Believe it or not, I’m back with a new Florence boutique hotel recommendation: the Gallery Hotel Art! Our 2019 Italy trip was not planned in advance, so we were sitting in our room at Borgo dei Conti trying to figure out where to go next. The St. Regis was completely booked, but we knew we wanted to spend a few days in Florence. Between the budget-friendliness and the location, Tom was more than ready to try the Gallery Hotel Art. It turned out to be quite a pleasant surprise. I’m not willing to give up the St. Regis, but we will be returning to this hotel, too.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links for tours and products I love at no additional cost to you. You can read my full disclosure policy here.
How to Book Gallery Hotel Art Florence
We booked our first room at the Gallery Hotel Art through hotels.com. Previously, I used them almost exclusively for independent hotels. After you stay 10 nights, you get a free night that is equivalent to the average value of your paid nights. Sometimes we receive additional night credits for completing surveys of less-traveled-to hotels. While I don’t use it as much as anymore, it helps me to find hotels that my research does not always find.
Tablet Hotel Benefits
I really like booking independent hotels through Tablet if they are Plus members because you get additional benefits. When booking the Gallery Hotel Art through Tablet Hotels, you get a few extra benefits:
- Upgrade to next room category, based upon availability at check-in
- Guaranteed 2pm late check-out
- 20% spa discount at the White Iris Spa
- 20% discount at Fusion Bar & Restaurant during stay
Arrival at the Hotel
Most of the time, we arrive at the Gallery Hotel Art before check-in time (2:00). Michael, one of the valets, is always ready to help unload our bags before whisking the car away (35 euro / day) for the remainder of our trip. (He is the BEST.) Our rooms are not usually ready early, so we will usually head out for some sightseeing and lunch while we wait on our room to be ready.
Staff is friendly and usually shares more about the Discovery Loyalty Program, which provides a few extra discounts around Florence. One of the partners includes the White Iris Spa, which is located in the Contintentale, another Lungarno Collection hotel nearby.
If you arriving via train, it is a 15-minute walk from Santa Maria Novella. I would recommend taking a cab with your luggage because of the cobblestones (and the crowds).
Room 110 – Gallery Prestige Room
On our first trip, I specifically booked the Gallery Prestige room because of its large windows. Though I didn’t know if it would have a view of the Ponte Vecchio, I do love natural light and listening to the river. (I always book an Arno river view room at the St. Regis.) Unfortunately, our room overlooked the interior square, so we did not get the benefits of the windows. We, however, did have a very quiet room, which was particularly nice. I don’t think we heard any other guests at all. (We’ve stayed in this room multiple times and its one of my favorite rooms in the hotel.)
Designed by Salvatore Ferragamo, the room features clean design elements and incredible style. (One of the hotel benefits is free entry to the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum, if that is your thing!) The standard rooms are smaller than the St. Regis rooms, but they are expertly designed for efficiency and storage. There are plenty of places to properly unpack and store your luggage. I love the soft neutral tones, the appropriately-sized furnishings, and the striped curtains.
The bathroom in the Gallery Prestige room features dual sinks, a full size tub and shower, and plenty of room for getting ready. The water pressure is excellent, but my favorite detail is the bath amenities. With yet another nod to Salvatore Ferragamo, the Tuscan Soul bath products feature a delightful scent. (I can’t find it on the mass market, but I would definitely purchase it, if available.)
Room 309 – Gallery Double Room
In November 2019, we booked two rooms for ourselves and my mom. I didn’t get the chance to photograph her room, but it was a corner room with great windows overlooking the square of the hotel, which was beautifully decorated with Christmas lights!
The gallery double room is definitely the smallest room we’ve ever had at a Lungarno Hotel, but it was cozy and romantic for a winter trip to Florence. It was a little too small for both Tom and I to be able to work in, so if you anticipate needing to work while you are in Florence (it happens!), you might want to book a larger room.
One of the other challenges about this room for me was that it was so dark. Winter days are shorter, so I like to maximize sunlight to help reset my body clock. The location of the room, even with a small balcony, didn’t allow for much sunlight. However, interior facing rooms are definitely quieter in the evening, so if you are a light sleeper, this is a great room for you.
The bathroom is very large compared to the room. Similar to room 110, our bathroom had dual sinks and a large soaking tub. The water pressure and hot water were strong. I love the thick terrycloth robes and the Ferragamo bath products.
For me, the biggest selling point of the Gallery Hotel Art is the location and the reasonable price, given its amazing location. If you are coming to Florence to sightsee, there is no better location in Florence.
Room 706 – Gallery Suite
In March 2023, we took my husband’s parents to Florence for 4 nights. Part of this trip was to celebrate my father-in-law’s 75th birthday, as well as their 50th anniversary. Michael, one of the doormen, recognized us from our previous stays and provided the warmest welcome. My in-laws were upgraded to the the Pitti penthouse suite, and we were upgraded to a gallery suite.
The gallery suite is one of my favorite rooms at the Gallery Hotel Art! Our living room was spacious enough to accommodate the four of us comfortably. Pocket doors allowed me to close off our bedroom when I had to take work calls, which was really nice. The bathroom had the dual shower and soaking tub with the Ferragamo amenities. Our bedroom had a king bed and a small desk. I loved the high ceilings. When coupled with the soft colors of the hotel, the room felt very spacious and relaxing.
The best part of this room, in my opinion, is the large windows. It is the most well-lit room that I’ve ever stayed in at this hotel, and I loved it. We were able to leave the windows open and enjoy a nice cross-breeze on the warmer days.
Amenities at Gallery Hotel Art
I do think it’s important to explore the hotel in all its detail. As an avid photographer, I appreciate the black and white photography throughout the hotel and its commitment to sharing temporary exhibitions. There are rotating art exhibitions throughout the hotel – and even on the exterior of the hotel. It is a great contemporary nod to the Renaissance history of Florence.
We are not typically breakfast people, but some rates at Gallery Hotel Art include breakfast. We took advantage of breakfast on our second trip. There are plenty of options to choose from, including hot items, pastries, meats and cheeses, and even a cereal and yogurt bar. For those who are gluten-free, Gallery Hotel Art ensures that you have a myriad of options to choose from, too. While most of the pastries seemed to be regional and seasonal, they did offer some “American”-style treats for Thanksgiving, including donuts, homemade marshmallows, and even a pumpkin cake! Personally, I loved the pastries and the fresh juice!
The library doubles as the breakfast room, so it is closed for cleaning during the middle of the day. Tom enjoyed working in the library in the afternoon while I preferred to stay in our room.
White Iris Spa
I did book a massage at the White Iris Spa, and they were kind enough to call someone in for me, even though they were completely booked. The spa is right across Vicolo dell Oro from the Gallery Hotel Art. I found the staff at the Continentale to be very friendly and helpful. They went above and beyond to find a masseuse for me, even though it was a national holiday in Florence. I did enjoy my tranquilly massage and it is such a treat after exploring Florence’s cobblestones. I would certainly go back and try it again. They also offer facials, body wraps, and manicures and pedicures. Prices are extremely reasonable given the location.
PRO TIP: Pack spa appropriate clothing. A Hill House Home nap dress is perfect for this. There is nothing worse than pulling on skinny jeans after a delightful massage.
Fusion Bar and Restaurant
We did not take advantage of the Fusion Bar (and restaurant), which is certainly a missed opportunity for us! It is frequently busy and looks very cozy and beautiful. even on rainy evenings. They offer quite the cocktail list and an offer to create your own signature cocktail through their mixologist. It seems like it would be a fun place to try for a pre-dinner drink or nightcap. Another missed opportunity is that we didn’t take advantage of La Terrazza rooftop bar at the Continentale, which is a benefit of staying at Gallery Hotel Art. We keep telling ourselves that we are going to check out the Florence rooftop bar scene, but we haven’t made it yet.
Florence’s Best Located Hotel
Perhaps I saved the best part of the Gallery Hotel Art for last. This hotel is steps away from the Ponte Vecchio. It is a 3-minute walk from the Piazza della Signoria. It is in the heart of Florence, but it is tucked away from the crowds. Vicolo dell’Oro is a quiet square, particularly in the evenings. I am truly amazed at how quiet this property is but how centrally located it is. I literally felt like we were entering our own little world as soon as we turned into this little square. Given the condition of my hip, it made it really easy to get out and about and come back to rest. If you are looking for a hotel that is more centrally located than the St. Regis or the Westin, the Gallery Hotel Art is a fabulous option. The Lungarno Collection of Florence hotels also include the Continentale, the Portrait, and the Hotel Lungarno (across the Ponte Vecchio). All of these hotels are very central located – the Hotel Continentale and the Portrait are both adjacent to the Gallery Hotel Art.
DON’T MISS: Orsanmichele Church – Right around the corner from the hotel is a beautiful church that most people miss. The exterior is remarkable, but it’s really the altar piece that is in situ that shouldn’t be missed!
Restaurants near the Gallery Hotel Art
We found some surprisingly good restaurants near the Gallery Hotel Art. While it can be difficult to trust the reviews in very touristy places, we have found a few restaurants in the city center that offer delicious reliable meals. It happened to rain quite a bit while we were in Florence, so we were happy to have some options nearby. Who needs room service when you have delicious restaurants just steps away from your hotel?!
EAT & DRINK: Buca dell’Orafo – Located in the shadow on the Ponte Vecchio in a tiny alley, I didn’t expect this place to be great. That said, it was raining and I was hungry. The friendly staff gave us their last table. (Make a reservation.) It is now one of my favorite meals in Florence. The menu is entirely in Italian with certain Tuscan dishes notated by underlining. The penne alle carretterria changed my life. Just kidding, but it did change my perspective on pasta. It’s one dish that I’m most looking forward to eating again. They also have a delicious bistecca Fiorentina. Imagine my surprise when I found a review for Buca dell’Orafo in the book I used as my travel bible when studying abroad: 2004 Frommer’s Europe by Rail. Apparently, it’s been good for awhile.
EAT & DRINK: Trattoria Nella – Just around the corner from the hotel is this cozy trattoria. I first read about it on Aimee’s Florence blog, and I was intrigued by the walnut ravioli. I highly recommend starting your meal with a misto Toscano classico. Similar to Buca dell’Orafo, the pastas are incredible. I think their food has gotten better post-2020, and I love that the menu changes fairly regularly.
I have a certain nostalgia for the walnut ravioli, but I really love their peposo. House wine is cheap and plentiful. The staff is very friendly – try your hand at some Italian to really enjoy your experience with them. We found them to be very warm and engaging. You will want to make a reservation in advance.
EAT & DRINK: ‘Ino Firenze – If you are exhausted after visiting the Uffizi, you can grab ‘Ino to go and head back to the hotel. ‘Ino is short for panino and it puts Subway, Which Wich, and any other sandwich maker in the United States to shame. With an extensive list of fresh Tuscan ingredients (and a wall menu entirely in Italian), your first visit to ‘Ino can be intimidating. Stick it out. Buy a beer if you need more liquid courage. You’ll be able to try a traditional Florentine flatbread, schiacciata, and add your favorite ingredients. Prosciutto, pecorino, truffle… the possibilities are endless. Everything is made fresh.
Gelateria Santa Trinita
EAT & DRINK: Gelateria Santa Trinita – Don’t get tricked by the piles of (stupid expensive) gelato on the main streets leading to the Ponte Vecchio. Cross the Ponte Santa Trinita and head directly to the Gelateria Santa Trinita for some of the best gelato in Florence. With an extensive menu of fresh flavors, there is something for everyone. I love the sorbetto as much as I love the traditional gelato. Bonus: This gelateria is open late, so even if you’ve already headed back to the hotel for the night, you can grab a sweet treat easily.
Listen, Learn & Read More
To date, Florence remains one of the places that I can return to over and over again. There is certainly a nostalgia factor – it is the place where I studied abroad and where I spent part of of my honeymoon. I am constantly adding to my list of places I want to explore in Florence. Where else can you find 5 euro fresh pasta for lunch, stumble upon a Belle Epoque French market, and spend New Year’s Eve listening to classical music before watching fireworks over one of the world’s most iconic bridges?
Truthfully, I find Florence a beautiful place to visit at any time of year. We found New Year’s Eve in Florence to be completely magical. Hotel rates in November are very reasonable. We typically visit in April, and it’s always beautiful. Even in the rain, Florence is beautiful.
Learn some Italian before you go. Not only will this make you a better traveler, but it will significantly enhance your experience. I highly recommend the DK Eyewitness phrasebook and CD. A kind Italian gifted this to me before I studied abroad and it certainly prepared me for some basic interactions. I recommend it over Duolingo if you want to learn appropriate phrases quickly.
My favorite pocket-sized travel guides are Florence and Tuscany Day-by-Day and Top 10 Florence and Tuscany. (The same Italian who gifted me the phrasebook gave me my first Top 10 book. I’ve continued to purchase them ever since.) There is a new DK Florence and Tuscany Travel Guide that is a bit more extensive (and also a bit larger). Tom uses the Rick Steves Florence book. He enjoys the additional context, history and walking tours in included in that book.
We’ve spent a lot of time in Florence. I think we’ve returned at least once a year since 2015. There is enough content on my blog to create a niche blog for Florence. (Okay, maybe not – but I do write about Florence a lot!