Old and no longer grand
Grand Hotel Baglioni was the last hotel of our Italy tour and the most disappointing. It was old, dark and dusty but our room was large, with an enormous bathroom and comfortable bed.
The wood furniture was battered and faded and in need of a polish. The wood floors were neat but needed a buffing also. Elevators, both of them, were hot, claustrophic and slow.
The triple paned windows had to be left closed. Open them and the street noise was deafening.
The noise was from the nearby train station. Oddly it's one of the advantages of staying here -- the station not the noise. The train station is one block away and another plus is the view from the rooftop breakfast room. It gave a spot on view of the Duomo. Breakfast offered scrambled eggs which was unusual for us as most of our hotel breakfasts were continental -- coffee, cheese, croissants.
The hotel seems popular with international business travelers and conventioners. It's not a place for vacationers unless for some reason you desperately need a place near the train station.
Areas around train stations can be sketchy, sometimes scary, and this is no different. Baglioni straddles the line. Turn right and it's dark narrow streets and small sidewalks, with seedy hotels and turn left go one block and it's designer stores and the lovely and remarkably tranquil Santa Maria Novella church.
We experienced that Florentine attitude in the city but not from Baglioni staff. The staff was helpful from the attentive breakfast crew to the front desk and housekeeping.
The Hotel definitely has some problems but...
I stayed at the Grand Hotel Baglioni for three nights. Upon arrival, we were somewhat warmly greeted by a woman at the front desk. (I say 'somewhat warmly' because in Florence, if they even speak to you or look at you directly I consider that to be 'warm'.) As it was a Saturday night, my friend and I asked if there was anywhere in the area to go to (such as a bar/pub or not too crazy nightclub - I was not the typical tourist wanting to go crazy in Italy) and the woman said she would tell us when we came back downstairs. When we got to our room, everything seemed fine, it was a decent size with a good size bathroom. Then we went back downstairs to ask about where to go. The front desk trainee (Alessandro) insisted on helping us and was extremely unhelpful. Not only could he not tell me where the Accademia was on a map (marked one spot, said no, that's wrong and then proceeded to mark another spot and tell me then that he was unsure), but he was rude when we insisted on speaking to the other woman who worked at the front desk (who probably knew a lot more than he did!). He said that he was the only one who could help (although she was on the other end of the desk). That was our first night. There are two main problems with the hotel - first, the staff can be rude and unhelpful (some are kind and helpful, but don't expect they will be) and most of the time the information desk was not helpful at all when we asked about major sites, such as the Uffizi (as in where it was in relation to the hotel). This is the information desk! The second main problem we had was with their card key system. The doors are old and have been reworked to incorporate the modern card key system and unfortunately it does not work well! The bellman warned us about this and boy was he right! We had to literally almost break down our door every time we wanted to get into our room. Other than that, the hotel has two major things going for it - it is literally across the street from the train station and has a fantastic breakfast spread in a beautiful breakfast room. Despite the problems with my stay, those two positives might be enough for me to go back to this hotel. If you do stay there, please be aware that the service is not so good (they are responsive if you call housekeeping or the front desk but not friendly and not especially helpful if they don't want to be) so be prepared for that Florentine attitude and you'll be fine. Tip: Hotels do not let you use their restrooms - although I asked very politey I encountered the rudest hotel staff I have ever encountered in my life! This hotel is no different - when I was in the lobby at the Baglioni I overheard the person at the front desk proclaiming, "This is not a public restroom!"
Great hotel, room interesting
We enjoyed our stay at this hotel. We had one of the largest rooms in the hotel for our family of four and were very happy with it except for the floors which creaked so loudly it was impossible to tip toe around once the children were asleep. The bathroom was lovely. The public spaces are grand.
It is located walking distance to the Duomo and shopping. The breakfast was wonderful. The restaurant was fully booked for dinner while we were there so it must be good. The staff were friendly but busy. The hotel seemed to be flooded with Americans. A good value for the price.
Don't bother.......stay in a more modern facility!
I was expecting a 4 star hotel. Dark and dismal and room was substandard rain poured down our walls and ceiling the first two nights. Noise was loud could hear people in next rooms. Very disappointing. The only saving grace was the rooftop restaurant. Excellent food and ambience was nice. Front desk personnel very short and rude our entire stay. Definitely got the impression they did not appreciate Americans.
4 star rating, 3 star standard, 2 star staff
This hotel has a great location - right next to the train & bus stations as well as tour buses. Wonderful Giotto and Masaccio just across the road in the church. Easy walking distance to all the tourist spots. That's pretty much all in its favour. The hotel IS dark, but we could live with that, the lift very slow, but that was made up for by some fascinating historical photos of Hitler and Mussolini (!!!!) visiting Florence that decorated the walls that you could look at while you waited.
The room was pleasant, if dark, the wooden floor was OK unless you had someone arriving in the middle of th night upstairs in which case it was definitely NOT OK. The triple (actuely 5 separate layers of windows and doors in our room) glazing worked very well at blocking out the street noise. But what was going on at breakfast?? The carpet was constantly filthy with crumbs and bits of organic detritus that stayed the full week we were there. The food at breakfast was VERY average and there was no day-to-day variety. The roof top restaurant (as opposed to the 5th floor restaurant mentioned in other reviews was not in use for the whole week - which given its use as a major selling point was disappointing.
The reception staff were helpful once you overcame a (probably cultural) reticence to do anything contructive to help. The fact our luggage had not arrived after 4 days only produced a shrugging of shoulders and a pessimisitic approach to phoning the helpline numers at the airport. I suppose the fact this seemed to have affected at least 3 other parties means this is not an uncommon experience.
In conclusion 250 Euros per night should, even by Florentine prices, have resulted in something much better than this. I suggest you try the Hotel Majestic next door if you like the location - it can't be any worse than this. This may sound overly negative and it is not intended to, but there was simply nothing that made you look forward to returning to the hotel each day, other than the prospect of a comfortable bed. Very Average indeed.
Like a castle inside
Well, what can I say, the princess has finally arrived in her proper surroundings! Having first booked to stay at the Sheraton hotel then turned up there to be dissapointed on a number of counts. So we jumped in a taxi, headed into Florence, and when we liked the look of this place walked right in and made a booking.
The hotel isn't that spectacular from the street, it's really near the main station (about a minutes walk) which isn't a good sign in most towns as that sort of area seems to be a congregating place for unsavory characters, but this didn't appear to pose a problem throughout our stay.
There always seemed to be about 8 staff milling around in reception but definitively only ever one who could help.
I know some other reviewers have had problems with noise in this hotel, but we didn't experience any at all. We did notice when the maids were cleaning that a couple of the rooms were very small, but some were exceptionally big too, so I guess that's just the luck of the draw!
The inside of the building is decorated very traditionally, the walls aren't straight, the walls are painted in a mottled design, similar to tea stain, and the furniture tops off this olde-worlde charm. If you like quirkyness and individuality in your surroundings then this is definitely the place for you.
Our room, on the third floor, was relatively small, but comfortable. It consisted of a bedroom area, with desk, tv minibar, safe... all the usual and expected stuff. The bathroom was well equipped with bath, shower (with a huge head!) sink, toilet, bidet, shaving mirror, and a plethora of toiletries, including a handy pack of tissues which were useful when we went out. The only bad thing was that the water was too cold for me to bother with on our last day. In the entrance hall, complete with it's own coat stand, was, as far as I am concerned, the piece de resistance - a walk in wardrobe 2m x 2m, all concealed by a standard wardrobe frontage. And this was what made the room a reasonable size - we could tuck our suitcases away in there, get dressed in there etc etc, and this meant that the bedroom area was perfectly adequate for it's main purpose. One word of warning on the room. The floors had a beautiful polished wooden finish, and as with many hotels there were small mats placed either side of the be. My fiance and I are both of a somewhat clumsy nature, and, having noticed that we were not only three floors up, but that this meant there was a sheer drop to a small courtyard below our window, and my finace having skidded across the floor into the (luckily shut) window, we removed the mats with much haste and hid them somewhere that they wouldn't be re-introduced to us by the hotel staff!
The roof terrace is worth a visit whether you stay here or not, I doubt that many other places have such spectacular views over Florence. We didn't eat dinner in the restaurant, but we did go onto the terrace for drinks. There was a guy singing and playing the piano, it was fine while he was singing, but his piano playing was somewhat out of tune to say the least, and we ended up giggling!
If you want a nice restaurant nearby, Ciro and Sons, (turn right out of the hotel and take the road ahead of you out of the square, the restaurant is at the next juntion you come to, about 2 mins walk, and it was so good we wnet back twice, which is something we never usually do! It's a family run restaurant, the service is worth it alone, and the prices are extremely reasonable too.
The breakfast in the hotel was good with cereals, yogurts, fruit, meat, cheese, eggs, bread, pastries, coffee and juices, although the waiter did get a bit funny when my fiance brought a whole bottle (there were about 10 out) of water to our table rather than keep running back up to refill his glass.
Old, dark and depressing, stay away !
An old hotel where the rooms are dark, badly decorated and depressing. If you wish to feel as you were in an old monastery like a monk, that is where you have to go but be sure to stay in your room because the lobby and the restaurant are pretty OK. Make sure to chose another hotel to enjoy your stay in Florence. By the way, I am also a European (like a UK lady who insulted Americans in a review), so if you are American don't let you impress by the non-sence of some good reviews, just chose a better hotel.
I loved this hotel. My room was larger than whole of my Paris apartment, internal decoration is fab, breakfast was great in a roof top restaurant with excellent views. I would stay there again.
Location is good and most staff very helpful. Air-conditioning turned off in October ( in 70's ) and we were bitten by insects because we had the window open. We were offered to move to another room half way into our stay.
A large charge put on our account from another room and we only noticed on return and a refund being given. Would not return to this Hotel. Florence superb - visited many times and will again.