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June 27, 2018

Elite Review: Hotel Lungarno, Italy

By Lauren Jade Hill

Fortunately positioned right on the banks of the River Arno, with a riverfront terrace that overhangs the water, Hotel Lungarno has uninterrupted views over the stretch of water and of the Renaissance architecture the river is lined by (the Uffizi Gallery and Duomo are both a short stroll away), not to forget the city’s legendary landmark Ponte Vecchio, which is just moments away from the property. To reflect its waterfront setting, the Michele Bonan-designed interiors exhibit a nautical feel, pairing a color scheme of white and blue with sumptuous tan leather furnishings and marine-inspired design accents. The entire hotel was redesigned last year—reopening with a fresh look in June 2017—marking 50 years since Hotel Lungarno became the first hotel to be opened by the Ferragamo family, beginning what is now the Lungarno Collection. Just like its sister properties, Hotel Lungarno places much of its focus on art – within the hotel’s collection of over 400 artworks you’ll find valuable pieces by Cocteau, Picasso, Bueno and Rosai. This dedication to art can be seen throughout every aspect of the hotel, from the river-view Picteau Lounge, which is named after Picasso and Cocteau, to the bespoke experiences you have here; gain exclusive access to arts venues across the city and connect with local artisans as you go behind the scenes of the city’s prominent workshops. This is a hotel for truly delving into Florentine art while reveling in five-star comfort and indulging your appreciation for the region’s gastronomy.


Up the spiral staircase in navy blue with touches of cerise and along the hotel’s art-adorned corridors, you’ll find light-filled, river-facing rooms and suites decorated in soothing tones of white, stone and eggshell blue with comfortable furnishings you can sink into and a smattering of contemporary artwork. The Rooftop Terrace Suite River View is undoubtedly the most appealing space to stay, with its captivating 360-degree views, which take in landmarks such as the Duomo, Palazzo Pitti and of course the Ponte Vecchio. The 968-sq-ft suite encompasses two en suite bedrooms, a living room, balcony and terrace, with space dedicated to the artworks of abstract artist Luciano Schifano and painter of Italian realism Orfeo Tamburi.


Proudly holding a Michelin star, the hotel’s restaurant Borgo San Jacopo is among the city’s best, offering fine dining plates that are reminiscent of Italian home cooking in a dynamic environment facing the river. The menu here is based on fresh, local and seasonal ingredients, which the chef Peter Brunel transforms into dishes such as wild boar ravioli with cinta senese jus and crispy bread, and scallops infused with beetroot accompanied by roasted cuttlefish, broccoli and dog rose infusion. Each plate is artfully presented and paired with wine from the restaurant’s extensive wine cellar, which has over 800 labels from across Italy and around the world.


The hotel doesn’t have an onsite spa but with sister property Hotel Continental just across the water, it’s a short stroll to the Lungarno Collection’s White Iris Beauty Spa, which offers treatments like Tibetan massage and Tuscan body wraps. Alternatively, you can ask to have an in-suite massage at the hotel. Perhaps the best way to unwind here though is by ending the day on the waterfront terrace of Picteau Lounge where you can sip expertly crafted cocktails with a view of the river and this city’s famous bridge.


A part of the privilege of staying at Hotel Lungarno is the exclusive concierge experiences you’re afforded, from advance tickets to the Uffizi Gallery and Accademia—giving you the chance to skip the long lines to see Michelangelo’s David and iconic Botticelli masterpieces—to privately guided tours of the city and its famous art institutions, the chance to commission bespoke design pieces with local artisans and the opportunity to take painting classes with a Florentine artist. For a taste of authentic Tuscan cuisine, take a private cooking class after first paying a visit to the market with the restaurant’s chef to pick up local ingredients. And before checking out, be sure to venture out of the city by taking a trip to the Tuscan countryside, hilltop towns and lush vineyards, with a private driver guiding the way.

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