“A 17th-century townhouse with apartments for 2-5, bang on the Piazza del Duomo”
The 6 mini apartments branch off from the central light-filled atrium, with a lift that glides between the 4 floors. There are 3 categories of apartment - Comfort, Superior and Deluxe - which are then subcategorised according to how many guests they can take (2-4).
Décor wise, things are very similar throughout - discreet shades of gold and cream - and first impressions are good: spacious, light, and elegant. Curtains are theatrically gathered gold brocade, high beds are dressed in crisp white Italian linens, parquet flooring gleams. All have a table and 2 chairs, most have sofas and 1 Deluxe Apartment has a balcony. We felt they could be pepped up - especially the rather dark Comfort Apartment - but larger apartments have a couple of cool details such as dressing tables with bright blue Perspex stools or sloped, beamed ceilings, which lifts them.
But the real reason to upgrade is for a view. We stayed in the Deluxe Apartment for 2, which had 3 floor-to-ceiling windows looking out onto the Duomo; quite astonishing on arrival. It seemed as if you could open the window and touch the marble facade, yet the double glazing is so good you could barely hear the hubbub outside. And as a result, we slept very well - although we could hear people walking about overhead, so light sleepers may like earplugs.
Bathrooms throughout are very nice - travertine marble, and generally spacious with a shower over the bathtub, or a walk-in shower. Toiletries await in little gold bottles, a cube of perfume subtly scents the room, and a hairdryer hangs in an embroidered bag.
Although there's no restaurant at Granduomo, your kitchenette is stocked with breakfast ingredients for you to rustle up a spread in-room. It's snack-y rather than an indulgent treat - a packet of croissants and bread, jam, cheese spread and crackers, juices - so it won't set you up for the day as a cooked hotel breakfast might, but it's fine. And you get a coffee maker and selection of teas, plus a few cookies, which were very welcome when we returned, footsore, from the Uffizi.
The kitchenette is perfectly adequate for rustling up a simple meal. You get an electric hob (no oven), kettle, microwave, a couple of saucepans, knives and basic crockery. Families with children will find it very useful. The Mercato Centrale is close, for grocery shopping.
But when you have the wealth of Florence's eateries on your doorstep, who would want to miss out? Marinella and Gino have a very good knowledge of the city's restaurants, and will carefully tailor their suggestions towards you; they pride themselves on personal service. They sent us to Ristorante Paoli, and it was excellent. A traditional trattoria with mock frescoes on the wall, a low cellar-like ceiling, and a lovely buzzy atmosphere. The food was top-notch; pesto gnocchi in a gorgonzola sauce (heavenly), pork chops with a cannellini bean sauce and lemon oil, and a delicious tiramisu.
The larger Granduomo apartments, sleeping 4, are ideal for families: not only are you in the centre of Florence, walking distance from the key attractions, but they are spacious, and Marinella loves children and will spoil them rotten. It's a great city to visit with older children (8+) who you can trail round art galleries with the promise of ice cream to follow - as Florence is the birthplace of gelato, it would be wrong not to...
Note that children are classed as under 12 for these apartments. We've heard great reports from those travelling with young teenagers and extended families; the apartments are lacking in baby gear and child-related equipment, but are spacious if you can cope without them.
Our top family tip: Ask Marinella to book your tickets in advance to galleries and museums to avoid the queues.
Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
Some of the Deluxe and Superior Apartments can accommodate 4 in total and they have a bathtub and shower. The Superior Apartment for 4 has a loft space where children can sleep (there's a nifty pull-out bed) and the Deluxe Apartment for 4 has a separate twin room at the back, where it is quietest.
Babies are welcome in all Apartments, and a cot can easily be added, but note that there is no other baby equipment.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
Kitchenettes are basic but have everything you could need: a hob, microwave, saucepans, cutlery and crockery. The Mercato Centrale is close by for stocking the cupboards. Ask Marinella and Gino to recommend child-friendly restaurants.
The Superior Apartment for 4 has ungated stairs up to the attic space.