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“Beautiful villa, minor issues”

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Torre Di Bellosguardo
Ranked #19 of 411 Hotels in Florence
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 28 May 2013

Catching up with my reviews so feel I have to start by saying we stayed at this fab B&B for three nights in June 2012 whilst on a month tour of northern Italy.

I've split my review into good and not so good points so here goes:-

Good Points:-
This very old Florentine villa has been turned into a very stylish B&B by the owners. The meet & greet was immediate & very friendly. Assistance was offered with our cases. We were shown to our very large bedroom on the ground floor (not sure if there’s a lift so you may wish to check) and the bathroom is adequate and of the period. Toiletries were of a good standard.
The gardens are absolutely fabulous and the views of Florence magical. After two full on sight-seeing days it was lovely to return to the haven of Bellosguardo and admire the stunning views of Florence. The words “far from the madding crowd” came to mind as we sat by the large, clean pool drinking in the view as well as a much appreciated gin & tonic. Bellosguardo is at the top of a hill and at least a 30 minute down hill walk into the centre of Florence. We are both able bodied so don’t mind walking but we always returned by taxi!
We wanted to visit the Uffizi Museum and reception, very kindly, organised two tickets for us. This, as it turned out, was a blessing in disguise as the queues on the day were horrendous.

Not so good points:-
As I previously mentioned, our room is on the ground floor so didn’t have a view of Florence – ask for a room with view if this is important to you.
Our room, although large, had the smallest of beds (see photo) which was a problem for us as we are used to a larger bed. There was no air-con in our room but this didn't cause us a problem as it was always nice & cool - probably due to the thickness of the walls.
Breakfast is continental style and everything served fresh. However, we didn't like the coffee table height of the tables where you had to sit to eat breakfast – the stooped position is not good for one’s digestion or indeed posture.
Also, the pool is super but there are no sun beds.
The main complaint is the TWO HUGE speed bumps on the drive. Even taxis had problems driving over them without scrapping their exhausts etc., so if you have a low slung sports car (as we had) then AVOID. Access to the underground car park was also a non starter as the pitch of the ramp meant the car would ground when attempting entry! Luckily the villa is at the end of a very narrow lane and passing traffic is non existent therefore my husband felt comfortable leaving the car overnight on the drive which begs the question - why the huge speed bumps??

Conclusion: We choose this B&B because of its position and the fact that we could leave our car there for three days without incurring expensive parking fees. (Warning: It is nigh on impossible to take your car into Florence without incurring a massive fine.) I don’t think we’ll return though as we accomplished what we set out to do which was to see Florence. I would however recommend the B&B to anyone wishing a peaceful place to rest one’s head and get away from the hustle & bustle of the city. It is a beautiful building in a fantastic setting. Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed our stay.

Room Tip: Ask for room with a view of Florence
  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank Jilbo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Belflorence, Owner at Torre Di Bellosguardo, responded to this reviewResponded 4 June 2013

Dear Guest,
Thank you very much for taking the time to write about us, not only the good but also the "not so good" points. Criticisms, even more than compliments, are extremely useful to help us improve.
A few comments, however:
-We are a 4 star-hotel, not a Bed & Breakfast.
-We do have a lift up to the second floor.
-All our rooms are different, one from each other. Some have large bathrooms, others smaller ones. Some have large beds, others smaller ones. The one in your bedroom, together with the cupboard, dates back to the 16th. century. One could enlarge it, but it would ruin it and in my opinion would be a crime. But I understand your comment.
-The entire hotel now has air conditioning.
- You are right about the height of the breakfast tables.
-There are sun beds at the pool. I cannot understand why none were offered to you. A thousand apologies.
-Originally we installed low speed bumps in the driveway, but the taxi drivers ignored them and entered at murderous and dangerous speeds.That is why we increased their height and now cars enter at a slow speed not putting walking guests' lives in danger.
With many grateful thanks.

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Reviewed 27 May 2013

If you are looking for a unique and beautiful place to stay in Florence we would highly recommend this hotel. I believe a correct translation is 'Tower with a beautiful view' -- this place was not originally built as a hotel and we found the ambience simply intriguing -- you are staying in a historical place that the locals highly revere! The hotel provides food for your convenience -- so just eat in Florence -- We ate all of our meals in Florence -- even breakfast was a quick macchiato and a croissant near the Uffizi. The owner/concierge will quickly tell you where to 'eat local' and buy gelato for a fraction of the price of restaurants targeted at tourists. We ate at both restaurants that the owner recommended and they were simply outstanding and not expensive. We would spend each day in Florence and loved the serene beauty and quiet location of this hotel in the morning and at night. Yes, you will pay additional euros to take taxis to and from this hotel, but, we felt that the location made up for this extra cost. So, enjoy your vacation in Florence and take a walk through their gardens in the morning and at night and embrace the sheer natural beauty of this location.

Room Tip: We stayed in the corner room with a breathtaking view of the city.
  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled with family
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Thank Peggy C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Belflorence, Owner at Torre Di Bellosguardo, responded to this reviewResponded 30 May 2013

Dear Guest,

It was an honour and a true pleasure having you here at Bellosguardo and we are deeply grateful for your kind, enthusiastic words of praise. We hope you return one day so we can pamper you once more and give you all the right tips. Thank you!

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Reviewed 22 May 2013

Torre di Bellosguardo is a rare place to rest your head that allows you to drift back in time, soak in some history and relax. This is not a typical hotel, it is an experience. Many of the reviews I have read here make sense to me and you should read them to see if they relate to you. My take was that I got to experience a different part of town, to enjoy a spectacular property with magnificent gardens and see vistas like no other I have ever had on a vacation. You are choosing to be just outside the city which means a taxi home for certain as the hill is quite steep, and possibly a cab into Florence if you are not up for the 25 minute walk down the hill and over to the Arno Bridges. In fact this hotel is not for someone who has trouble walking or going up/down stairs as you cannot enjoy the property or the villa without exploring around by foot.

We had room 17 in the tower which is 110 steps from the ground floor up to our room. Yes, there is an elevator but I had a wonderful time walking upstairs. I saw rooms 6 and 7 which are two bedroom suites, also very nice with a living room/library, master bathroom and bedroom.
Our bedroom was lovely, with a huge living room and window seats facing all four directions and then a very cool loft bedroom with sky light and large king size bed, great sheets. Our five days were so comfortable and happy because of our surroundings. They serve great coffee, average tea, the buffet breakfast could be far improved but we enjoyed going into town each morning for our expresso and croissant at a local shop. The staff is warm and friendly, ready to help you plan your day or find a service you might want. We took a fabulous day trip with a driver out to Sienna (Marco was our wonderful English speaking driver) and the Chianti region which was set up by the staff.

I look forward to my return trip as that view and place is now in my heart. Special hello and thanks to Cosimo and the gracious owner A. Franchetti.

Room Tip: Room 17 is the tower room with four windows in all four directions. You are in the highest point ab...
  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank CarterDC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Belflorence, Owner at Torre Di Bellosguardo, responded to this reviewResponded 25 May 2013

Dear Guest,

I am infinitely grateful to you for taking the time to write such an exhaustive and above all so appreciative a review. Nothing gives us more satisfaction than knowing that you felt comfortable and at home here. You certainly understood all that Bellosguardo is. I cannot wait for the day when you return and we can spoil you again. Thank you so much.

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Reviewed 21 May 2013

There are pros and cons to this property and I will definitely try to give an as objective review as possible, for the sake of other travelers as well as the hotel itself, as a bit of constructive criticism should be helpful.

First off, the good: the property is beautiful, large rooms (probably double the space you would get in Florence for the same price). The feeling you're in a castle, with one of the most amazing views. The friendly service, the beautiful breakfast terrace, the gardens and pool (wish we had the time to enjoy those more), the cute parrot in the Orangerie (adorable!). The feeling that you're away from everything when you come back in the evening and everything is really quiet. No problem at all with noise coming from the outside as you might experience in the city center.
I also must say that the hotel is spotless. While the furniture and walls may seem a bit dated, as they have been carefully preserved, everything is perfectly clean, the sheets and towels are very good quality and have been changed every day during our stay.
I was thrilled underground secure parking was available, as we could leave our car securely there throughout our stay without extra charges and knowing it was safe.

The cooking classes, although expensive, are delightful. There are many courses to be cooked but the whole experience is very friendly and lighthearted that you don't even know when the 4 hours have passed. Lovely if you want to learn how to make fresh pasta or a proper risotto and Ana is such a great person to be around, clearly passionate about her food, that we definitely enjoyed it all tremendously.

Now, the bad (though as said before, this property is unique and wonderful; my criticism is to be taken as constructive as I do think a few tweaks would actually make it truly perfect): first, its selling point is also its biggest disadvantage - the location. While the hotel website claims it's only a 10 minute walk to the city center, I can tell you it's only a 10 minute walk for someone fit and only when downhill. The footpath is not really maintained and it's narrow and steep. Walking back is a pain to be honest and we opted for a taxi. The day we didn't find one though, we arrived quite breathless at the top and we are not old, nor out of shape. Just a word of warning: should you use taxis back and forth, it will knock you back around 10 euros each time and while it seems insignificant, it does add up. That's not to say the wonderful view and gardens are not worth it but is a word of warning to someone who doesn't enjoy walking as much as we do.
The second negative I will point out is the food: of course, when in Italy, you are spoiled for choice. Lovely gelato at every corner, espresso and bomboloni for 5 euro, amazing fresh pasta and pizza for a tenner. Taking this into consideration, the 20 euro buffet (per person) is not worth it, though it is OK quality and quite varied. You can have espresso, freshly squeezed orange juice and a cornetto with crema in the Piazza di Duomo for 8 euros. Unfortunately neither the "light lunches" or the dinner are worth the money either. I did not like that there were no prices anywhere and we ended up with a hefty bill for our first dinner - what turned out to be 2 plates of reheated pasta (in the microwave!), one main, one salad and one dessert, as well as 2 glasses of the local wine - 75 euros. We had no idea how much all of it cost until check out. You can definitely do better elsewhere, even at the Trattoria where it all comes from, as it will cost at least 30% less and will be fresh (the food is good nonetheless but the reheating takes away a lot of its texture and flavour).
Please be aware there are no prices for any extra service or product in the hotel: the olive oil and wine both cost 20 euros a bottle which is not particularly cheap and again, this is not mentioned anywhere.
No internet in the room is also something I did not particularly enjoy, though it is nice to disconnect once in a while. However, I think ensuring wireless connection everywhere in the hotel would be a great great add on and lots of guests would appreciate it.
My last tiny negative, I promise: as I had told the owner by email before our stay, we were celebrating both my husband's 30th anniversary, as well as us getting married. While I did not expect any freebies, I was hoping at least to have the option to upgrade to a bigger room or have a bottle of champagne and fruit in the room, for example, for extra cost. Nothing of the sort was proposed so we ended up celebrating elsewhere in Florence. No biggie, obviously, but it would've been nice to have been asked.

All in all? A great stay. Even with a few faults, it did make our stay in Florence really memorable and I must praise the personnel for always being polite and helpful. The hotel has a fascinating history and it is quite unique so I would definitely recommend it.

Room Tip: We had room 9 - amazing view!
  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Bianca1987
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Belflorence, Owner at Torre Di Bellosguardo, responded to this reviewResponded 22 May 2013

Dear Guest,

Thank you very very much for taking the time to write such a long and fair review.
We are delighted that you enjoyed your stay and appreciated the good points of our hotel.
Regarding the criticisms we have taken note and will make every effort to improve. We are investigating the possibility of installing WiFi in all the rooms, not an easy or cheap matter considering the thickness of the renaissance walls, but we think it will be done. We think the price for the extensive buffet breakfast is fair. It should not be compared to a cafe downtown, but rather to other hotels. For instance we visited a 5 star one, noted that their breakfast was practically the same as ours and cost Euro 35 per person. We serve dinners here (clients are told that we do not cook the food) only to help clients who are too tired in the evenings to return to the city. It is not a profit-making operation, just an extra service.
The important thing, I think, is to understand that this is a labour of love only to save what is a unique property in Florence. Such a big building with such horrendous maintenance costs can never bring profit.Each year we carry out major improvements, yet never changing the atmosphere which we feel is the key to our success. We have maintained the same prices for over ten years, trying to provide free services such as the underground garage etc. I say all this not as an excuse (we are in the hotel business and must provide professional service) but only to make you understand our situation. Finally I understand your walking remarks. We do write to all clients that it is a 10/15 minute walk downhill.....
I am delighted you enjoyed my cooking class. So did I.

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Reviewed 17 May 2013

If you are going to Florence to be in Florence, don't stay here. The view was great, but this is not a hotel. Very creepy. Dark, deserted, and service-less. The rooms are outdated, the locks on the doors are outdated and not secure, no wifi in the rooms, bed was lumpy and uncomfortable, and and no restaurant in the building. We had a 5-day cancellation clause so we could not get out of the room. We paid for 2 nights and checked out after one. Scam. Do not stay here. This is not a 4-star hotel. We recommend something in Florence so you can fully enjoy the city.

  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled as a couple
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7  Thank beandy342
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Belflorence, Owner at Torre Di Bellosguardo, responded to this reviewResponded 19 May 2013

This is a very suspicious review. In the past months we have had no guests checking out early because they were unsatisfied. If this is not a hotel I would like to know what it is. One has only to read all the other reviews to form a true opinion of what we are.

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Reviewed 17 May 2013

This hotel is an experience not to be missed. My husband and I have stayed at a lot of nice hotels, but this one takes the cake. Do you know the scene in A Room With a View where Lucy (or was it Charlotte?) opens the window and looks out over the Arno? Well that’s nothing compared to the view from our room. The whole city of Florence was at our feet with the beautiful gardens of the hotel in the foreground. The hotel grounds are magnificent and we spent hours strolling around them. I felt like a guest at a private, tasteful 16th century villa rather than a patron of a hotel. The staff did everything possible to be helpful, pleasant and accommodating. A ten minute walk along a path to the city takes you through more gardens, fields with wildflowers (yes, red poppies), olive groves, vineyards and even a donkey. I will never forget it and I hope someday we are able to return.

  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Stephanie S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Belflorence, Owner at Torre Di Bellosguardo, responded to this reviewResponded 18 May 2013

Dear Guestr
A million heartfelt thanks for such nice words of appreciation. We are so happy you enjoyed your stay here and so look forward to your return here.

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Reviewed 17 May 2013

what to say more than our staying here has been perfect? the property is unique: starting with the villa, with its 16 different rooms and suites, each perfectly furnished; the common spaces which preserve the real atmosphere of a 15 century's house; the garden so flowered and botanically rich, and - last but not least - the service, friendly and professional at the same time
Location is perfect , too: out of the crowdy town, one can benefit from the breathtaking view of Florence, both from the rooms, or the terrace, or the garden, or the swimming pool
Nothing more to say than go and try yourself. it's really worth!

Room Tip: all rooms are good because each has a particular atmosphere and personality
  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank lara v
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Belflorence, Owner at Torre Di Bellosguardo, responded to this reviewResponded 17 May 2013

Dear guest,
I cannot find the words to thank you. There is nothing more satisfying for us than a client who enjoys their stay here, who drinks in the beauty and silence of this place and who unwinds (difficult to do downtown). We hope to be able to welcome you back one day with open arms.

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Additional Information about Torre Di Bellosguardo

Address: Via Roti Michelozzi 2, 50124, Florence, Italy
Phone Number:
Region: Italy > Tuscany > Province of Florence > Florence
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#6 Romantic Hotel in Florence
#9 Family Hotel in Florence
#16 Luxury Hotel in Florence
#95 Business Hotel in Florence
Price Range: £235 - £320 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Torre Di Bellosguardo 4*
Number of rooms: 16
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
13th.century historical tower with extraordinary view of Florence, a stone's throw from the city, yet a country haven of peace and silence. Each room, very large, has its own character with antique furniture. Modern bathrooms and facilities. Vast garden with outdoor swimming pool. Extremely friendly staff. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Torre Di Bellosguardo Hotel Florence
Torre Di Bellosguardo Florence

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