Without a doubt, Belmond Villa San Michele offers one of the most extraordinary hotel experiences in all of Italy. Set in a former monastery dating back to the 15th century, its atmospheric, old-world architecture is truly breathtaking. The reception area is a former chapel, complete with an altar and frescoes. In some ways the property feels more like a museum than a hotel. Add in the fact that it’s located in Fiesole above Florence and has jaw-dropping views of the city and beyond, and “just pinch me” moments are common.
Despite this elegant glory, Belmond Hotels and Resorts, the company behind the hotel, is focused on catering to families and the property offers a long list of pint-sized amenities and services, making Belmond Villa San Michele a la dolce vita treat for families with children of all ages.
Other than a few special accommodations in the original monastery, most of the 45 rooms and suites are scattered around a spectacular terraced garden. There is a wide selection of room categories and different configurations that work well for families, given that rooms are extremely spacious. The garden setting makes rooms feel very private.
We stayed in an open-plan Junior Suite with a sofa bed and terrace. The bathroom in this category is massive, with his/her sinks and closets, in addition to a shower and sizable soaking tub.
It is the special touches that put the Belmond Villa San Michele guest experience over the top, such as candles lit throughout the room as part of the nightly turndown service and the copious displays of fresh flowers.
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Florentines and tourists alike flock to Villa San Michele’s landmark La Loggia restaurant. A long portico with arched windows overlooking Florence is the magical setting for this traditional Italian restaurant. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are all served here and are equally spectacular. It’s the kind of place that inspires lingering well after a meal is finished. There’s a kids’ menu available, though dinner is definitely a more formal affair with a pianist and candlelight.
Families with younger children can have a simple meal in La Loggia Bar. From June to September the pool has an informal al fresco restaurant that is open for dinner on Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays. Otherwise, the nearby town of Fiesole has casual options as well.
Villa San Michele is one of the select few luxury hotels that manage to be equally romantic and family-friendly. They accomplish this through their dedicated amenities for families, including a kids’ concierge who organizes special activities like gardening lessons and visits to the local adventure park, as well as the complimentary kids’ club in a chapel in the garden. The onsite cooking school, Buono Buonissimo!, offers a Young Chefs Academy for ages 6-14.
There’s a heated swimming pool in the garden with wonderful valley views, open during the summer months. In addition, Belmond Villa San Michele offers compelling family packages that pair discounted rooms with children’s amenities.
Villa San Michele is located in Fiesole in the hills above Florence. This location provides a fantastic escape from the year-round tourists in the city and enables a full resort experience, not just a hotel experience — one of the reasons this property is a fabulous summer accommodation choice with kids. A free scheduled shuttle runs between the hotel and city throughout each day.
Belmond Villa San Michele is priced at a premium. As we discovered, this pricing is in line with the high quality, unique guest experience and exceptional service. A stay at this property is one for the Italy memory books!
Rates for Villa Michele start at 808€ per night for a family of 4 people.
Editor’s Note: Ciao Bambino was provided a media rate to experience Belmond Villa San Michele for families. As always, our opinions are our own. Photos by Amie O’Shaughnessy.
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