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Gallery Hotel Art, Florence 

5 Vicolo dell'Oro
Italy 50123
Tel: 39 055 27263
view web site ›'s insider take:

When the Ferragamo family opened this confidently stylish hotel in 1999, it caused quite a stir. Not only was it Florence's first "design hotel," but it had an enviable location, just a few steps from the Ponte Vecchio. While it is no longer unique (its hip competitors now include an adjacent Ferragamo property, the Continentale), the Gallery continues to hold its own. Florentine interiors wunderkind Michele Bonan took care of the decor, which combines elements of East and West, and while the style is minimalist, it avoids being cold. Colors are muted, but dark African wood and soft lighting add warmth. Rotating art and photography exhibitions liven up the inviting public rooms; we especially like the reading room with its sofas and cashmere knee rugs. The 74 bedrooms are quite sober and masculine. The Fusion Bar is a fixture on the city's aperitivo circuit; foodwise, it serves—as its name suggests—fusion dishes such as foie gras nigiri sushi topped with chutney, plus brunch on weekends. The hotel is popular with fashion and film types, but don't worry: Regular tourists are tolerated too. Online rates offer significant discounts if you hit on the right dates.

Appeared in the Condé Nast Traveler Gold List, a directory of the world's best hotels and resorts, in 2009

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