Review – Soprarno Suites, Florence, for Mr & Mrs Smith Hotels
In need of weekend away filled with both culture (for Mr Smith) and carbs (for myself) we pick Florence as our destination. It’s a city that’s as breathtaking in its beauty as it is in its food. And its wine come to mention it. Oh, and its negronis…
As Tuscany’s capital, it’s a place that has all the aforementioned wants of a great city break but is in close enough proximity to Chianti’s vine-covered hills to be the starting point of a flavoursome Italian adventure.
We pack our weekend bags and leave London one Friday lunchtime and arrive at the Soprano Suites early afternoon. Leonardo, the owner, greets us with warmth and a willingness to do everything to make our stay as perfect as possible. From dinner reservations to tours, nothing was too much.
The Soprano Suites has a genuine character to it – a true boutique feel, where everything has been considered. Decorated with a delicious mix of kitsch finds and antique Italian heirlooms – nothing flat-packed or mass produced here, just unique and full of character like the city itself.
Also part of its charm is being able to lie on your bed and look up at a ceiling that Michelangelo would be proud of. Elaborate, detailed and very Italian. (No two rooms are the same, we’re told, but ask for number 24 should you fancy a vast double rain shower, too.)
It’s not just the style that impresses; the location is ideal, too. We venture out for our first evening – a quick three-minute stroll from the hotel and we’re greeted with the view of Florence’s most famous medieval bridge: the Ponte Vecchio. By day or night, it never fails to disappoint. We head on to one of the many side-street bars and raise our glasses to the start of the weekend. Our evening unfolds perfectly: negronis, Florentine steak, red wine, tiramisu… I can’t think of a better welcome.
Next morning we head for breakfast, served in the deli on the hotel’s ground floor. It’s the moreish mix of strong coffee, fresh fruit, pastries, cheese and meats. It’s a visual feast, too: the are walls covered in variety of artwork from their favourite restaurants and delis around the world. With coffees in hand we set off on our Saturday of exploring.
We wander through side streets, past historic landmarks, cafés and shops. This city has some seriously stylish locals offering endless fashion parades in the piazza – it’s perfect for people-watching. From Chanel to Cos, it’s all here – style being synonymous with Italian city living (and best witnessed over a cappuccino).
An institution, as far as Florentine cafés go, is Café Gilli. It’s here we witness a group of five who dare to question the speed at which their waiter delivers their chilled prosecco and, as such, are immediately asked to leave. A passionate protest over prosecco ensues, involving a man in a crisp white tuxedo. Only in Italy…
The rest of our day is spent exploring the famous sights – it’s my first time seeing the Duomo and it leaves me in awe. (Mr Smith had been several times before and patiently waits as I rattle off endless photos.) That afternoon, after a day of getting the right kind of lost, we head back towards the hotel and pop into another of the side-street bars for a pre-dinner drink.
We wake on Sunday to a thunderstorm that Roman gods would be proud of. Does it falter our plans? Not one bit. Our suite is the perfect hidden spot to a watch the storm pass, read, drink coffee and enjoy a wonderfully lazy start. It’s Sunday, after all.
Somewhat reluctantly, post-breakfast and post-downpour, we emerge to hunt one last lunch spot before our flight home. ‘Unfortunately’ it starts to rain again, which means cracking on with Campari spritzes shortly after noon – then wine and more amazing pasta. And not one shred of guilt, either.
We head to the airport, stomachs full, heads rested, bodies relaxed – our weekend away is officially a mission accomplished.
Florence doesn’t disappoint. And nor does the Soprano Suites, its staff, its charm and its character. We’re entirely won over, and leave feeling like we know just the secret spot for when carbs and culture inevitably call us back.