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Hotel L'Orologio, Florence 

24 Piazza Santa Maria Novella
Italy 50123
Tel: 39 055 277380
view web site ›'s insider take:

Don't even think of getting a taxi from the station: Hotel L'Orologio is a two-minute walk away, and yet such is the compact geography of central Florence that you're in one of the city's most charming, historic, and tranquil piazzas. Opened in 2009, L'Orologio is a well-priced property with the air of a gentlemen's club. The owner is a watch collector, and while the ubiquitous prints of high-end wristwatches (orologio means clock or watch) may feel a little gimmicky, the warm autumnal colours, deep leather sofas, polished mahogany paneling, and rich textiles in the public spaces and bedrooms lend the place an exclusive, stylish feel. There is a glorious fireplace in the main sitting room, where a fire burns throughout the colder months, and the bar, with its big wooden counter, is a good place for a light lunch. The rooftop breakfast room has fantastic views, but it's also rather small for this 54-bedroom hotel, and the hungry queues that form at peak times are not always handled with grace by the hassled staff. Splashing out on a room with a view will bring you face-to-face with the magnificent facade of Santa Maria Novella, or allow glimpses over the Florentine rooftops to Brunelleschi's Duomo.—Lee Marshall

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