Residence Hilda

Pa. SS Annunziata, Florence, Italy Book from

Reviewed by Nadine Mellor
Classy apartments (sleeping 2-4) with kitchenettes and all the comforts of a hotel, slap bang in the heart of Florence
Smart hotels can mean lots of fuss - ingratiating porters, time-tabled meals, achingly slow room service and (worst of all!) other guests - which can leave you less relaxed than when you arrived. At the elegant Residence Hilda you get more privacy than at any 5 star hotel, more freedom than your own home, and you set the agenda.

Whether you want to party all night with friends, get up at the crack of dawn to be first to the sights, make your own breakfasts or stay in bed until teatime, this is the place. Here you can come and go as you please with your own pass key. With 12 carefully crafted apartments over 4 floors, this tranquil haven is perfect for families and discerning couples alike. Centrally placed in a pedestrian zone 3 blocks north of the Duomo, this historic apartment building was transformed after an 18-month refurbishment, and still looked as fresh as a daisy on our 2013 visit. Interiors are light and streamlined, designer details conspicuous only by their restraint. The efficient and helpful Valentina can book tours and excursions, restaurants and onward travel.

Highs

  • Excellent central location for sightseeing, shopping and nightlife
  • Well equipped apartments, each with a bedroom, kitchen and living room (some have an additional sofabed)
  • No minimum stay length - unusual for a self-catering set up
  • Cool, classy interiors which are kept spotlessly clean, with truly impeccable service
  • There's a lift - rare in Florence's historic buildings - and 2 wheelchair-friendly rooms

Lows

  • No restaurant or breakfast room, but a wealth of eateries on your doorstep, some with discounts for Hilda guests, others with food delivery
  • No communal areas apart from reception, but each apartment has its own sitting area (or, in the Deluxe, a separate sitting room)
  • Check-in is restricted to 3-7pm; if you intend to arrive later, you need to clear it in advance
  • WiFi can be unreliable

Best time to go

Florence is a city with something happening at all times of the year. Late March, April, September and October are the busiest times. Midsummer (July, August) can get very hot and a tad crowded and most Tuscan life takes to the hills. Winter (mid-Nov to mid-March) is quiet, with just a few ‘indoor tourists’ - art-lovers, fashion buyers, friends and parents of those studying here.

Great for...

City Style
Family
Honeymoon
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Apartments
  • 12
  • Self-catering, restaurants nearby
  • Under 12s welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
  • Concierge Service
  • Laundry Service
  • Towel/linen change 3 times/week
Room:

Rooms

Each of the 12 airy apartments (or 'suites', as they call them) has a sleek design and plenty of space. You get a comfortable bedroom, a living area with kitchenette (these are separated in the Deluxe) and a bathroom. There are teak parquet floors, calm off-white walls, soft beige furnishings and the occasional colour accent - relaxing orange sofas in the standard suites, or light blue throws on the beds.

The furniture is mostly modern Italian designer, with some Philippe Starck pieces and the odd family antique. Original double-height, double-glazed windows are hung with fine cream curtains with blackout and shutters that ensure a perfect night's sleep on the Simmons mattresses. Personal touches include fresh roses grown by the family and, for those who stay longer than 3 days, complimentary bottles of wine and oil. A few judiciously placed pieces of classic artwork - architectural drawings in the main hall, German romantic paintings in the apartments, and old plant prints - maintain the clean, classy effect.

Bathrooms are spacious, well-fitted (hairdryers are included) and classy; soft beige walls covered with fine Italian porcelain contrast with black marble surfaces around the basin and shower or bath.

There are 3 classes of apartment - Classic, Superior and Deluxe in ascending order of size. All have one double bedroom and space for a cot (Classic/Superior) or an extra single bed in the living room (Deluxe only). The quiet Deluxe on the top floor is preferred for honeymooners. Some Superior apartments have views over the Via dei Servi towards the Duomo; others face towards the Brunelleschi Rotunda.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • CD/DVD player (on request)
  • Central heating
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Hob stove
  • Internet access
  • Iron
  • Kitchenette
  • Microwave
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Scales
  • Toaster
  • Tv

Eating

Although the hotel does not have a restaurant, all the apartments are fitted with cleverly designed kitchenettes. Arranged along one wall of the living room (sliding opaque glass doors neatly hide them in some suites), their off-white and black colour scheme is in keeping with the rest of the decor. You get a 2-ring hob, microwave oven (with grill), toaster, sink, tea and coffee making facilities, fridge and a dining area with table and 4 chairs; ideal for whipping up a simple meal or snack but not a Cordon Bleu dinner party. A basic welcome pack awaits you.

There are 3 supermarkets nearby for those who want to prepare food in the suites, and free delivery is part of the service. You can order provisions in advance of arrival - a shopping list is provided on confirmation of your booking.

But most guests eat out - no surprise given Florence's excellent choice of restaurants. Next door, guests can enjoy delicious breakfasts and light lunches at the famous confectioners, Robiglio, who also offer free food and drink delivery. The staff at the front desk are only too pleased to make recommendations and reservations for restaurants, bars and clubs.

For a full list of recommended restaurants in Florence, see our city guide.

Features include:

  • Children meals
  • Coffee tea making
  • Hob stove
  • Kitchenette
  • Meal delivery service
  • Microwave
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
  • Shopping service
  • Toaster
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Gawp at the tri-coloured marble façade of the Duomo on your doorstep and its adjacent baptistery and bell-tower; climb to the top of the dome for a bird’s eye view of the city
  • Art lovers should spend at least half a day in the ultimate Renaissance picture collection, the Uffizi gallery, and amid the sculptures of the Bargello museum. Ask Valentina about advance ticket booking
  • Culture vultures can choose from 6 more museums in the Palazzo Pitti, and any number of sculpture-filled piazzas. It is also recommended to book in advance for the Accademia
  • Other notable buildings include the Synagogue, a few steps away
  • Stroll through the boutique-lined lanes and the bustling street markets which attract fashion buyers, antique collectors and shopaholics from around the world
  • Meander across the Ponte Vecchio at sunset, admiring the silvery river Arno or the golden sparkle of jewellers’ shops
  • Ride through the city in a horse-drawn carriage, stopping to choose an ice-cream from the hundreds of flavours
  • Get some fresh air in the Boboli gardens or the Forte di Belvedere, on the Oltr’arno (south bank)

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Art classes
  • Cooking classes
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Shopping / markets
  • Traditional cultures

Kids

Florence can be over-whelmingly busy with tourists. Residence Hilda is a great option for families: a cool tranquil self-catering sanctuary, just three blocks from the Duomo. A host of baby equipment can be provided on request. Don't forget to mention that ice cream was invented in Florence...

Children under 12 are welcome - sleeping in an extra bed (just one per suite) in the Superior and Deluxe categories only. Suites can ideally accommodate two adults, 1 child under 12 and a child under 3 (they can be flexible on the ages). Teenage children (13-18) are only permitted by prior arrangement.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

All Suites can take a baby cot. Superior Suites have a sofabed and Deluxe Suites can take an extra bed.

Babysitting:

Babysitting available by arrangement, see Rates

Baby equipment:

  • Baby cots
  • High chairs
  • Changing mats
  • Bottle warming
  • Blenders
  • Strollers
  • Car seats

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Children's meals:

  • Suites are fully equipped with sleek well-equipped kitchenettes
  • Grocery shopping and delivery service available on request

Kids Activities on site:

  • DVD players and DVD library of children's movies available on request, see Rates

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Piazza Massimo D'Azeglio, a few blocks away, is an urban park in the Sant’ Ambrogio area which has a small football field, basketball hoops, carousel and jungle gym
  • Leonardo da Vinci Museum is 2 minutes away, which has real size machines for kids to play on
  • Private guides for families who tailor tours for children e.g. Science Museum, gelato shop, pizza making

Families Should Know:

In the event of an emergency, Residence Hilda can provide an English speaking doctor who is on call 24 hours a day.

Distances:

  • Airport: 20 minutes
  • Hospital: 5 minutes
  • Shops: 1 minute
Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

10/
Rooms
7/
Food
10/
Service
10/
Value
9/
Overall

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Rates for Residence Hilda