There’s never been a better time to have a spa all to yourself. Here are five hotels with wellness facilities in central Florence.
Hotel Palazzo Castri 1874
David’s taut torso hangs on the grey wall along the red-carpeted hallway leading back to the high-ceilinged junior suite that’s “home” for the night. Inside, views over the unique courtyard garden and Brunelleschi’s dome elicit wellbeing as the fountain bubbles away and the current occupants of the hydro pool swim out into the open air. Palazzo Castri 1874 might not benefit from the best location, on the much-maligned piazza dell’Indipendenza, but the hotel’s personality more than makes up for the imperfect placement. Guests can book Parisian brand Maria Galland treatments at the establishment’s in-house wellness centre (prices start from 35 euro). Options include a classic manicure, a massage based on Dead Sea salt or the brand’s signature facial to rejuvenate the skin. But what makes this four-star boutique hotel such a catch is the peacefulness throughout, from the spa-like scent in the airy lobby to the fluffy robes, complimentary La Via del Tè herbal teas, and citrusy Limonaia lotions and potions by Florentine perfumer Dr. Vranjes in the marble-decked bathroom. Slender brass lettering announces the spa and wellness area, which can only be frequented on a booking basis to minimize the risk of Covid infection. The energetic can burn off the panettone calories in the gym, which is equipped with a latest-generation Technogym treadmill and bike as well as weights and exercise balls, while most guests head straight down the steps into the inviting indoor-outdoor hydro pool kept at a steady 33 degrees centigrade surrounded by the garden’s palm and lemon trees. Dry off and sip a camomile tea in the relaxation area topped with original barrel vaults before working up a healthy sweat in the Turkish bath at 40-45 degree heat and the hotter but less humid Finnish sauna. The colour therapy showers and ice bucket soon rebalance your body’s temperature. A sigh escapes your lips as realization dawns that this wellness is for you alone: there’s not another chilled-out soul in sight.
Four Seasons Hotel
A townhouse of tranquillity nestled in the manicured greenery of the Gherardesca gardens greets hotel guests or day spa clients at the Four Seasons Florence. Plush steps lead up to the treatment rooms on the first floor, each named after a plant in the parkland outside, whose likeness is etched onto the walls. Couples unwind in the Melograno (pomegranate) room complete with side-by-side treatment beds and an enticing bathtub. I’m in Mulberry, a room for one, as Linda, who’s fluent in English and Italian, explains the treatment du jour: a candle massage (170 euro/50 minutes) developed exclusively for the five-star-luxury colossus by one of the world’s oldest pharmacies, Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella, over eight months of research. Shea, jojoba and avocado are luxuriously scented with amber and vanilla in this sublime winter treat for body, mind and soul, the likes of which the Three Kings might have considered gifting around January 6. Slowly but surely, the professional therapist (everyone working at the Four Seasons’ spa undergoes lengthy training) trickles the drops of light front and back, assuaging seasonal aches and pains while replenishing dry skin. My muscles almost sigh, as I do beneath my mask, which clients are requested to wear, although up-to-the-minute Dyson air purifiers are constantly cleaning the air. Discreet, relaxing and reinvigorating all at once, the massage ends with a porcelain cup of red berries tea stretched out cat-like on a chaise longue partitioned by gossamer drapes. The friendly staff inform me that San Marino brand Rephase’s oxygen dermo facial, Black Pearl’s Lux Lift based on collagen and algae, and Chianti wine back massage are among the other popular treatments at The Spa, and that the steam room, outdoor pool and whirlpool are all still open for hotel guests. But now it’s time to rest as I pad my way along this luxury hotel’s statuesque halls to the third-floor Deluxe Room with a Duomo view, where there’s a Negroni with my name on it. I’ve never slept better away from home.
The Florentine stayed at these two hotels on a complimentary basis.
Hotel Continentale (vicolo dell’Oro 6R, Florence), part of the Ferragamo-owned Lungarno Collection hospitality group, is home to the discrete White Iris Beauty Spa. The spa offers a selection of treatments by Parma-based beauty company [ comfort zone ]. The wood and stone surroundings enhance the experience for hotel guests and city dwellers. Popular treatments include the Comfort Touch, Mediterranean Ritual and Back & Neck massage.
Golden Tower Hotel & Spa
Golden Tower Hotel & Spa (piazza Strozzi 11R) reveals city centre relaxation at this five-star sanctuary. Wellness, massages, a beauty centre with OPI nail products and spa with Jacuzzi, sauna and Turkish bath form the offering at Golden Spa. Opt for a Golden wine hammam, which includes entrance to the spa facilities, or a Pinot Nero facial for a more relaxed start to the year.
Firenze Number Nine Fitness Spa Hotel
Firenze Number Nine Fitness Spa Hotel (via dei Conti, 9-31R) has undergone a refit for pandemic times. “For modern globetrotters and fitness people” reads the tagline on the reworked website and the temptation is tantalizing. In addition to the sumptuous suites, guests can make the most of access to the adjacent Klab spa and gym facilities, which are among the best in town. The Private Spa at Firenze Number Nine is designed to pamper you within the history of Florence, surrounded by 15th-century vaults.