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Hotel Highlights

  • Reach out and touch the Ponte Vecchio
  • Cool, contemporary design
  • Sky lounge roof terrace

Overview

With its sleek minimalist design, the Continentale hotel is the very antithesis of the classic Florentine Room with a View-style pensiones, and it's a huge hit with those searching for a contemporary vibe. It almost sits right on the famous Ponte Vecchio, and is within a few minutes' walk from, well, everywhere. The sleek receptionists are clad in black suits; black and white fashion photographs line the walls; classic European films run on a loop on a giant plasma screen in the foyer.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Continentale with us:

A large-sized bottle of body product from the luxurious range by Lungarno Details for Mrs Smith, and a bottle of wine for Mr Smith

Special offers

Exclusive rates, packages and special offers at Continentale

'Florence temptations': non-refundable prepaid rate Long-stay offer

Facilities

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Need To Know

Rooms

43 rooms.

Check–out

12 noon. Earliest check-in 2pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $425.45 (€324), excluding tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €4.00 per person per night on check-out.

More details

Rates exclude breakfast (€28 a person).

At the hotel

Fitness centre with sauna.

Our favourite rooms

Deluxe tower rooms are spacious and have fantastic views.

Packing tips

A sketchbook, a sunhat, sensible shoes.

Also

Pets of the diminutive variety are welcome.

Children

Babysitting can be arranged.

Food & Drink

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Hotel Restaurant

Only breakfast is served, on the first floor.

Hotel Bar

Terrazza dei Consorti is a ‘sky lounge’, perfect for a cocktail under the stars.

Room service

Until 11pm.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Anything goes.

Local Guide

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Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Local restaurants

Cantina Barbagianni on Via Sant’Egidio (+39 55 248 0508) is in an ancient cellar; ideal for dinner à deux, or head there for their great value two-course lunch. Cibreo on Via de’ Macci (+39 55 234 1100) may be the most famous trattoria in Italy; it’s formal and glamorous. La Congrega on Via Panicale (+39 55 264 5027) is a quaint traditional trattoria for lunch or an informal but unforgettable dinner. Michelin-starred Enoteca Pinchiorri on Via Ghibellina (+39 55 242 777) is set in a Renaissance palace, where Giorgio Pinchiorri himself helps you choose from his 150,000-bottle cellar; jacket and tie required. Olio & Convivium on Via Santo Spirito (+39 55 265 8198) is a delicatessen and restaurant specialising in olive oils, native wines and local cheeses. ll Latini on Via Palchetti (+39 55 210 916) can be hit or miss – but get there on a good night (ie: not full to the gills with tourists) and it’s great fun. The kitchen decides what you’ll be eating – you just name the colour of wine you prefer, and whether you want fish or meat. Il Parione is a cosy trattoria on Via del Parione (+39 55 214 005), great for candlelit dinners. Roses on Via del Parione (+39 55 287 090) is a café during the day and a sushi bar/Japanese restaurant in the evening.

Many restaurants close on Sunday or Monday; check first.

Local bars

Capocaccia on Lungarno Corsini is perfect for pre-dinner mojitos. Pop across the road for some of the finest cocktails in town in the Fusion Bar in the Gallery Hotel Art. Café Rivoire, overlooking Michelangelo’s David in Piazza delle Signorie, serves superb hot chocolate, cocktails and aperitifs, and is great for watching the world go by.

Local cafés

Overlooking Michelangelo’s David in Piazza della Signoria, Caffè Rivoire is a people-watching hub. Caffè Pitti (+39 55 239 9863) becomes a restaurant at night, specialising in truffle dishes. The Roberto Cavalli-owned Giacosa (+39 55 277 6328), linked to his shop on Via della Spada, is a busy, fashiony place for breakfast, lunch, coffee and cocktails. Look for JK Place's sister establishment, the Lounge, on Piazza Santa Maria Novella (+39 55 264 5181).

+ Enlarge
Pole position by Ponte Vecchio

Continentale

6r Vicolo dell'Oro, Florence, Tuscany, 50123

Planes

The nearest airport is Florence (Amerigo Vespucci) – also known, confusingly, as Peretola Airport – which is about 20 minutes’ drive from the Continentale. A taxi will cost you €20; or, for €6, you can hop on the airport bus, which leaves every 30 minutes for Florence’s Santa Maria Novella train station, a short stroll from the hotel. Alternatively, you can fly into Pisa, (Galileo Galilei) Airport (a greater number of airlines fly here, giving you more choice) and take the direct train to Florence for €5 one way. The train journey will take about 45 minutes.

Trains

The hotel is within walking distance of Florence’s main train station, Santa Maria Novella, which can be found just behind the piazza of the same name. Trains go from here to Milan, Naples, Pisa, Rome and Siena, as well as Nice and Vienna. You can get to Rome in under two hours by high-speed train, and to Milan in about three hours.

Automobiles

Explore Florence’s winding streets and piazzas by foot, or (when your legs get tired) hail a taxi, or catch one of the bright orange buses that operate throughout the city centre. You can buy bus tickets in advance from vending machines or tobacco shops. If you do decide to drive – and a car will be essential if you plan to venture further afield into the surrounding countryside – the Continentale offers valet parking for a charge. Be aware that driving through the restricted central zone (ZTL) can result in hefty fines. If booking a hire car, it's essential to send the vehicle details to the hotel (and give reception an estimated arrival time) so they can arrange a temporary permit for you. For the ultimate in four-wheeled style, rent a vintage car in which to explore the Tuscan hills (see www.bellinitravel.com for more details).

Reviews

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Anonymous review

by Lucy Yeomans , Glossy queen

I first went to Florence with my mother when I was 18. I was in the middle of a full-on love affair with Renaissance art, and spent my days pounding the corridors of the Uffizi in search of Botticellis and Titians, seeking out obscure churches harbouring triptychs by Giotto and Mantegna, and scaling seemingly endless winding stone staircases in an attempt to fully understand the genius of Brunelle…
Read more

Continentale

Anonymous review by Lucy Yeomans, Glossy queen

I first went to Florence with my mother when I was 18. I was in the middle of a full-on love affair with Renaissance art, and spent my days pounding the corridors of the Uffizi in search of Botticellis and Titians, seeking out obscure churches harbouring triptychs by Giotto and Mantegna, and scaling seemingly endless winding stone staircases in an attempt to fully understand the genius of Brunelleschi.

My mother and I stayed in a crumbling palazzo on the outskirts of the city; behind the flaking wallpaper and fraying curtains lurked a glorious and no doubt decadent past. When I returned to Florence this time, I found myself in the throes of a very different love affair. The lure of da Vinci and Co suddenly didn’t seem quite so compelling. And the hotel the Continentale, the creation of Salvatore Ferragamo, while a far cry from my decaying palazzo, looked the perfect luxury hotel for a weekend of dedicated romance.

With its sleek minimalist design, the Continentale is the very antithesis of the classic Florentine Room With a View-style pensiones, and it’s a huge hit with those searching for a contemporary vibe. And then there’s its location; it couldn’t be more central. It almost sits right on the famous Ponte Vecchio, and is within a few minutes walk from, well, everywhere. You’d never guess that just steps from Florence’s iconic bridge, lined with goldsmiths and stallholders selling all manner of ‘ode to the Renaissance’ paraphernalia, lies this monochromatic retreat. Sleek receptionists clad in black suits welcomed us into the cool white interior, where black and white fashion photographs line the walls. Classic European films run on a loop on a giant plasma screen in the foyer; or the hotel webcam delivers views of the human traffic on the bridge, bringing the outside in very cleverly.

From the moment we arrived, our every need was looked after by the Continentale’s staff: from the charming bellboy who whisked us up in a vast glass lift complete with leather sofa, to the patient receptionist who spent hours tracking down my passport (which, to my embarrassment, I’d left in the lounge at Gatwick), smiling genuinely throughout.

The standard bedrooms are small but cleverly laid out. Our first thought was that the minimalist decor owed more to Habitat than John Pawson or even Conran, but such notions were quickly pushed to one side as the white cotton drapes around the bed fluttered seductively in the breeze. The bathroom boasted a spectacularly powerful shower, and the huge bottles of luxurious body products were a serious treat. But battling it out for Best Thing About The Room award, along with the fantastic bed, was the incredible view over the river: you can almost lean out and dip your little finger into the Arno. We sat for ages watching the early morning skullers meander down the river, bathed in Tuscany’s unique soft golden light. Florence’s beauty hasn’t changed much since I was here as a girl, but I have. And somehow the Renaissance cityscape looked more beautiful than ever.

Breakfast is the only meal the hotel serves, and we opted for room service every time. When we did venture out of our modernist boudoir to explore the hotel’s artfully designed communal areas, we discovered the relaxation room, with comfy day beds and stacks of magazines, and amazing views over the bridge. As a contrast to Florence’s ‘it’s like the 19th century never happened’ vibe, the aesthetic is really very refreshing. All that you could possibly desire lies minutes away, be it dusty old antique shops or chic boutiques, not to mention all that great art – though the studious 18-year-old in me was nowhere to be seen.

Taking a respite from wandering Florence’s answer to Bond Street – the superbly-heeled Via Tornabuoni, where Prada and Gucci have settled in next to Florence-based Salvatore Ferragamo – we settled on nearby Il Latini for lunch. Packed full of locals, with a commanding and eccentric maître d’ who prefers to order for you and frowns if you don’t get stuck in to one of the hefty bottles of house red provided on all the tables, this is the classic Italian restaurant at its best.

Having drunk, laughed and sung (it was the man on the next-door table’s birthday) far more than expected, we set off for the Santa Maria Novella apothecary, where we stared in wonder at the towering glass cabinets packed with giant bottles and jars, before stocking up on herbal potions and lotions made from recipes devised by 15th-century Franciscan monks. As editor of a fashion magazine, I am spoilt with beauty products at the best of times, but the old-school scents here – rose, iris, nothing faddy – are seriously sexy.

Unguents accomplished,we headed in the opposite direction of the crowds, who were now teeming menacingly around the Duomo and Uffizi, for the Boboli Gardens, behind the Pitti Palace, where we strolled and sat talking like teenagers for hours in the sunshine. It was only, however, when we climbed the steps up to the nearby Piazzale Michelangelo, which offers beautiful views over the Florence skyline (nearly as spectacular as those from Continentale’s roof terrace) that my last vestiges of guilt about having not set foot in even one museum finally disappeared.

As the setting sun enveloped the cathedral’s famous dome in an Ready Brek glow, I finally grasped the real genius of Brunelleschi. More importantly, I realised that our weekend at the Continentale hadn’t only meant falling in love in Florence – but also falling in love with Florence.

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel with us, we'll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Continentale's Guestbook below.

 

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The atmosphere is so relaxed and the attention to detail is world class. The hosts make a stay here feel like visiting friends. It's always a pleasure to return - we have booked next year already...

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I liked the friendly staff, flexible attitude and good breakfast.

Don’t expect

I found the rooms a bit small.

Rating: 8/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The room was fantastic and had a nice view of the river. If you want to be in the heart of Florence, this is the place to stay!

Don’t expect

The windows need more soundproofing, unless you want to hear the crowds of people in the street outside all night long. It was loud after the bars closed.

Rating: 6/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The atmosphere; friendly and helpful staff; design; roof terrace and bar; location; feel of the place; bathroom; the love for details.

Rating: 10/10 stars