It is hard to fault this stunning property. It has all that one hopes for from a city hotel but rarely gets. Vast gardens, amazing views, a splendid outdoor pool, luxury spa, excellent restaurant but most importantly proximity to Florence.
In terms of location, Villa Cora sits majestically in the hills above the city meaning it has splendid views but it is also close enough for guests to wander into Florence on foot. The walk will take an easy 15-minutes through charming scenery (the Boboli gardens offer one route in season) with you emerging right on the river Arno, close to Ponte Vecchio.
The staff will make you feel at home from the moment you arrive to check-in at the beautiful lobby. Be sure to pop into the Sala degli Specchi ballroom to start your stay in style. Mind you the Hall of Cards and White Hall are equally charming places to relax with an Aperol Spritz in hand.
Decor wise expect rich colours, lavish fabrics, marble fireplaces and painted ceilings - all continued even in the annex stable building which now houses more bedrooms and suites. Two floors of the main building offer a choice of the "Rose" or "Moorish" rooms which couldn't be more different. Rose rooms are bright and airy with floral patterns and even a rose embroidered robe for ladies awaits. The next level up with the Moorish rooms means darker colours, lots of wood and inlay and delicate mosaic tiling.
In another annex the restaurant sits beside the pool, with breakfast, lunch and dinner served here when weather permits. Otherwise diners move inside. On certain evenings the hotel conjures up a barbecue feast offering a myriad spread of locally sourced meats - everything from Tuscan sausages to Florentine steak as well as fresh seafood.
Beneath the stable building is a superb spa with small gym, tepidarium, sauna and hammam. With four treatment rooms, the SPA offers oriental and European massages as well as signature treatments from the range of beauty guru Sarah Chapman.
Grand Hotel Villa Cora is indeed very grand but without being too stuffy or formal. Instead it is welcoming and wonderful and the perfect place for a longer sojourn to Florence when the desire to sightsee is equalled by a desire to secure some much deserved rest and relaxation.