Boasting one of the most spectacular locations in Florence isn’t the only reason that Granduomo offers much to inspire boutique hotel owners.
A long weekend in Florence would not be complete without a close up view of the city’s Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, best known as the Duomo, and no hotel gives guests a better view than the Granduomo, which offers just a handful of apartment suites to guests, who can virtually reach out and touch the cathedral from their bedroom windows.
I stayed in a deluxe apartment, which is essentially a large suite, with kingsize or twin beds, dining table and chairs, sofa, and a compact kitchen complete with sink, hob, microwave, coffee machine and fridge.
Although most visitors to Florence will not be in the mood for cooking, the kitchen does make it easy to keep a stash of drinks, cheese and cold meats to hand for a quick aperitif before heading out for dinner.
Breakfast is basically thrown in for free by the hotel’s management thanks to coffee, juice and milk all being provided in the room, and a charming bag of bread and pastries delivered free to the room at 8.30 every morning.
This compensates for the lack of a restaurant in the hotel, although it does have two rooms – a rooftop conservatory and a first floor library, where free coffee is available throughout the day and night.
A long weekend at Granduomo is subtlety different to a stay in a normal luxury hotel. You are largely left to yourself, as you would be in short stay apartments, but the rooms are cleaned and replenished daily, so you feel you are in a 5-star hotel.
It is an interesting business model for hoteliers, because there is next to no addition income from F&B or other services. Quite the opposite, guests could just about survive on the free food and drinks provided without ever stepping outside.
The design of the public parts of the building are as individual as the owner, who clearly shares Florence’s passion for art, although her collection around the hotel is eclectic and modern.
The unusual art is saved for the public areas, while the rooms are classic, but contemporary interpretations of Florence’s architecture.
We paid just over 200 euros per night for our deluxe apartment, and it was a joy to leave unconcerned about how much we might have spent on room service, a mini bar or the movie channel. The final price was the room, and nothing else.
Granduomo is a hidden gem in every sense of the word, and shows that the passion of the owner to be the best hostess in Florence is more than enough to maintain a healthy business.