Travel + Leisure
May 08, 2009

If Continentale, a cocoon-like urban dwelling overlooking Florence's Ponte Vecchio, suits your style like a pair of kitten heels, there's a reason. The 43-room hotel was recently opened by Lungarno, the hospitality division of the Salvatore Ferragamo fashion empire. Built around an 800-year-old tower, the seven-floor mansion embraces design motifs from every era: Faye Heller prints mimic Pop art of the 1960's; a Michela Bönan L-shaped couch in the elevator is a throwback to seventies' lounges; live street scenes from outside the hotel projected on lobby walls are pure post-millennium. Not only does the property cater to the fashion-forward, it's outfitted like them. Curtains, bedspreads, and staff uniforms are cut from signature Ferragamo fabrics. Continentale, 6R Vicolo dell'Oro, Florence; 39-055/27262; www.lungarnohotels.com; doubles from $365.
—Brian Berusch

The Continentale

The hippest of the four Ferragamo-owned Florentine hotels, the Continentale also has an unbeatable location—right over the Ponte Vecchio, a bridge over the Arno lined by teensy medieval shops. The 43 rooms are done in ironic-chic, combining fab retro 1950s designer styling with details that harken back to the Romantic travels of yesteryear with sheer, tent-like curtains around the beds and desks that resemble vintage steamer trunks. More whimsy: The clocks in the breakfast room run backwards, reminding guests that they are on vacation time. Though excellent, some claim service isn’t as personal as at rival establishments.

Room to Book: Rooms 302, 402, 502 and 602 have balconies or window seats overhanging the Arno River.

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