints. No two of its 13 bedrooms are alike: The spacious and dramatic Drawing Room has black walls and white cornices, while the Hidden Room is a sexy little den with deep red walls hung with erotic Japanese prints (plus a sunken bath). The Fireplace Room has two working fireplaces, an oversize black-velvet sofa, and honey-colored silk curtains. There is no communal space to speak of (unless you count the Turkish bath), so breakfast is served on a tray in one's room. The location is central, just steps from the Santa Maria Novella church.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.