Florence is one of the most popular destinations with Ciao Bambino clients traveling overseas with children for the first time — the city is a walkable museum filled with medieval back streets, architectural eye candy and artistic genius at every turn. Well-placed accommodations that integrate this rich history and arts culture are the best of all worlds for families, and the 5-star Hotel Lungarno, home to a 450-piece collection that includes works by local and international greats, upholds Florentine traditions in luxurious style.
If the walls of Hotel Lungarno could talk, they would have half a century’s worth of stories to tell. Owned by the Ferragamo family and recently remodeled to highlight the view of one of Florence’s most treasured sights, the Ponte Vecchio, it is a dream for families looking for a luxurious boutique gem. The property epitomizes understated elegance, and one can assume the designer understood that the beauty surrounding the Lungarno is art in itself.
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The hotel sits proudly beside the Arno River in the Oltrarno district — the artsy side of town where modern artisans meet ancient tradition, just across the water from the city’s core. Families staying here can step out the doors after an amazing breakfast and explore major sights within a few minutes’ walk. Bonus: the Lungarno stocks bikes for guests who prefer to pedal through the neighborhood.
One of the property’s most outstanding architectural features is the way its windows align with the views of the river, giving it the feeling of a tucked-away treasure in one of Florence’s hippest neighborhoods. For a mom like me with teen daughters who love local boutiques, it might be the best option in the city.
The recent renovation and massive upgrades underscore the Lungarno’s stature in the neighborhood. Thanks to reconfigured floor plans, the hotel now has 10 additional rooms that can accommodate up to four guests each. We stayed in one of these lovely family rooms and were delighted with the amount of space, from the walk-in closet to the large, luxurious bathroom. Our bedroom itself had plenty of room for comfort and included a sitting area with a sliding door to close it off — an ideal setup, as the sofa unfolds to accommodate two little sleepers.
Other configurations range from double rooms and studios to multi-bedroom suites. Families can choose the Rooftop Terrace Suite for a 360-degree view of the Arno and the city, or one of the two Executive Floors (sleeping 9 and 15 people, respectively) for a multigenerational stay.
We didn’t get a chance to try Borgo San Jacopo, the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant, but we did take advantage of the delicious breakfast. In a town known for its incredible food, the morning meal did not disappoint. Cheeses, meats, pastries, yogurt, fresh juices and cereal highlight the buffet offerings; eggs are made by request. And of course, the perfect morning cappuccino served overlooking the Arno is not a bad way for a family to start the day.
The property also houses the Picteau Bar for parents-only cocktails, as well as a private terrace that you can book for an intimate meal for two.
Hotel Lungarno’s amenities add to the sense of pampering. Included in each room are a tea and coffee bar with a Lavazza coffee maker, a stocked minibar and an iPad with info on the hotel and weather. The bathrooms have wonderful luxe toiletries from Ferragamo, and the closets are stocked with bathrobes and complimentary slippers.
Pieces from the art collection are sprinkled throughout the accommodations and public spaces for unique character and a personal feel. The hotel offers several viewing “itineraries” along specified themes such as Pop Art or single artists like Venturino Venturi.
I am lucky enough to return to Florence once a year, and it struck me as we checked out that our stay at the Lungarno was one of the highlights of my most recent trip. I’m looking forward to sharing it with other families.
Editor’s Note: Amy received a media package to review Hotel Lungarno for families. As always, our opinions are our own on Ciao Bambino. Photos by Amy Annis and Hotel Lungarno.
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