Helvetia & Bristo is where Florence's historic charm gets a modern-day makeover, and you get treated like royalty.
The Helvetia & Bristol has been rewriting the history of Florentine hospitality since the 1800s. With its recent renovation and expansion, it has remained an iconic attraction that combines the elegant antiquity of the past with the refined beauty of the contemporary.
The hotel exudes classic old-world sophistication, subtly complemented by a profoundly rich modern soul. Helvetia & Bristol is timelessly captivating and charming, hardly ostentatious yet every bit luxurious. All of this is complemented by impeccable service from the team — expect to be spoiled for the duration of your stay.
A Bit of History
Originally a luxurious private residence in Florence, the Helvetia & Bristol embarked on its journey when it was reimagined as a hotel by Giacomo Mosca. Shortly after, the property became a hotspot for seasoned elite travelers, attracting brilliant minds and aristocrats like Igor Stravinsky and Gabrielle D’Annunzio.
State of the Art
Featuring the work of the most prominent Florentine artisans, the hotel boasts glamorous architecture and interiors that showcase masterful craftsmanship and meticulous attention to detail. Antonio Casciani, a collaborator of the Uffizi and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, was entrusted with the restoration of its original bespoke furniture pieces. From the herringbone oak flooring to the ornate chandeliers and cast-iron canopy beds, every detail has been carefully considered and handcrafted, creating an ambience akin to an art gallery within the hotel. It is a delightful treasure trove for discerning travelers, offering exquisite treats in every corner.
The Suite Life
Every room at the Helvetia & Bristol exudes the ambience of a meticulously curated scene from a period film, which is befitting considering its close collaboration with renowned designer Anouska Hempel. The essence of Florence resonates deeply through a purposeful blend of newly restored artisan pieces and a vintage original collection. I found myself reluctant to leave the room as I savored every detail, each accentuating my profound admiration for Italian craftsmanship. It’s hard for me to choose a favorite, but I am torn between the silk shantung adornments on the Italian-made velvet walls and the antique mirrors depicting mid-19th Century Firenze.
And, of course, the hotel’s expansive spa, La Spa, is a highlight in itself. Mens Sana in Corpore Sano — “a healthy mind in a healthy body” — was the inspiration behind its concept, so you can expect nothing less. Undoubtedly the best in Florence, this wellness retreat is the perfect haven to refresh and rejuvenate after a long day of exploring the city of lilies. It offers Roman baths inspired by the opulence of a bygone empire, signature face and body pampering treatments, and other bespoke experiences that are truly unique.
Given my limited time, I opted for the signature Roman bath. This lavish recreation of the Roman bath experience, known as the rituals of the ‘Capitoline of Florentina’, uncovers the most restorative interplay of hot and cold to rebalance your body and mind. A series of other experiences awaits, including a hammam, a Vichy shower, a Finnish sauna, a salt room, and ice baths, just to name a few. All of these are set in a dreamlike environment dominated by soft colors, accentuated by a sophisticated play of light, and completed by a video installation at the end, while you immerse yourself in the multi-sensory pool.
Location, Location, Location
This beautiful luxury hotel is ideally situated in the heart of Florence’s elegant neighborhood, offering a prime location for exploring the city’s cultural treasures. Within a 10-minute walk, guests will find themselves in close proximity to Florence’s oldest landmarks, including the iconic Uffizi Gallery, enchanting Boboli Gardens, majestic Palazzo Strozzi, and the awe-inspiring Brunelleschi’s Dome. These remarkable attractions beckon visitors to immerse themselves in Florence’s rich history and artistic heritage.
Additionally, the hotel’s enviable location places guests just steps away from the upscale shops and boutiques of Via de Tornabuoni, where they can enjoy a luxurious shopping experience, surrounded by the finest brands and exquisite fashion pieces. Helvetia & Bristol serves as the perfect base for a Florentine adventure, providing both convenience and elegance, allowing guests to fully appreciate the charm and allure of this enchanting city.