Which is best, Four Seasons Firenze Vs. Villa San Michele, A Belmond Hotel?
Belmond and Four Seasons hotels are both reliably excellent hotel brands. There are exceptional properties in both portfolios. We recently stayed at Belmond Cipriani Venice with its fabulous pool on the edge of the lagoon and Grand Hotel Cap Ferrat a Four Seasons hotel which it takes’s style accents from its classic and historic French architecture. I consider both to be the best examples of Belmond and Four Seasons hotels, respectively. But which is best in Florence? Read on to find out…
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1. Four Seasons Florence Vs. Villa San Michele, A Belmond Hotel: Location
The most obvious differential between Four Seasons Florence Vs. Villa San Michele, A Belmond Hotel, is their respective locations. Four Seasons is conveniently located, a 20-minute stroll from the center of Florence and its river. Villa San Michele, A Belmond Hotel, is located around a 2-hour hike from the center of Florence.
This means that it is impossible to frequent the restaurants and bars in central Florence from Villa San Michele, A Belmond Hotel, without a plan and without using their of courtesy shuttle bus. This complimentary shuttle service takes 15 minutes to drive into the center of Florence, which is not long, but it means that you can’t leave and return on spec and instead need to plan and wait at bus stops.
For this reason alone, I personally prefer Four Seasons Florence. I like to be able to come and go from my hotel as I choose and want to have the option of stopping in a local cafe or bar, should I wish, without having to take a shuttle bus.
Four Seasons Firenze is deeply historical and is tucked away in the city’s biggest private garden, a tranquil haven of statues, fountains, and centuries-old trees. To immerse yourself in history, you must book a suite where frescoes line the walls amid original architectural features.
Carved into the Florence hilltop, Villa San Michele is aksi a work of art. The façade was designed by the School of Michelangelo and the surrounding woodlands are Leonardo Da Vinci first attempted to fly. The gardens are lush and the views are breathtaking.
Both Four Seasons Florence and Villa San Michele, A Belmond Hotel win on the style front. Both are incredible hotels in incredible settings.
While both resorts ooze historical provenance, it is the communal areas and certain suites at Four Seasons that really stand out in this respect. For example, each room of their Historical Three Bedroom Suite features original frescoes combining history and modern comfort. The Presidential 3-bedroom suite is also exceptional here, with original frescoes and an exterior balcony that offers a breathtaking view of the garden.
One of the least expensive Historial Suites is the Frescoed Executive Suite. In the living room, you’ll notice a depiction of the settlement of the Della Gherardesca family, the oldest family in all of Europe, in the city of Pisa in the 16th century.
The outdoor pools at both Four Seasons Florence and Villa San Michele, A Belmond Hotel are stunning although it is worth mentioning that both close in the winter. They usually close towards the end of October each year and there are no indoor pools at either hotel.
At Villa San Michele, A Belmond Hotel, the pool is situated on a grassy plateau above the gardens, reached by a winding path. It’s the perfect spot to daydream with a view. A pool snack bar serves tasty lunches and snacks to keep you refreshed throughout the day.
At Four Seasons Florence, the Hotel’s expansive private garden, with its charming statues, fountains and even a small Ionic temple, was planted in the 15th century and retains all of its ancient beauty. They’ve added a modern swimming pool for all-day relaxation and poolside snacks are offered by the Alfresco Pool and Tree Bar set by the tree shaded pool deck. On summer nights, the Four Seasons pool is lit by candlight
Both hotels have excellent indoor and out door bar areas. I love that in the summer, as the sun sets, you can sit in the gardens of the Four Seasons with live bands playing into the night. For this experience, I feel Four Seasons has the edge in this respect.
6. Romantic Excursions
The hot air balloon experience which you can take from the Four Seasons is truly romantic. Take off from the Hotel’s garden and float over the city in a private hot air balloon. Once you have landed in the Tuscan countryside, you will be greeted by a customized picnic to enjoy before returning to the hotel.
Four Seasons has a number of restaurants including the Michelin starred flagship, Michelin-starred restaurant, Il Palagio. Villa San Michele, A Belmond Hotel offers La Loggia, with views across Florence but no star, so Four Seasons wins here.
8. Family Facilities
Both brands are family-friendly, but Four Seasons has a particularly amazing kids program with gifts and special touches in the rooms. I would say Four Seasons is the best child-friendly hotel brand in the world.
In Florence, the pool and gardens are a big advantage for children so Four Seasons is best for kids.
8. Nickel And Diming
There is no nickel and diming for extras at Four Seasons hotels worldwide, and there are never any resort fees. For this reason we tend to favour the Four Seasons brand. However, in Florence we don’t believe there is a resort fee at either property.
Both of these hotels are magnificent hotels and you will love both. They are very hard to choose between. Four Seasons is best for history, restaurant and location, but Villa San Michele, A Belmond Hotel is the best for views. They both ave great gardens and pools.
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