LOCATION – this hotel is located within view of the Duomo and a very short walk to it. It is also a relatively short walk to the various piazzas and the Arno River and Ponte Vecchio bridge. The location does not get much better, though Florence is not very spread out and most hotels likely have good locations.
Free Wifi – the internet is free and fairly fast. The front desk gives you a code which is changed every three days and which you have to enter as you begin to surf the web. It is a convenient amenity.
Wine/Breakfast Bar – this bar at the top of the hotel has a great view of the city and the Duomo. It is nice to have. It also has a full breakfast from 7 to 10 with Italian-style bacon and salami along with eggs and the continental fare. I found it one of the more extensive breakfast buffets in my Europe trip, but for an American, it still lacks in quantity and quality. Remember that Europeans in general and Italians in particular often skip the heavy breakfast, so to have a breakfast buffet is much to this hotel's credit.
Bathrooms – the bathrooms are VERY nice (nicer than the rest of the rooms) and are more akin to what you would find in a 4 or 5 star hotel. A slight note is that the shower panel only goes about a third of the way down, so make sure not to soak your floor. However, the bathrooms and the amenities (such as hair/body shower gel) were appreciated.
Cleanliness – the rooms were cleaned every day extensively, which was nice when returning after a long day of touring.
Staff – the staff were efficient and corporate. Took care of all of our needs.
Mattresses – they were very hard, short, and narrow – even moreso than usual European beds. I stayed in a room with two twin beds but even still, it was smaller than expecting. It is not good especially if you roll or turn when sleeping. If you get cold, there are extra blankets and pillows, but see the next point...
Air Conditioning – this hotel does indeed have air conditioning, but is impossible to set below 24 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit). It is deceptive, as you can lower it down to 19 degrees, but it almost immediately turns back to 24. We found ourselves sleeping with the window open (on a noisy street) because it was slightly cooler outside. This is a major problem and one that needs fixing.
Wine Bar Prices – we were fortunate to have received a set of free drinks with our booking. Even though the selection was limited to mimosas, we were grateful for the gift. One in our party chose to have a small beer, which was 6 Euro. This is a very high price and it seems much of the menu was equally overpriced. This is a Best Western, not a Ritz Carlton. We'd expect slightly lower prices.
Overall – if I were to return to Florence, this hotel would be on my list to consider staying at. However, the first two Cons were a significant burden and I would advise the hotel to consider alleviating them. Placing those aside, this would have been a better experience. As it stands, the hotel does what you need it to do with some extras, and is in a great location. I would recommend you consider this on a trip to Florence.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Hotel Laurus al Duomo is located in the heart of Florence, just 70 meters from the Cathedral and 150 meters from the central train station Santa Maria Novella.The hotel is part of the cultural centre "Centro Congressi al Duomo", together with the Auditorium al Duomo, Cafe Astra al Duomo, Hotel Pitti Palace al Ponte Vecchio.Located in the historical via de' Cerretani, between the Cathedral and the Santa Maria Novella train station, the Hotel Laurus al Duomo stays at a short walk from the most elegant shopping streets, and it is ideal for both leisure and business travelers. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Best Western Florence
- Laurus Hotel
- Florence Best Western