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I quite simply adore Italy and two of my very favourite places to stay on my luxury travels there are wonderful cities of Florence and Rome. Both ooze romance, stunning historic architecture, a charming culture and, of course, this is Italy, so the most divine food and wine. Florence in Tuscany is packed with Renaissance art and architecture. The enchanting 13th-century Duomo cathedral is top of my must-see sights here, then wander the narrow-cobbled lanes and feast your eyes upon elegant palaces, marble basilicas and epic art museums. The other end of the scale in terms of sheer size, Rome is a sprawling, cosmopolitan delight with, surely, a list of top sights longer than any other city! The Colosseum, St. Peter’s Basilica, The Roman Forum, the Trevi Fountain, the Sistine Chapel, the Spanish Steps and the Pantheon to name but a few! Both these cities are inspirational and truly romantic so certainly deserve accommodation to match. Delightfully, the Lungarno Collection of hotels has a style, luxury and elegance to match, here are some of my very favourite hotels of theirs…

Hotel Lungarno, Florence

The magnificent Hotel Lungarno is centrally located along the Arno river in the Oltrarno quarter of Florence. Surrounded by Renaissance buildings it boasts stunning river views, particularly from the beautiful living room which is suspended over the river. The hotel recently celebrated its 50th birthday with a rather impressive renovation and has been sympathetically modernised with an attention to detail that you come to rely on with Lungarno Collection hotels. There are 65 chic guest rooms, opt for yours with a river view or upgrade to a suite to enjoy a separate living area and rooftop terrace – the very best views in the house surely. The hotel art collection now includes more than 450 works and several of the rooms are art themed too, most fitting for Florence. Gourmet cuisine is served at the 1 Star Michelin restaurant, Borgo San Jacopo, and there is also a refined lounge and a relaxed bar with a beautiful terrace.

Portrait Firenze, Florence

An exclusive, luxurious treat awaits at Portrait Firenze; a very personal hotel with a sumptuous, elegance that definitely errs on the modern and not the stuffy. There is a 1950s glamour about the place and the muted colour palate of greys, creams and whites ensures the ultimate in sophistication. The central location on the River Arno, next to the Ponte Vecchio, puts you in walking distance of Florence’s major sights. The 37 very spacious guest suites each feel like they have been designed to be the show-piece of the hotel. You really can’t go wrong but definitely request a river view or better still, a riverside terrace. You won’t bore of that riverside which is a good thing as it’s also home to the trendy signature restaurant Caffè dell’Oro; the very best spot for people watching!

Continentale Hotel, Florence

A vibrant, chic design hotel is the perfect choice for fashion-conscious Florence and the 4-star Hotel Continentale certainly more than delivers with style points. Florentine architect Michele Bönan has created a 50’s playground; with elegant white colours, stunning black and white art and light-hearted accessories – a clock used as a side table for one. The hotel overlooks the Arno river and the Ponte Vecchio, a historic, shop-lined bridge. The White Iris Beauty Spa offers a range of treatments to soothe legs tired from exploring Florence and to generally give you a wellness boost. The boutique hotel houses 43 stylish and contemporary rooms just be sure to upgrade to take advantage of the river views. The Panoramic Consorti Suite at the very top of the medieval Consorti tower is simply exquisite. The rooftop is also home to “La Terrazza”, a trendy bar which does a fine line in cocktails as well as being perfect for breakfast and lunch.

Gallery Hotel Art, Florence

Florence’s first design hotel, Gallery Hotel Art, was created to be more than just a hotel, to be a trendy meeting place and a socialite’s dream. Its minimalist interior, modern lines and light, airy feel are reminiscent of an art gallery. The hotel is located in a quiet courtyard near the Arno River and close to Palazzo Strozzi. There are 74 guest rooms and suites, each named after a landmark of the city with artwork beautifully displayed to continue that gallery vibe. The suites are generally on the higher floors and offer the best city views from their terraces. Dine at the Nikkei-Mediterranean fusion restaurant and bar, aptly named The Fusion Bar & Restaurant and as popular with those in the know in Florence as was the intention.

Portrait Roma, Rome

Housed in a beautiful Italian townhouse, Portrait Roma offers 5-star luxury, 5-star personal service (from the Lifestyle Team) and an exceptional location. The hotel lies on fashionable street, Via Condotti, within a short stroll to the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain. There are just 14 sophisticated and very spacious suites. Each is refined; with sumptuous bedrooms, the latest in tech and wonderful terraces. The suites include kitchenettes, sitting areas and, of course, magnificent views of Rome. The stunning Via Condotti suite is a dream in greys with flashes of pale pink and is designed to feel like a grand 1950s fashion studio. If you can stretch to the dazzling Penthouse Trinità dei Monti, you’ll also enjoy a fitness area and sauna, epic vistas from your exclusive terrace and a wonderful feeling of grandeur. Those views can also be enjoyed from the guest-only rooftop lounge, where lanterns and an open fire set the perfect mood for a post-Rome wind-down.

For more information visit official website: Lugarno Collection

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