Hotel Helvetia & Bristol
The views are the trump card at Florence’s Hotel Helvetia & Bristol, where all 67 rooms and suites look onto the Renaissance city. It’s also a convenient home base for exploring, as its location, in front of Palazzo Strozzi, provides easy access to the historic core, luxury boutiques (including Italian brands Salvatore Ferragamo and Tods), and Michelangelo’s masterpieces in the Accademia Gallery. Just over the Ponte Vecchio are the Boboli Gardens behind the Pitti Palace, but after sightseeing, there’s nothing better than a hotel lovingly adorned with the riches of Florentine aesthetic tradition: 17th- and 18th-century inlaid desks and bedside tables; fine laces, silks, and brocades; and travertine and Carrara marble touches in the bathrooms. End the day at the hotel’s Hostaria Bibendum bar, which looks onto the city, and even the wariest of travelers will go to sleep feeling like Renaissance royalty.