The Four Seasons Hotel Firenze (Florence) has a very special feature: an 11-acre (4.5 hectares) walled garden — the largest private botanical garden in the city. To describe this space as kid-friendly is a vast understatement. This garden, Giardino della Gherardesca, is a paradise for pint-sized people and their parents.
Although Florence is one of my favorite cities in the world, it is packed with visitors year-round. Over the summer months when the weather is warm, this small city feels congested in a hurry, which is why the Four Seasons Florence is more than a place to stay, it’s an oasis from very busy streets, museums, piazzas, and restaurants.
Four Seasons are masters at creating a meaningful local connection with the design of their hotels and this property is no exception. A 15th century Renaissance palace and 16th century convent now house 116 rooms and suites. Public areas take guests back in time with period furnishings, statues, and extraordinary frescos.
The lobby lounge and Atrium Bar are appealing light-filled spaces day and night, and open right out to the glorious garden so families with young children never need to feel trapped during energetic moments.
The garden includes a fenced swimming pool. This is a huge benefit for families over the summer months as they can split days up between sightseeing and pool time.
Meandering paths, decorative sculptures, and acres of green create an idyllic setting for all ages. The garden hosts two different playgrounds for both wee and older kids so that everyone has a happy place.
For the parents, it may very well be the elegant spa designed by Pierre Yves Rochon. The changing rooms have just been redone and include an incredible state-of-the-art steam, sauna, and ‘Emotion’ aromatherapy/chromotherapy shower. I couldn’t resist giving this a test drive — it’s very refreshing, especially when combined with a hot steam.
The spa pairs chemical-free natural products from the coveted local upscale brand Officina Profumo-Famaceutica di Santa Maria Novella with the latest in anti-aging skincare and treatments.
Kids have not been left out of the fun. The spa offers a kids and teens menu including a Chocolate Hug (a chocolate massage — can moms do this too?), a Mini Manicure and Pedicure, and a Florenteen Facial. It’s fabulous to see creative juices flowing to include kids in pampering, Four Seasons-style.
The main restaurant at Four Seasons Hotel Firenze is Il Palagio, featuring Italian cuisine sourced from artisan producers. Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the Michelin-starred Il Palagio has a children’s menu as well as an outdoor terrace on the garden, again an ideal set up with kids who may not be able to sit through a long meal.
Al Fresco is a Tuscan Trattoria and is — as the name implies — open air. It runs during the summer months by the swimming pool and is family central offering pizza, salads, and sandwiches and other casual fare.
There’s a smaller restaurant, La Magnolia, offering breakfast for guests staying at Conventino that also has outdoor seating on the garden. And finally the Atrium Bar set beneath a skylight is an elegant room that is just lively enough to be kid friendly. It serves light meals, coffee, and cocktails throughout the day and also offers a kids’ menu.
Family-friendly guest room options include spacious suites and connecting rooms. Marble bathrooms are gorgeous with deep tubs and a separate shower. Some rooms have a private balcony or terrace. TIP: Ask for a room overlooking the glorious garden.
In addition to a kids’ welcome amenity, kids’ menu, onsite playground, and children’s spa treatments, the Four Seasons Hotel Firenze also offers special kids’ activities and programs throughout the year. There’s a long list of appealing things to do in Florence with kids, but the activities at the Four Seasons enhance the family experience as kids can engage in cultural activities in a memorable way. The concierge can organize cooking classes, gardening excursions, and even painting lessons for kids of all ages.
We were there on Easter and the onsite celebration ensured that everyone had a special day. There was a full Easter Egg Hunt, games, and craft sessions for kids. Everyone got in on the fun!
The Four Seasons Firenze is more than a hotel, it’s a full resort in the city and this wonderful set up makes it an ideal choice for luxury-loving families who want a very special way to experience Tuscany.
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Editor’s Note: The Four Seasons Florence offered Amie a media package to review the hotel. As always, our opinions are our own on Ciao Bambino. Photos by Amie O’Shaughnessy
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