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“Best Memory of Lyon”
Review of Villa Florentine

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Villa Florentine
Ranked #14 of 196 Hotels in Lyon
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 21 June 2012

Simply put, one of my most treasured moments in Lyon thus far.

We arrived at Villa Florentine around 3PM via taxi. Being first-time visitors to this gorgeous city, we were not entirely sure what to expect or how to spend the rest of our day. Sitting high in the hills looking down onto the rest of Lyon, the unassuming doorway of Villa Florentine opens to reveal an oasis of quiet luxury. Upon arrival, we were greeted at the door by the friendly man in charge of concierge. He was kind enough to help us with our luggage, and warmly ushered us towards the reception desk. The woman behind the reception desk was very professional, but also very kind. After checking us in, she offered us each a refreshing cocktail and a seat on the lobby terrace where we could appreciate the breathtaking view of the city.

As we sat on the terrace sipping on our drinks and slipping deeper into relaxed state, the assistant manager (I forgot her name, but she was lovely) came over to give us a brief introduction of the hotel and the building's fascinating history as an old convent. The gentleman in charge of concierge also came out to welcome us and to help us answer any questions we had.

From this point on, it just gets better and better.

He brought us a map of Lyon and took the time to painstakingly explain the layout of the city, marking where the hotel was on the map, and marking a potential route of exploration through the city center and back to the hotel. We were extremely appreciative of the fact that he mentioned the cable car that takes you from the St. Jean stop to the top of the hill near the Basilica. From there, you can walk downhill through the winding tree-lined paths hidden within the gardens below the Basilica. At the bottom of that hill is the street the hotel is on. You just take a left, walk two mini blocks and you are back at Villa Florentine. Brilliant.

The suite we were given had the most tremendous views. I really don't need to say much here other than it was immaculately clean and everything was provided for, including a pair of dishes and cutlery for those midnight noshes. I wouldn't be surprised if someone stated that the decor was a tad dated, but to me it suited the historical feeling of the establishment. Everything was incredibly comfortable, and the best part was the automated blackout curtains.

We left the room to start our foray into Lyon, and were met by the hotel's manager, Jerome. Jerome was the shining star of our visit. Everything and everyone else came close, but Jerome was the highlight of our stay. He greeted us warmly, introduced himself, and told us to contact him whenever we needed anything. When we asked for his advice on where to buy gourmet foods and to dine that night, he recommended which patisserie to buy delicious cakes from and also suggested a local dining establishment that was suited to our specifications. When we finally made it to dinner around 10 PM, we sat down only to have Jerome suddenly pop over our shoulder to say hello and to chat! It turns out he was grabbing a bite there as well after his workday. Let me just say, his dinner recommendation was highly successful. Best meal ever! The quenelle nantua I had was heavenly. We ate so much of everything that we could barely make it back up the 200+ steps to the hotel (Yes, we kept count so that we wouldn't notice our full bellies straining over our belts). It didn't take that long, about 15 mins to get back up. I love that the neighborhood on the mountainside is dotted with these steep staircases. So many hidden gems!

After dinner, we had a midnight dip in the pool and the hot tub. Views of the glittering city and rivers below while soaking in the hot tub cannot be beat. A major plus for me-- I love being able to go to the pool whenever I want to.

Overall, the entire stay was a huge success. Jerome and his staff are wonderful and very gregarious when engaged. We were pretty demanding customers... not the kind that like to complain and whine over the small stuff, but we were constantly in and out of the room asking them for recommendations and help (Can we call a taxi? Can we print something out at the front desk? Can we have a bottle of wine chilled for us? Does this restaurant serve duck?). They never missed a step.

Also, it was really fortuitous that there were no families with children there during our stay. A kid once ruined the gourmet breakfast spread at the Park Hyatt in Tokyo by running around touching all of the food with his hands. WHEW!

If you go to Lyon and have a chance to stay at the Villa Florentine, you simply must!

  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled with friends
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2  Thank dcgal8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 16 June 2012

After a distressing and disappointing stay at the Villa Florentine last year, we complained at the hotel and sent the following message to the Relais Chateaux. Our travel agent sent a similar letter to the hotel. We have never received a reply, let alone a much needed apology.

"We encountered numerous problems during our recent stay at the Villa Florentine. We are only sending this to you rather than travel websites in the hope that you can remedy such issues. Other than the excellent and gracious service of a young woman named Camille in Reception, we were disappointed in the hotel staff and service.

1. No one met us at the door to help us in with some very heavy luggage. Later the manager apologized for this oversight. We never saw him again during our stay. It was a holiday weekend and he seemed to have disappeared.

2. We were given a glass of champagne, sat out on the Reception area balcony, and told someone would be out very soon to explain the hotel, take us to the room, arrange for restaurants, tours, etc. We waited more than 30 minutes, were shown to our suite, but given no additional information about the hotel and its services. We had trouble getting simple information. For example, when we asked one of the concierges to put an X where the hotel was on a map of Lyon, he put it in the wrong place. Are you sure, I asked. Oh yes, he said. Then he looked more closely and marked the spot I was pointing to on the map. We also didn’t realize was that it took a walk down 200+ stairs just to get to the Old City of Lyon. Going down wasn’t bad. Climbing up was tough. But, our leg muscles survived and are stronger for it! When we asked how to get down the hill, we were told “we can arrange for a taxi.” A bit like “let them eat cake.”

3. Several walls in our room were scuffed and a chunk of paint had peeled off the door to the air conditioning closet. A knob came off when we turned the water on the tub. The stopper knob on the bidet came off and out of its fixture. The shower door would not fully close leaving a two-inch plus gap and a wet floor. When we ordered coffee for the room, we were told them to call them as soon as were done. We did. And six hours later it was still in the room.

4. When we learned that we could not have dinner at the hotel on the 12th (my birthday), it would have been helpful and professional if the staff had suggested an alternative night for our celebration diner at that point in time. We turned to the man at the concierge desk (no one was there when we checked in) and asked him to recommend a good restaurant for that evening. No problem, he said. He recommended L’Alexandrin which was good, certainly not great, and very expensive. We could have done better on our own. He also didn’t tell us that it was quite a distance away. Our taxi bill (to and from the restaurant) was about $60 U.S. dollars. First of all, he should have told us that the restaurant was as far away. Second, it’s hard to believe that in a city like Lyon, there wasn’t a good restaurant closer to the hotel.

5. The hotel restaurant was closed for dinner on Sunday and Monday, but no one explained if or where we could get food in the hotel on those days. Apparently we could order breakfast in the room but there was no sample menu for ordering. When we asked, they told us, “Oh, just order what you want or eat in the dining room."

6. Then there’s the saga of air conditioning. When we came into the room, it was hot and stuffy so we turned on the air conditioner and went out for dinner. When we came back, the room was still hot and stuffy. Fortunately, we could open the windows to get some air. The next morning, we informed the desk. Someone came, fiddled with the thermostat and told us it would come on in a few minutes. It did not come on. We called the desk and they informed us that is WAS working. We told them again that it was not working. Finally Allan went to the desk and complained. He was told, again, that is was working. Finally after more complaints, the fans came on and the room began to cool. We went to the desk and found out that they were able to get it working. In the end, it took more than 24 hours to get the system to work. Not five star service.

Please understand that we fully appreciate how beautiful the hotel is. Our room was huge and comfortable (when things weren’t broken and the AC was on). The view was magnificent from the Reception area. We sing the praise of Camille who gave us excellent service when she was on the duty. The rest of the staff seemed impervious, imperious, or clueless—something we’d NOT encountered anywhere else in our three-week stay in France. This was not a five-star experience at all."

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank isajk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 May 2012

Enough cannot be said about the truly exceptional service at this hotel. After we enjoyed a welcome cocktail on the terrace, the manager personally welcomed us and shared the history of the hotel building, which was once a convent. Our every need was accomodated. The hotel itself is beautiful, and the views spectacular. There are several ways up to the hotel by foot, though I could see that all could be difficult for some. For those that want to work off some of the delicious cuisine that Lyon has to offer, the stairs leading directly from the old town to the hotel provide a good workout. The hotel is also nicely situated at a midpoint leading up to the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière, which was well worth the climb. Plenty of interesting things to see and do close to the hotel, and many more a short stroll away. Our room, one of the less-expensive ones, had a fabulous view and plenty of space. It even had remote controlled curtains, so in the morning we could enjoy the gorgeous Lyon skyline without getting out of bed.

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank bohorolo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 May 2012

My husband and I decided to spend the weekend (Easter weekend, or "paque", as it turned out) in Lyon -- we had just finished a week in Paris with our goddaughter and her mom, and I had to be in London the following week for work. We chose the Villa Florentine based on TripAdvisor and other online reviews. We took the TGV to the Pré-Dieu train station, jumped in a taxi and after a 20-minute climb up towards the basilica, were delivered into the gracious, capable hands of the hotel's staff. Our room was beautiful -- we had rented a suite, which turned out to be a duplex -- and we were really grateful for the chance to decompress from squiring a 13-year-old around Paris for a week. Let's see... what makes the Villa Florentine special... the location, of course -- it's perched like an aerie waaaaaay up above the old part of Lyon. The building itself -- the wing with the suites was built into a 15th-century (I think -- I could be a century off) abbey. The staff, of course -- they go beyond efficient to the kind of elegant, gracious service that puts you at ease and makes you feel special at the same time. The restaurant is also fabulous (separate review)... and the city of Lyon itself -- it has a lot in common with San Francisco -- laid-back but pretty cosmopolitan, great food (duh) great local wine (duh again). We plan to come back.

Oh -- the litmus test that separates a truly great hotel from even a very, very good one -- room-service breakfast. No menu, we just picked up the phone, ordered what we could think of that sounded good, and it was delivered in 15 minutes, absolutely perfect.

Room Tip: If I recall correctly, we were in room 24, which is a duplex suite -- the room doesn't look dire...
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  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank SF_EXEC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 May 2012

Though slightly inconvenient because of it site on top of a hill overlooking Lyon it more than makes up for it with stunning views and exceptional service. The walk down to the old town, which is very charming, is by steps, several choices, and is easy but going up is for the fit. It is not hard to find a taxi for the short ride up.

Room Tip: This is a member of Relais and Chateaux, so it is as lovely as you would expect. Of course ask for...
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  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank luckylynn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 May 2012

We stayed there one night after we stayed at Abbaye de la Bussiere in Burgandy, both Relais and Chateaux properties. Since we did not have a good experience at Abbaye it was a very good contrast between the two properties. The minute we arrived there we were pleasantly surprised by the staff's friendliness and eagerness to help. Then General Manager came by and introduced himself and asked if there was anything he could do to help our stay a pleasant one. A kind of pampering and a nice touch you want to have at a five star Relais and Chateaux property. The hotel is locaetd in the old section of Lyon overlooking the City and has a beautiful property. The only negative is you will need to cross the bridge to get to most of attractions, shopping and restaurants but it was not such a long walk from the hotel. One caution is not to take the cable car to come back to the hotel as you can easily get lost to get down to the hotel from the cable car stop. Mondays all the good restaurants including the highly acclaimed one from the hotel are closed so we could not have a decent dinner the day we arrived but the next day we had visited all the Michelin star rated restaurants for lunch and dinner at the world capital of the gastronomy.

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank Ys124
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 May 2012

I stayed at this lovely hotel in the older part of Lyon while on a business trip. The accomodations were made by our local hosts who is quite familiar with the gastronomy of the area. We were personally greeted by Jerome Montanteme (Directeur of the hotel) who helped us sign in. During our stay, Anne Christensen was quite helpfull and attentive to our needs. In addition the hotel and reaturant staff were polite and professional. The food and wine selection of the restaurant was fantastic.
I look forward to returning here with my wife for our next holiday!

Room Tip: I stayed in room #1 which is a large suite with a terrace overlooking the valley!
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  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled on business
    • Service
Thank DDutch01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Villa Florentine

Address: 25 Montee Saint Barthelemy, 69005, Lyon, France
Region: France > Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes > Rhone > Lyon
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Family Hotel in Lyon
#7 Business Hotel in Lyon
#8 Romantic Hotel in Lyon
#10 Luxury Hotel in Lyon
Price Range: £174 - £605 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Villa Florentine 5*
Number of rooms: 28
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Villa Florentine Hotel Lyon
Florentine Hotel Lyon

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