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“Worst hotel experience of our lives.”

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Riva Lofts Florence
Ranked #143 of 659 Florence B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 7 October 2013

Our experience at Riva Loft was one of the worst hotel experiences. As this was our engagement trip, it was an extremely disappointing experience. It is terribly overpriced for the room quality they have given to you, and the service was nothing but disappointing.

We arrived at Riva Lofts at 1am on the first night because our flight was delayed, and were greeted by the following:

1. a dimly lit room (there is no main light above the bed, just two side lamps which makes it very difficult to see at night)
2. Two hard twin sized beds pushed together (when we were expecting a nice king sized bed for the price we paid)
3. Stains on the headboard (see the pictures)
4. Dusty floor
5. Stains on the cooking hob and dinner table
6. Inconsistent shower which spurts hot water on and off, with some streams of water being stronger than others
7. The hair dryer did not work
8. You had to press the flush really hard or it would not flush
9. Cracks on the walls

Because their reception closes at 8pm, we had no choice but to endure a night in this room. The pictures showed a nice private terrace, with open windows and lots of natural light - when we arrived, we felt like we had stepped into a 3-star motel with no light. If you are expecting a river view, you will also be sorely disappointed.

The next day, we each woke up with five huge mosquito bites (some on out faces) which topped off a terribly uncomfortable night in the hard twin beds. We spoke with the lady at the reception, explaining our situation and asking if we could cancel the rest of our stay, as the first night's experience was truly terrible. We have NEVER requested to cancel a stay in a hotel ever before. We were told by the receptionist that our stay would have to be paid in full. No solution was offered, and no offer was made to remedy our situation or move us to another room. Instead, we were told that the room we were given was an "upgrade" from the standard room that we had booked. The receptionist told us she would speak to her manager when she came in. At this point, it was already almost 1pm and we had wasted our entire morning trying to resolve this issue. So we left the hotel, to try to enjoy our day in Florence despite what we had been through, expecting that the hotel would have the afternoon to sort through the issues. Even though we had dinner reservations in the city, we made a special effort to come back to Riva Lofts at 6pm or so prior to the closing of their office at 8pm.

Upon arriving back at Riva Lofts around 6pm, we spoke to another front desk manager, Kallett, who told us that she had no solution for us for the night, as the staff had all gone home. We were shocked and appalled, as there seemed to have been no effort on the part of the hotel to try to make our stay better. She told us that she would only be able to move us to a new room the next day (which would be the last night of our stay). We knew that there were in fact alternative available rooms for us to move to, as we had found available rooms on tripadvisor. We expressed our disappointment, but she repeated that there was nothing she could do several times, following which we left for dinner on the promise that something would be done the next day.

After enduring a second night in the room, we went back to the front desk at 12pm the next day. We were greeted by Alice, who promptly told us that they did not have any other room to move us to, and said she would only be able to fix the defects in our room to try to make it better. We told her that this was extremely disappointing and that we had repeatedly listed out the issues with our room more than once. She then told us that the hotel would offer a refund of 20 euros per night for the room (we paid 200 euros per night). She then said that while she could not offer us an upgrade to a better room, she could offer us a DOWNGRADE to the original standard room that we had booked. As we felt that the standard room had a little more natural light, and was in slightly better condition, we opted to move to the standard room.

Upon our moving into the standard room, we checked with Alice on our 20euro refund per night, to which she rudely responded that she had gone through alot of trouble to move us to the standard room, and that we would not get the promised refund of 20euros per night. When we explained that moving on the third night did not change the fact that we had stayed in a room that we did not want for the past two nights, and that it was not a good experience for us, she responded with, and I quote "YOU DID NOT GO THROUGH ANY SUFFERING!! We have been running this hotel for 7 years!"

Appalled at her response, we knew that there was no point taking this discussion further. As we left, we told her that we would leave a tripadvisor review commiserate with our experience, to which she retorted with "mam, you are not being cooperative!"

From Alice's response, it seemed to us that the attempts at reaching a "resolution" were more an attempt to prevent us from sharing our terrible experience with others, and seemed not to stem from a genuine desire to improve our stay at Riva Lofts.

Location wise, Riva lofts is located in a terrible location, amidst buildings with loads of graffiti, you don't feel too safe there. We tried walking back from the city, and it took us a good hour to reach the hotel. The walk back at night is not well lit with street lamps. Our one experience taking a cab into the city cost us 21 euros, which is the same price of taking a cab from the airport to the city.

The only bright spark in our stay was the nice, simple breakfast spread every morning and the friendly breakfast staff that assisted.

We booked riva lofts because of the representations on their website, and i quote "unique hotel luxury lofts near centre". Neither representation is true. Riva Lofts is neither a luxury loft nor is it close to the centre of Florence. The nearest supermarket is quite a walk away, and there are no laundromats or eateries within walking distance.

We highly recommend booking a hotel right in the city centre of Florence. We stayed at Continentale hotel (part of the ferragamo group) when we returned for one more night in Florence - it was slightly more expensive, but so wonderful compared to Riva lofts.

  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank rach l
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Alice N, General Manager at Riva Lofts Florence, responded to this reviewResponded 24 October 2013

Dear Rach I,

Thank you for sharing your experience with others, it is pretty rare for us to have such aggressive and negative comments, but it gives us the chance to explain a few things.

First i would like to comment your accurate list of negative things:

1. a dimly lit room (there is no main light above the bed, just two side lamps which makes it very difficult to see at night):
there is a standing lamp in a corner of the room and 2 lights in the open wardrobe, plus the 2 vintage abat-jours, then 2 strong spotlights in the kitchenette. We like warm lit ambients and curious lamps, but we are sorry if you found them too scarce.
2. Two hard twin sized beds pushed together (when we were expecting a nice king sized bed for the price we paid) :
Our beds are amongst the best ones on the market as they are branded Simmons, i am sorry you found them too hard, but they are really good for your spine and the majority of our guests really appreciate them for great sleeps. The two single beds are pushed together and kept close by a double thick topper, which normally makes it very comfy, we apologize if that did not satisfy you.
3. Stains on the headboard (see the pictures):
the headboard is made of vintage wallpaper which can be cleaned deeply but once guests drip some coffee some traces unfortunately remain.
4. Dusty floor:
Since we had a very busy season the Studio had been certainly cleaned on the same day, and we clean with hoover and mops therefore i find it very strange that the floor was dusty. In any case i will definetly ask our house-keeper to pay more attention.
5. Stains on the cooking hob and dinner table:
the dinner table is a zinc-metal covered old table, and unfortunately has been stained by a hot pot some guest has accidentally posed on it, unfortunately there is little we can do as it is a very sensitive material. We actually think that the homey feeling of Riva is also given by the presence of old furniture, even if with traces of previous usage, i am sorry if you were looking for some brand new polished white and steel hotel, we are not such. The kitchen ceramic hob, which is modern instead, brings stains of burned food, and even if we removed most of it traces remain.
6. Inconsistent shower which spurts hot water on and off, with some streams of water being stronger than others:
I apologize for this, as mentioned we had a very busy season and had not enough time in between reservations to properly dip in vinegar the shower-panel to remove calcium deposit, anyway from what i see in the pictures it does not look like an inconsistent shower.
7. The hair dryer did not work:
I apologize if it actually was not working, i hope you did try to use the extra plug adaptor that is normally already on the hairdryer, or at worst inside the velvet bag that contained the hairdryer. We like old-looking hairdryers too therefore every hair-dryer comes with a special adaptor, had you asked i am sure somebody would have suggested you tried it.
8. You had to press the flush really hard or it would not flush:
Thank you for informing us about your opinion about the flush, we will have this checked by the plumber in the ordinary winter maintenance, even if no guest before or after you has ever complained about this.
9. Cracks on the walls:
Our building dates 1873, which is great for its thick walls and beautiful shape, but still there can be some movement in the structure. This may cause a little crack in the walls finishing. The one depicted in the image is definitely not a structural crack, but just a superficial one, and it is by the way, the only one.

Coming to your stay, it must have been really frustrating to have such a delayed flight, I hope the welcome bottle we placed in your room before your arrival helped out a bit.

Regarding lights in the room, unfortunately with arrival at 1 AM the size of the window does not matter much in terms of natural light, as it is deep night. Anyway, during the day the Deluxe Studio you were in enjoys light from a big door-window in the bedroom, a floor to roof window in the kitchenette, and a little window in the toilette, all facing west (where the sun sets).
Mosquitos are unfortunately very frequent in hot and damp cities like Florence, and enter anywhere windows can be opened, anyway the rooms are equipped with a little black box containing tablets and burners to kill mosquitos.

First thing you did or said after the first night in the Deluxe Studio where you had been upgraded, was asking to cancel the booking right away, also asking the receptionist Federica to immediately book another hotel for you, without mentioning the frightening night. The answer was the same you would receive in any hotel in high season for an early departure, e.g. you would be charged fully, because the hotel is fully booked.
Then you mentioned some of the above listed issues and Federica said she would speak to me, Alice.
We tried what we could to make up for the inconveniences, even if it was clear that the alleged problems were potentially endless. I remember you also saying that we have cheap windows, while they are hand-made steel and wood fixtures, designed by Architect Claudio Nardi on purpouse for that place, and are infact very appreciated by our many designer and architect guests.
I am sorry you came back from sightseeing at 6pm on purpose expecting a room change but as mentioned in the morning we actually had no other available room.
I am surpised you found availability on Tripadvisor as this webiste does not sell rooms or show rates but only offers pics and comments, anyhow if you found some availability somewhere online it must have been a non-updated availability mistake due to last minute bookings, as it happens sometimes.
Carlotta unfortunately could not really do anything for you except promising to try and move you to the Standard Studio you had originally booked, on the following day.
The following day we met at the reception and i greeted you as i do with every guest, then the conversation suddenly turned on the “room change” issue.
After proposing to fix the new problems that meanwhile arose with the room, i added a 10% refund for the "inconvenience" of having upgraded you. Since this did not sound what you wanted, i somehow mixed up our reservation plan in order to accommodate you in the room you had booked, at that point no refund was due.
I showed you the Standard room, which is actually darker than the one you were previously as it has a big very high window facing north, a small window downstairs, and a tiny terrace door on the first floor, but i am glad you found it in slightly better condition, as it is very strangely one of our most favorite rooms, even if without a river view.
Thank you for the kind quotation of my answer to the threat you made upon check out to write a horrible Tripadvisor comment. What i meant is that after 7 years running this boutique hotel with hundreds of happy and returning guests, i am sure Riva Lofts did not cause you any harm or such unbearable inconvenience, as we always do our best to host our guests in a beautiful, efficient and calm setting, happily amending to all we can. This gives great results if there is some kind of collaboration or civil discussion with the guests, which, for some reason, has never been the case with you.

I am glad you actually wrote your comment, since if you read the previous and the following comments, you will understand why i don’t fear it.
Notwithstanding your possibly biased perception, me and my staff always and sincerely do our best to have happy guests, even if unfortunately we fail sometime.
I find it very productive that everybody can speak their happiness or unsatisfaction, as the comments all together give us hints on what to improve while allowing possible guests to know the different point of views, including the minority ones, and form their own opinion.

I am glad you liked our breakfast food and room and Anna, our sweet breakfast staff.

Regarding the location, Riva sits on the Arno riverbanks, just 1 km away from the city-centre walls (Porta San Frediano, Oltrarno area full of artisans and nice local restaurants), 2.5 km from the famous Ponte Vecchio, in a quiet and safe neighbourhood, in front of the main citypark and 300 meters only from the Tramway (taking to the train station in 5 minutes). The closest laundrette is 450 meters far, a 5 minutes walk, and we also have an internal laundry service. The closest supermarket is 1.5 km from us and there is a fresh product market and groceries in a lively square 700 meter away.
We would have gladly given this information, together with hints on restaurants and shops if only your first approach had not been an immediate and aggressive early departure request.
Our location is clearly shown on Google maps and on our website too, therefore very easy to be checked before arriving, if it represents an essential point.

Regarding “luxury”, this is very subjective, and i am afraid we don’t share the same vision on this.

Finally, i am glad you could at least enjoy one night in the very good Continentale Hotel, so you can keep a good memory of Florence!

Best regards,

Alice Nardi

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68 - 74 of 192 reviews

Reviewed 24 September 2013

Found in Time Out guide. The architect-designed spaces are lovely, from the outdoor atria to the garden and loft rooms (we had 4 facing the Arno which the architect holed up in for a while and was delightful space). There is car parking, I think on a first come first served basis which obviates the obvious headaches associated with bringing a car to an old Italian city -- we were travelling with our 10 month baby and our car full of his clobber. The walk into the centre is easy--no busy streets with tram option for the idle. There are little kitchenettes which allow the preparation of the simplest bowl of pasta or soup and some coffee but little else. There is a large supermarket nearby. The breakfast room is stylish and the people working here charming and helpful.

Room Tip: The two most expensive are knockouts - there is or was for us a prepay reduction.
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  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank dwh23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 September 2013

We decided to stay based on recommendations on Mr & Mrs Smith website. The location is on the edge of the city, which we liked. We used the free bicycles to ride into town each day, which was a very fun way to see the sights. Plenty of bikes for all guests. Also the lofts are very close to a main tram stop which goes to the city in only 10mins. Reception can give you tickets to use.

The apartment we stayed was very spacious, airy and comfortable. We relaxed in the garden and swam in the pool to cool down. All guests were very friendly and approachable. The staff couldn't do more to help especially as we'd left some jewellery in our previous accommodation in Venice. They arranged for it to be couriered to our next city, which removed a lot of stress. The staff were extremely helpful with recommendations which were tailored to our needs. We enjoyed visiting restaurants and cafes that were not touristy and we very much enjoyed these.

Recommend visiting the Vasari Corridor, on a personalised tour. Not many people do this, but was by far the highlight and it was great to be so close to artwork that was hundreds of years old with only a few people and a security guard. Also recommend a wine tour to the Tuscan hills.

  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank garysomm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 September 2013

We stayed here for a week in August and it was absolutely fantastic. If you're a fan of contemporary design and architecture this is a great place to stay, lovely original pieces of furniture in the rooms and common area as well as a gorgeous pool and garden. Our room was lovely, the bed was a little hard for our liking but fine. We had booked a "Super Deluxe Studio" which meant we had access straight into the garden and a small kitchenette which allowed us to make a coffee (which was great quality and refilled as needed) or as we did a couple of evenings bring some food back to the lofts and have a light evening meal (after a great long lunch during the day :)). Getting in and out of the city centre is a breeze with the tram at the end of the road bringing you there in about 8 minutes, and one of the greatest things about this place is getting out of the city centre after a day of August heat and the swarms of other tourists and some hard-core sight seeing and art galleries, coming back to the tranquility of Riva and jumping into the pool was perfect. Couple of little quibbles - their DVD library is not good, bad selection and many of them scratched and we had issues with the first DVD player in our room so they swapped it for one that also didn't work...

  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Tess145
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 September 2013

This place was found by our friends who we were travelling with. They like interesting boutique places and this fits the bill. We arrived by car and managed to snag the last parking spot at the front of the hotel - there were 3 or 4 only but this is a small place. Location is not bad - it's on the river about 2-3km from old Florence - a decent 30-40min picturesque walk after dinner but it's also close to a tram stop (about 300m). We took taxis as well and it takes only about 10min to get into the heart of old Florence. The area is residential and quiet.

We stayed 2 nights in a superior deluxe room - this is on 2 levels - kitchenette and bathroom downstairs - bed and sitting area upstairs. Our friends had a variety of other rooms - one had the super duper suite which is extremely spacious and comfortable. We asked for an iron and ironing board which was provided although the board was a bit dodgy (midget size) but given that this was a rarity in Italy (supposedly illegal in many hotel rooms ?) in our experience it was very welcome. The bed was a bit too firm for my liking, and the pillows were not great but we asked for firmer pillows and these were happily provided. As others have mentioned bugs can be a problem this time of year but if you use the provided mosquito repellers it is manageable. They provide the standard coffee percolator for making coffee but no milk is provided but i'm sure you could ask for it. They provide a small but good range of cold drinks which are free plus some nibbles.

There is free Wifi provided through several zones and performance is OK. TV is available near the bed but has only a few international channels. In our room we had a large armoire with plenty of hanging space but it wasn't tall enough for longer clothes. Our room had skylights with remote control open/close shades - a nice feature for morning light. The bathroom was a reasonable size, functional although windowless, shower was good and spacious - overall functional although we had the odd "plumbing" issue which did eventually resolve itself.

The garden and pool are great - either for a refreshing swim or just lazing reading a book - plenty of room given there are only a few guests.

I had breakfast here served in the large sitting room and at outside garden tables - very pleasant. Good coffee was served and a nice range of continental breakfast items. There is normally a daily special for extra cost. You can get drinks (honour system) and snacks in the sitting room 24 hours a day which could be very handy.

The staff were very welcoming and helpful in keeping with the boutique nature of the hotel. They helped us with restaurant bookings, directions, maps for ongoing travel, etc.. Altogether very good. They also have bikes for guest use but we didn't avail ourselves of this.

We stayed at another hotel in Florence on our way back from Cinque Terre in the old city area which was very "old world". Easy walking distance to all the sights and restaurants so this is a big advantage over Riva. But the ambience of staying at Riva is much more relaxing, modern and enjoyable if you don't need to be in the city area. I would recommend it for longer stays of 3 days or more where you have a bit more time to relax and enjoy Florence.

Room Tip: Ask for a room facing the garden.
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  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled with friends
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4  Thank Kaydn215
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 July 2013

The level of design and architecture and attention to detail here is totally on point.
The pool and outdoor area is great (except for all the little mosquitoes and bugs, which is my ONLY complaint, but a constant annoyance).
The common area is awesome - love the "honesty bar" concept and that soft drinks in the mini bar are free (finally, a place that isn't try to screw you in every corner).
The breakfast was fantasmo.
The room is rustic, modern, comfortable.
The bathroom (especially the shower) is a model that I will definitely rebuild for myself one day.
But most important, the staff is the best part... we took all of their suggestions and our (high) expectations were surpassed. They made reservations for us and generally made our time in Florence smooth and enjoyable.
This place is not for everyone, but if you have an appreciation for design and niche places, take your wallet out know that you're money is being well spent!

  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Namidawg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 July 2013

Okay, the rooms in Riva Lofts are extremely comfortable and nice, the swimming pool and garden are gorgeous, and breakfast and coffee couldn't be better. But what makes the hotel really outstanding is Juliette and her colleague at the reception. They show you with pleasure and knowledge where the best restaurants and original shops are, they make reservations, and book the Uffizi and Galleria for you. Without Juliettes advice we wouldn’t have found Aqua Flor, where you can buy divine scents, and where, on appointment, the master ‘profumiere’ designs your own very personal smell. Or the way to Obikà, which is a fancy, loungy mozzarella bar with a lovely patio and superb interiors. The setting of Riva Lofts, near the river, is a heavenly escape from a sometimes hot and hectic city. The free bicycles are ideal to make a short ride along the Arno to the city center, and then back to peace and quiet. Beware, those bikes are ‘vintage’ which means they’re not purposed to go off road. But absolutely charming.

  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank Paul D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Riva Lofts Florence

Address: Via Baccio Bandinelli 98, 50142, Florence, Italy
Region: Italy > Tuscany > Province of Florence > Florence
Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #143 of 659 B&Bs / Inns in Florence
Price Range: £119 - £253 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Riva Lofts Florence 4*
Number of rooms: 9
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A beautifully renovated 19th-century factory on the southern bank of the Arno River, the Riva Lofts provides a modern oasis in easy reach of the rich historical attractions of Florence. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
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