CASA HOWARD - FLORENCE

Arty boutique B&B in heart of Florence

B&B IS FAR TOO PEDESTRIAN A TERM to describe this 12-room extravaganza in an old palazzo just yards from Piazza Santa Maria Novella. Owned by Count Leonardi and his wife Jenifer Howard Forneris, Casa Howard joins their original Rome success story.

That means burying blandness in favour of original and imaginatively themed rooms. Twin this with all the warmth of a private home plus can’t-do-enough service and you’re in clover. Ancient features are axiomatic in Florence and there’s no cheating at Casa Howard; parquet and stone floors, heavy wood doors, marble chimney pieces and fine artworks. However it’s the striking decor and luxurious little extras (breakfast is brought to your room) that turn a stay here into a treat.

We were hard pushed to decide between the extravagant Drawing room in soigné black; the lavish Oriental room with its emperor-sized bed and erotic prints or the impressively tome-lined Library.  There’s even a Turkish bath – exclusively yours when staying in the Garden room.



Hit the Spot
Yards from Piazza Santa Maria Novella.

Bedtime
Check out the bold crimson decor,  capitonne bedhead and sunken bath in the Hidden room.

Be Savvy
Do dip into Jenifer Howard's hit list of places in Florence you might otherwise miss.

Be Smitten
Florence B&B that lays on the fabulous.

House genies


Housekeepers, aka ‘house genies, are also trained to add to Casa Howard’s spell. Just say the word, and they'll appear with breakfast or other cossetting treats to make your stay here that bit more enjoyable.


Casa Howard in Florence was reviewed by Room for Romance
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Dining in
Only breakfast is served (not included in room rate), but it's brought to your room so no need to stir.

Dining out
There are plenty of great places to keep gourmands happy in Florence. Try the famous family-run Coco Lezzone, the equally renowned Cammillo Trattoria and the aptly named Sostanza (meaning "substance".) All are within ten minutes walk.



Where?

Casa Howard

What’s cooking?
Breakfast in bed – freshly squeezed orange juice and oven-fresh cornetti. If you'd sooner have breakfast in a cafe bar, there are plenty just around the corner.



See & Do
Florence was the birthplace of the Renaissance, so this is a city heaving with wonderful churches, art and history. Start your cultural odyssey at the Uffizi (it's a good idea to book a ticket in advance – queues can be horrendous) or the impressive Museo Nazionale del Bargello, bursting sculptures by the likes of Donatello and Verrocchio.

Shop
Florence is also the birthplace and home of Gucci, so it would be sacrilege to leave town without snapping up some designer buys. The city is justly famous for its leather goods you'll find every kind at artisan shops or one of its many markets. Lovers of the more unusual should cross the famous Ponte Vecchio (maybe browsing at some of the jewellers on the bridge) into Oltarno, where craft shops are stocked with handmade local goods.

Spa
Turn up the heat in Casa Howard's Turkish Hammam. It's big enough for five and comes free of charge if you stay in the Garden room.

After dark
Dine out then enjoy a drink in one of Florence's ultra chic bars. Walk it off with a stroll through the historic streets of the centro storico.

Dates
January
See in the new year at the Sfilata dei Canottieri, when medieval rowing boats parade on the River Arno.

Early February
Dress up and don a mask for Tuscany's version of Venice's famous festival in the Carnevale di Viareggio.

June
Enjoy a feast of Italian opera at the Puccini Festival at nearby Torre del Lago.


GETTING THERE

Location
Via della Scala, 50123 Florence

Parking
There's no guest parking but plenty of affordable parking close by.

Trains
Santa Maria Novella station – a 25 minute walk

Taxis
EUR 15-20 from the station

Airport
Florence – 30 minutes, or Pisa (with far more air services) – 80 minutes by direct train.



Rooms and suites
10 rooms, 2 suites and an apartment subject to availability.

Special features
Plush rooms come with wi-fi internet and bold colours. Each has its unique features, and the Game room has a private terrace.

Also…
You'll find Officina Profumo di Santa Maria Novella toiletries, and a Hammam for hire.

ESSENTIAL INFO


Rates guide
EUR 170 - 260

Open/closed
Open all year

Check-in
2:30pm

Check-out
11am

Minimum night stay?
Two nights at weekends, and three nights over public holiday weekends

Breakfast
Continental breakfast is brought to your room until 10am for a supplement of €15.

Room service
There is no room service as such at Casa Howard. instead, you'll be cared for by the resident housekeepers, whether you need a babysitter or wish to book a massage. They will also bring breakfast to your room.

Children
Well behaved youngsters are welcome. The Game room and Play room are designed for families.

Pets
Small dogs are welcome in the Game room.

Air conditioning
Yes – all rooms

Languages
Italian and English

Wedding license?
Wedding parties of up to 20 can be accommodated based on exclusive hire of the house.

Your contact
Massimiliano Leonardi – general manager


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