Hotel Helvetia & Bristol Firenze: A Timeless Gem in Florence

ByAndrea Thompson

July 1, 2024

The Hotel Helvetia & Bristol, nestled in the heart of Florence, exudes timeless elegance. Since 1885, it has enchanted guests, making it a true gem.

History & Ownership

Originally a 19th-century townhouse, this was the first grand hotel in Florence. It has been part of the Starhotels Collezione since 2016 and is currently a member of the Leading Hotels of the World, Virtuoso, and Altagamma.

Since the late 19th century, Hotel Helvetia & Bristol has been offering travellers from around the world a luxury home in the heart of Florence. With the charm of the Renaissance it has welcomed the elite during the “Grand Tour” and world famous writers have frequented the Winter Gardens for inspiration and long term residence.

Location & Appearance

Situated merely a five-minute stroll from the Duomo and Ponte Vecchio, the hotel is nestled within a historic palazzo. The refined exterior is a prelude to the opulence inside. The Bristol Wing, crafted by Anouska Hempel, showcases modern suites, while the Helvetia Wing boasts restored furnishings, antiques, and art from local Italian craftsmen, including Moleria Locchi, Murano glassmakers, Rubelli, Antico Setificio Fiorentino, Fiacchini, Anichini, and il Bronzetto.

In the construction of 25 new rooms and suites within the building next to the historic hotel, once the Banco di Roma headquarters, Anouska Hempel realized President Elisabetta Fabri’s vision of a novel, captivating hotel. Designed to be a home away from home for guests, it features, among other amenities, internal courtyards and terraces overlooking the rooftops of Florence.

Gravina Parquet, a company based in Puglia, was commissioned to create approximately 2,300 square meters of herringbone oak flooring with a scalloped border for each room of the Helvetia & Bristol. Each plank was meticulously processed by three skilled artisans who cut, beveled, and finished them with natural oils.

The hotel’s damasks, trimmings, and velvets were produced by Antico Setificio Fiorentino, once owned by Emilio Pucci and now by the Ricci family. Celebrated globally for its high-quality textiles, each piece has been handwoven since 1786 on historic looms that were once the property of distinguished Florentine families.

Rooms & Bathrooms

The rooms at Helvetia & Bristol are a harmonious blend of old-world charm and modern comfort. Luxurious chandeliers illuminate wooden furnishings, creating a unique character. Marble bathrooms, air conditioning, and flat-screen satellite TVs complete the experience and some with beath taking views of the city.

Italian marble bathrooms feature Monsoon couples showers, deep soaking or standalone Devon & Devon bathtubs, with heated towel racks, fluffy bathrobes and slippers

Amenities & Wellness

The hotel boasts the largest luxury spa in the historic centre, spanning 540 square meters. The wellness centre includes a caldarium, tepidarium, sudatorium, frigidarium, and two spectacular spa pools together with a fitness centre and private gardens to relax.

Situated in the Bristol Wing, Cibrèo Ristorante & Cocktail Bar presents a unique menu inspired by Italian cuisine. A striking yellow Siena marble counter is the centrepiece of the cocktail bar. The Bristol Winter Gardens, an emblematic area featuring an authentic Liberty-stained glass ceiling, hosts private events and cooking classes. Adjacent to the Winter Gardens, the Tinello, or informal dining room, is designed to evoke the essence of a traditional Tuscan house. For a more laid-back option, the Cibrèo Café offers dishes made with classic, fresh, sustainable ingredients.

Things to Do

Explore the nearby Via de Tornabuoni high-fashion shopping street, visit the iconic Duomo, and stroll along the Arno River. Don’t miss the nearby Uffizi Gallery and the historic Ponte Vecchio

Why Go There?

Helvetia & Bristol offers an unrivalled blend of history, elegance, and central location. Whether you’re a culture enthusiast, a luxury seeker, or a food lover, this hotel caters to all.

Hotel Helvetia & Bristol Firenze is where history meets luxury, and every detail reflects the essence of Florence itself.