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Relais Santa Croce, Florence 

87 Via Ghibellina
Italy 50122
Tel: 39 055 234 2230
view web site ›'s insider take:

Inaugurated in spring 2005, this 24-room hotel offers luxurious accommodation and contemporary style in the shell of a grand, 18th-century palazzo close to the Duomo. The first-floor public rooms are particularly impressive, especially the vast Music Room, which has lofty frescoed ceilings, elegantly decorated stucco panels, and an original wood floor. The two mammoth Royal Suites on the first-floor piano nobile are decorated in sober classical style, but the double rooms and regular suites on the upper floors are modern in design, with clean, sober lines lightened by quirky design details, such as walls decorated with boiserie panels. There is a decent restaurant in the hotel that's justly proud of its "Fiorentina" steak, but you may prefer to eat at Enoteca Pinchiorri, one of Italy's most celebrated restaurants, which is housed on the ground floor of the same building.

From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:
This eighteenth-century residence in Florence's trendy Santa Croce neighborhood has been deftly converted into an upscale 24-room hotel with a contemporary flair. The palatial music room, with its delicate frescoes and stuccoes, has minimalist black leather armchairs and couches. Guest rooms, a blend of comfort and high-tech conveniences, are similarly furnished and are outfitted with dressing areas and classic writing desks. Staff are attentive but informal, seducing guests with hospitable gestures such as a welcome drink, afternoon tea, and fine cigars in the smoking room. —2006 Hot List

When to go: Avoid August (it's hot and full of tourists) and January (cold and damp).

Which room to book: No. 308, for its terrace and view of the Basilica of Santa Croce (doubles, $552–$589).

Amenities: 24-hour Room Service, Bar/lounge

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