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The Belmond Villa San Michele, high up on the hilltops overlooking Florence, was once just a small oratory for the six monks who lived here throughout the year. Now protected by the Institute of Fine Arts of Florence, it has kept its original structure. The reception desk is housed in what was once the chapel, and the wisteria that determinedly hugs the walls has now become an integral part of the foundations of the building. Each terraced garden is immaculately maintained and alters with the seasons. Above all, the service here is excellent.

Our rating: Deluxe

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Rooms

The rooms are decorated using luxurious fabrics and traditional Tuscan terracotta reds and oranges, warm ochre yellows, reminiscent of the cypress and pine trees growing in the surrounding countryside. Most suites are located in the newer annexes by the gardens or overlooking the swimming pool, featuring wooden beamed ceilings and plenty of space. All the bathrooms are tiled using the best marble from the Carrara quarry in northern Italy and have both a bath and shower. All rooms have free Wi-Fi, TVs and air-conditioning.

Location

You'll find Belmond Villa San Michele around a 25 minute drive from the Santa Maria Novella train station in central Florence (depending on traffic), following lovely winding roads up to the village of Fiesole. The hotel provides a free shuttle service every 20 minutes from May to September, and every hour in early spring (March-April) and autumn (October-November).

Food and Drink

The pool bar and restaurant on the top level of the terraced garden offers light meals and cocktails as well as oven-cooked pizzas and fresh barbecues in the summer. The gourmet La Loggia restaurant in the main building boasts a piano, cocktail and wine bar as well as a first class dinner menu. Breakfast is served outside in warmer weather, under the shelter of the heated loggia, or inside the old cloisters.

Families

The hotel offers a children's club that runs in the afternoons throughout the high season.

Facilities and Activities

Aside from the generous grounds and outdoor swimming pool, the property offers an excellent selection of cooking classes which can be tailored to any requirement, from Tuscan delicacies to pastry classes and pizza making for children.

Our opinion

A first choice for us, this incredible, historic property has been preserved with the utmost care to offer all the refinements of the best luxury hotels. The service here is impeccable and the restaurant and gardens are among the best in Florence.

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    Where possible, we like to offer a range of accommodation for each stop of your trip, chosen by our specialists as some of their favorite places to stay. To help you make the right choice, we give each property a rating based on its facilities and service, but we also look for hotels with distinct character or a location that can’t be bettered.

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    Experiences while staying here

    The following activities are designed to give you the most authentic experiences of the area where you’re staying. We work with local guides, who use their knowledge and often a resident’s eye to show you the main sights and more out-of-the-way attractions. Our specialists can also suggest outdoor pursuits and activities, such as cooking classes, that will introduce you to the traditions of the area’s inhabitants.

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      A wonderful opportunity to visit a family truffle business, learn about the production process, go on a truffle hunt and enjoy a tasting lunch.