Florence, Italy

Hotel La Gemma

Price per night from$528.05

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (inclusive of taxes and fees) available in the next 60 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (EUR483.50), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

Craftily cool

Setting

Historic-centre bullseye

Florence Cathedral’s façade has as delicious a colour combo as a fresh tub of Neapolitan, and the Cecchi family – the highly creative dynasty behind Hotel La Gemma (in the 19th-century Palazzo Paoletti) – have taken note. The decor throughout this luxurious, down-the-street-from-the-Duomo stay swirls sage, cream and blush together and shows off the various nous of the dynasty, (fashion designer, architect, artist…) with botanical-print silk-screen walls, deco-shaped custom furnishings and cosmopolitan lounge and mod-Florentine eatery. And this craftiness comes to life on excursions to otherwise off-limits designer’s studios, bespoke perfumery sessions, knife-making classes and more – showing that even now the city just keeps on renaissance-ing…

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

One €70 credit a room, each stay, to be spent on food, drink and spa treatments (must be used by check-out)

Facilities

Photos Hotel La Gemma facilities

Need to know

Rooms

38.

Check–Out

Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.

Prices

Double rooms from £393.39 (€468), including tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €8.00 per person per night on check-out.

More details

Rates usually include breakfast and a selection of Italian chocolates in your room on arrival.

Also

There’s a lift to all floors and two rooms have been specially adapted to be accessible.

At the hotel

Spa, lobby lounge and library, two interior courtyards. In rooms: LED TV, cocktail station, minibar with free soft drinks, air-conditioning, and Votary bath products.

Our favourite rooms

In creating Hotel La Gemma, the highly creative siblings of the Cecchi family – whose backgrounds span fashion, design, art and architecture, have formed a stylistic supergroup, contributing their own branch of expertise, and showcasing their personal tastes through references to their travels, musical preferences and more. And so, in rooms you have marble checkerboard floors and finishes, heavy velvets, and a pleasing palette of sage or olive greens, with blush pink and ivory, which echo the Baroque and Rococo bits of Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral; accent walls covered with printed silks in botanical patterns evoking tropical adventures; and custom-made deco-shaped bedsteads, Gio Ponti ceramics and Rivolta Carmignani robes show just how fine the Italians make things. The Prestige Suites are all very glamorous, but we love the one with a balcony worthy of Pope-esque appearances, overlooking the ancient and attractive Via Calimala with a glimpse of the Duomo, and its extra sitting room, but we also like the top-floor Loft Suites too.

Poolside

The spa has a plunge pool with massage jets.

Spa

The hotel has a Turkish bath, brisk ice shower and twin-set of subterranean treatment rooms (including one for couples), decked out in soothing neutrals at Allure Spa, and accessed by a private lift. There’s a range of relaxing massages, but this is the first Biologique Recherche spa in Florence, so take the opportunity to have highly technical in-depth skin analysis and resolute French facials, which brighten, plump-up, tone, redefine and rejuvenate. And, there’s all the trimmings too, with mani-pedi, hair and make-up services.

Packing tips

Leave all the bottles and jars of any skincare regimen in the bathroom cabinet – each room here comes with delightful Votary bath products you're obliged to take with you when you leave. And be prepared to leave with some excess baggage in the form of leather goods, evening dresses and tailored suits, canvases, sculptures…

Also

If you’d like an extra-special memento of your stay, or you don’t want to (selfie) stick out (especially since they’re now banned in some Italian cities), ask the hotel to arrange for a photographer to discreetly document your adventures.

Pet‐friendly

Pets under 10 kilogrammes can stay for €35 a night, but shouldn't be left unaccompanied in your room. See more pet-friendly hotels in Florence.

Children

Some of the larger rooms have a sofa-bed that can sleep a child for €190 a night, but – well – that’s not so amore, is it? Which is what Florence, and this elegant stay, are all about.

Food and Drink

Photos Hotel La Gemma food and drink

Top Table

For group gatherings, Luca’s has a larger velvet banquette cosied into a sage-green alcove; but, if for sun-kissed espressos or apéritifs, take a table in one of two open-air interior courtyards.

Dress Code

Pick out those complementary tones of blush pink and ivory and incorporate them into chic threads. Maybe avoid green, lest you end up looking like a floating head…

Hotel restaurant

Decked out in a soothing melee of Tuscan greens – again with a striking marble floor – and topped with a silkscreen ceiling printed with botanicals, Luca’s is a dreamy art deco space, with velvet cocktail chairs and banquettes and a wall of wines that glows like a Byzantine altarpiece. Chef Paulo Airaudo  (who previously worked at Smith stablemate Borgo San Pietro) takes classical Florentine cuisine and, in the same way the Checchi family has updated Duomo colours, looked at it through a more modern lens.

Hotel bar

Luca’s lounge is a cocooning spot, not least because it’s decked out in shades of green with swathes of leafy pattern – set off by a checkerboard marble floor. A golden glow emanates from the bar, soft jazz plays, and the cocktails go down very easy… Each takes a cue from both a member of the Cecchi family’s favourite song or movie (a slightly random list), and a certain gemstone. Say Looking Good, Feeling Gorgeous (after the RuPaul ditty), which drink-ily depicts a ‘black pearl in sea foam’ with gin, bergamot liqueur, orange bitters, apricot foam, and a spherical ice-cube coated in squid ink and oyster sauce; or The Fantasist (after the Irish thriller) with Bacardi, port syrup, chocolate bitters and cherry woodsmoke. But it’s the signature Luca’s that caught our attention with a gin and vermouth martini base and four different flavourings – matcha, dragonfruit, plum and mango – depending on which side of the glass you sip from. And, you can take home some tips from the maestros at mixology classes too.

Last orders

Breakfast is served from 7.30am to 10.30am, lunch from 12.30pm to 3pm, and dinner from 7.30pm to 10.30pm. Drinks flow till 1am in the lounge.

Room service

It's possible to dine in-room.

Location

Photos Hotel La Gemma location
Address
Hotel La Gemma
Via Dei Cavalieri 2C
Florence
50123
Italy

Hotel La Gemma is ideally located in the Historic Centre, set amid grand palazzi on Via Calimala. It’s close to all the main attractions, just a block or two from Piazza della Repubblica, Palazzo Strozzi, the Cathedral, main shopping arteries and more.

Planes

Florence Airport is the closest, a 30-minute drive away from the hotel, or Pisa is around a 90-minute drive. The hotel can arrange transfers on request (in a luxury vehicle if you want to arrive in more conspicuous style).

Trains

The Brutalist heft of Santa Maria Novella train station (linked directly with Italy’s major cities) is a 20-minute drive away.

Automobiles

Florence’s Historic Centre is more for meandering about going ‘ooh’ than it is for driving – indeed, some streets just wouldn’t fit a car if you tried (but don’t), and there may be restrictions and charges involved too. The bottom line is: avoid. But, if you must, there are some charged carparks within walking distance.

Worth getting out of bed for

Florence is perhaps one of the most finely crafted cities in the world, from Renaissance feats of architectural engineering to leather handbags, to perfumes, to book-binding, and of course, artworks – if you’re in any doubt, just ask 19th-century French author Stendhal, if he’s not rapturously passed out in front of a Botticelli, that is. And the Cecchi family themselves have several artisanal backgrounds (evidenced in the hotel’s exquisite design touches). So, the the front-desk staff – who all have concierge training – can show you the very best, whether it’s exclusive access to studios of ceramicists, artists and sculptors, leatherworkers, jewellers and fashion designers (or a custom fitting in your room); private tours of classic and contemporary galleries; a day out with a top personal shopper (after all, Via dè Tornabuoni close by is a major shopping artery); workshops at famed perfumeries… And, they have a roster of historians and experts on hand to give deeper insight into the likes of the Basilica Santa Maria Novella, the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the Galleria dell’Accademia, Vasari Corridor, Ponte Vecchio Bridge, Palazzo Pitti and Piazzale di Michelangelo – all of which are situated within easy walking distance of the hotel (some merely a block away). Or, you could imbibe another aspect of Florentine culture with a walk through the city’s buchetti, or ‘wine doors’, a small window where you pay and – as if by magic – a hand appears holding a full glass. Maybe fill up first with a street-food tour or cookery class, which you can arrange in and outside the city. And there’s more to discover still in Tuscany, with gin and wine tastings, knife-making classes, vintage cars to hire, truffle-hunting and more thrilling pursuits. You could take to the skies in a hot-air balloon or helicopter, or hop on horseback to discover some less-trotted corners of the countryside.

Local restaurants

The Florentines calling their cuisine cucina povera might be the biggest humblebrag of all time. Even those back-in-the-day peasants ate pretty darn well, and things have only improved since then, even if time-honoured techniques are still in play. You’re usually a spaghetti strand away from something delicious, but we’ve tried to whittle them down. Chic Nonna is in the Palazzo Portinari Salviati, and with its columns, coloured marbles, frescoes, statuary and such, hits Medici levels of grandeur, and the menu easily matches it with dishes such as caviar-topped clam linguine, pigeon with rhubarb and mulberry, lamb shoulder with hay-flavoured chamomile. Oh, the chic of it. Trattoria Sostanza is, well, not as grand, with its sensible white-clothed tables and random ephemera hung on the walls, but people don’t come for design tips, rather the pastas in the kind of simple sauces that give one ingredient its time in the sun, a bistecca Fiorentina the Baptistery could use as a doorstop, and a butter chicken that arrives lemony and sizzled to golden in a pan. Meanwhile, a window in elegant Ora d’Aria lets you see the dance of the chefs as they prep intrigues such as Amaro-slugged risotto with strawberry ice-cream, or tagliolini with coffee, cheese and pepper. And at Degusteria Italiano, there are themed seasonal tasting menus; the ones revolving around truffle and game are all very exciting, but – brace yourselves – there’s one dedicated to cheese, with aged-parmesan ravioli and pear mustard, a fontina and pumpkin roll in green-pepper sauce, and creamy robiola with hibiscus and walnut.

Local cafés

Florence’s sandwich game is strong. The whole roast pig in the window of Antica Porchetteria Granieri 1916 is a heavy hint at the porcine delights served here. And La Nicchietta in Calimaruzza has a seasonally changing menu of well-filled paninis.

Local bars

If you’re in for a fun night, go mad – Mad Souls & Spirits, that is, a lively low-key cocktail-slinger serving up the likes of Pisco with honey, black pepper, apple and sparkling wine; or mezcal with apricot brandy, blueberry and oolong tea. Be prepared to spill out into the street from Love Craft, a popular spot for the warm amber glow its many many whisk(e)y bottles emit. And for wine, Enoteca Pitti Gola e Cantina, opposite the Pitti Palace is an elegant Aladdin’s Cave of bottle and enomatic machines.

Reviews

Photos Hotel La Gemma reviews

Anonymous review

Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this art deco darling of a palazzo in dead-centre Florence and unpacked their custom couture and elegantly tooled leather wares, a full account of their crafted-like-an-expert-artisan break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Hotel La Gemma…

Back in the day (1895, to be precise), the Palazzo Paoletti (now Hotel La Gemma) was the residence of the Guid of Hoteliers, so an illustrious career in hospitality was built into its very foundation. After all, it’s dead-on in the Historic Centre, with the Duomo just a wild gesticulation away, and it’s a handsome fellow in the company of many other historic palazzi along lively Via Calimala. The human touch is provided by the Cecchi family, a team of talented siblings who’ve travelled widely and excelled in various artistic fields (fashion design, architecture, art…), and consolidated their collective knowhow within these walls. That means cocktails inspired by their favourite films and songs; custom furnishings in art deco shapes; a blush, sage and ivory colour scheme and checkerboard marble flooring that pays homage to the iconic Cathedral of their beloved home city. And they’ve dug right into the details, whether it’s drawers that swoosh in and out silently, well-lit wardrobes, cocktail stations in each room, and rich strokable fabrics. Add Florence’s first Biologique Recherche spa, a seductive jazz-soundtracked lounge, and restaurant that modernises the classics, and long may this seasoned host reign.

Book now

Price per night from $510.58