Need to know
Forty-five, including 11 suites.
Noon, but flexible and free, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 2pm.
Double rooms from $291.70 (€256), excluding tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €5.00 per person per night on check-out.
Rates exclude breakfast (€35 each for a massive buffet breakfast, a 'wellness' breakfast or Continental breakfast) and city tax (€5 a day each).
Villa Cora goes underground in winter – a network of cunning subterranean tunnels link the main villa with the Villa Eugénie (which houses the spa and some bedrooms) and the poolside restaurant. Diners are herded indoors to exquisite Moroccan-themed restaurant Pasha, but the roof terrace stays open for hardy view seekers.
At the hotel
Subterranean spa with sauna, steam room, gym and Jacuzzi, cigar room, gardens, roof terrace and free WiFi throughout. In rooms: flatscreen TV, iPod dock, minibar, temperature control, free bottled water and rose-scented Annick Goutal bath products.
Our favourite rooms
The Forties-themed suite on the fourth floor is the ideal honeymoon hideaway, and the private elevator-key access adds a VIP frisson. Rooms on the piano nobile (first floor) are protected by the Italian government as historically important – and no wonder: in addition to the towering ceilings, ornate frescoes and antiques à gogo, they include the Imperial Suite (105–6), which once housed emperor Akihito. Parental Smiths should hit Family Suite 311 on the Moorish third floor: there’s an extra twin room.
The huge, heated outdoor pool (the only one in Florence) is a rectangular flash of turquoise amid the white-stone patio and green grounds, with loungers and parasols aplenty, as well as a stash of inflatables for the kids. In summer, thanks to the poolside bar and restaurant, food and drink are just steps away – or summon a waiter to your lounger.
This is Hermès-scarves-and-giant-sunnies territory, so channel Hepburn. Poolside iPad-tapping is essential for anyone wanting to work that share-checking businessman/track-mixing music-producer look. If you arrive sans swimwear, never fear – mention this to the staff and you'll find a stylish costume on your bed very soon after.
There’s no smoking anywhere – except the cigar room, where guests can light up a Cuban with impunity. Small dogs are welcome; they’re essential Florentine fashion accessories – just keep them out of the restaurant.
Pets are welcome, although there's an €80 cleaning fee. The hotel will add a dog bed and selection of toys to your room, and staff can order a professional dog walker on request. See more pet-friendly hotels in Florence.
Little Smiths are welcome: extra beds are €70 a night, and babysitting can be arranged (€30 an hour, book two days in advance). The restaurant has highchairs and a tot-tailored menu, and the hotel has a 'VIB' (very important baby) activity programme.
Babies, or older, confident-swimmer types who can make the most of the pool.
Family Suite 312 has two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a (securely railed) terrace, meaning plenty of space and privacy. If you’ve a cot-bound miniSmith, book a Junior Suite so you can stash them in the living area and have the bedroom to yourselves.
The hotel runs a 'VIB' (very important baby) activity programme – for guests staying in the Deluxe room category and above, which includes games in the pool, treasure hunts, painting and cookery classes; the concierge is also well versed in children's activities nearby. Gallery-heavy Florence itself isn’t amazingly well endowed with activities for little ones (although they’re made welcome everywhere), but the surrounding parkland is great for working off excess energy.
Although there’s a shallow end and armbands and inflatables are available, the pool gets deep quickly and there are no lifeguards, so watchful eyes are required.
Smith juniors can eat with you in the restaurant at any time, and have their own menu. High chairs are available, and hotel staff will happily heat up baby food and milk, or organise packed lunches. If you're staying in a Deluxe Room or above, you can use the after-hours chef service.
Book two days in advance, and expect to pay €30 an hour.
No need to pack
The hotel has bath products suitable for little ones’ sensitive skin, as well as a stash of free cots and toys to borrow. Need something specific? Just ask.
Walls are thick and ceilings are high so baby monitors may be unpredictable. Children staying in a Deluxe Room or above are given a welcome kit on arrival with crayons, books, sweets and a small toy.