Florence is a city in demand. Crowds flock to its romantic piazzas and iconic bridges – particularly in the summer months, when you’ll find gaggles of tourists lining the gallery-packed streets. We’d suggest an early-year trip, when the city is quieter and stylish accommodation options like Riva Lofts – a converted mill tucked away in a peaceful setting beside the River Arno – have plenty of availability.
This fantastic collection of 10 studios doesn’t rest on the laurels of its location. Instead, owner Claudio has created a series of individual and glamorous apartment-like spaces that triumph the building’s history while embracing contemporary design. There are even gorgeous gardens and a slim-line pool – both rarities in Florence.
Rooms: The 10 unique studios have private entrances and vary greatly in size, from the Standard Studio (up to 3 adults) to the Loft Studio (up to 4 adults). We stayed in one of the 2 Loft Studios, which was spread over 3 floors and had wonderful floor-to-ceiling windows with views of the Arno. All the studios are awash with bold, contemporary design: polished concrete floors, muted colours, flea-market furniture, Mies van der Rohe chairs. The smaller details are just as appealing, from the beautiful cream wingback chairs to the large showerheads, fluffy robes and remote-controlled skylights in the bathrooms.
Food: A buffet breakfast is included in the price and you can expect all the usual fare, including fresh pastries, home-baked bread, yummy yoghurts and, of course, strong Italian coffee.
If you’re in a group (10+), you can arrange for other meals to be prepared at the hotel (with 2 days’ notice) for a relaxed, local celebration. If not, there are a huge number of fantastic restaurants nearby, with all budgets and tastes catered for – just ask for recommendations. All of the studios (with the exception of the Standard Studios) have small kitchenettes with a fridge, coffee machine and hob – perfect for whipping up snacks and sandwiches.
Top Tip: Complimentary bikes are available to borrow, so head off to explore the city on 2 wheels. Alice, Claudio’s glamorous daughter, can suggest car-free routes and secret spots to discover. Cycling is particularly delightful in winter, early spring and autumn, when you can enjoy Florence without the crowds of tourists and conference delegates.
Customer review: “We loved the ambience of Riva Lofts, an oasis of calm but still only a short walk to Florence centre and the park on the opposite side of the river.”
Martin, United Kingdom (31.07.14)
i-escape gift: a complimentary bottle of Tuscan extra virgin olive oil.