My family and I just returned from a trip to Italy and really enjoyed our stay at the Hotel Maxim in Firenze. It was a little tough to find a quad room in Firenze but this hotel suited us very nicely.
The front desk staff were friendly and helpful, making museum reservations and recommending excellent restaurants. Breakfast (continental) was very satisfying. We used their complimentary computer for internet access to check train schedules and send E-mails home. The location was fabulous, between the Duomo and the Piazza della Signore (Uffizi). Quiet and clean.
We stayed at the Hotel Maxim...
We stayed at the Hotel Maxim which cost about 45.00 GBP for two people - one night (the hotel was 4 star) and this was in July.
45.00 GBP (Pounds Sterling) Was not full in July - apart from that this is an excellent chain of hotels good facilities and service.
Hotel Maxim exceeded my expectations
Before I arrived at Hotel Maxim, I knew that I'd like this hotel... as they had offered to drop their price down a bit for me (as they were just over my budget). And they obviously didn't have to do that. My trip was in May, a very busy time, and this was months beforehand, so its not like they were worried about a room going empty.
The hotel was in a PERFECT location. You walk outside and you can see the Duomo on your left. And if you can see it, you can definitely hear the bells ringing every morning! Which was actually very nice! It was a very nice reminder that you were in Florence! (plus it helped as an alarm). And besides the Duomo, you are in the center of the historic center.. everything is within walking distance (Accadamie, Uffizi, Ponte Vecchio, Palazzo Vecchio, the train station). Actually the street the hotel is on is pedestrian only. (except for cabs)
The hotel is right next door to the Disney store, so that helped as a beacon for me to remember which door I was looking for (as they all kinda look alike and the Hotel Maxim sign isn't that big) To enter the building, there is a buzzer you hit and it will automatically unlock the door. There's a very small elevator that was built in the center of the wide stairwell. From my memory, the hotel is on the 4th floor (which would actually be the 5th for us).. and there are other hotels in the building. Once exiting the elevator, you'll see the automatic glass door for the hotel a couple steps up on your left. Reception sits just past these doors to the left.
One thing I wasn't aware of before checking in, is that the hotel locks its front doors at 1am. The receptionist told me that they had a 4 digit code that unlocks the doors in case you do come in after 1am. But I mistakenly didn't ask for it when I left that evening, as I didn't think I'd be out that late. But of course I was... and I felt like I was Cinderella leaving the ball trying to rush back to my hotel before 1am. I arrived at 12:55am and the doors were locked. And me having a bit too much wine, started banging on the door saying "its not 1am yet". The night clerk opened the door.. and needless to say he wasn't too pleased. And needless to say, the next evening when he saw me he gave me the 4 digit code. Another situation I wasn't aware of, but you'd think I'd be use to now as its very common in Europe.. they want you to leave your key at reception when you leave. The receptionist didn't tell me this when I was checking in.. but be aware.
So the hotel has a very interesting layout.. its not just a straight hallway with doors on either side.. its this winding hallway that zig zags around the rooms. I felt a bit like I was going through a maze. In order to get to my room, I had to zig zag through the entire hallway, past nice windows & seating areas, then past the breakfast room, up a back stairwell made of marble & rod iron to the floor upstairs, and then take the hallway to the back.. down a narrow corridor with only one door at the end.. my door, my narrow door. I asked for a quiet room in the back/courtyard, and I got it. Except for listening to the Duomo bells and these crazy birds divebombing outside, I rarely heard any other noises. An occassional noise from the hallway, but that is it.
I had a single room, but I had a nice surprise of having a "double" bed. There was a nice big window into the courtyard/wide airshaft. Large armoire with a safe, full length mirror, blowdryer. (hmm, but no bidet) :-) My particular room only had a small shower, no bathtub. But thats absolutely fine for me. Water pressure was perfect.. no problems with that. Heck, they even provided shower caps!
The free breakfast was quite nice. A very polite woman "works" the room, making sure the tables are cleaned and have all their linens on them. And she's always stocking the buffet.. which includes the usual-- cereals, croissants, rolls, jams, yogurt (my favorite being the banana), then there's orange juice & coffeemakers.
I loved Florence more then I actually expected to and if I return, which I hope that I do.. I would like to stay at this hotel again.
Oh and as a restaurant tip-- try Caruso Jazz. Sadly I can't remember the street that its on, but its on a side street between Ponte Vecchio & Palazzo Vecchio. It wasn't a "tourist trap" where they overcharge you and take advantage of you (which I did experience in another restaurant that was in front of Palazzo Vecchio-- I made the mistake of ordering a Coke Light and I was charged 7.50 Euros!!!) But anyway.. besides good food and reasonable prices, this restaurant has so much ambience.. vaulted ceilings, the part of the floor I was above was actually all glass over greenery, the place is lit up by candles, artwork of jazz musicians line the wall, and they have a wonderful jazz band (made up of cute boys!) :-) I truly loved this place.
My husband and I stayed at the Hotel Maxim for two nights in April. The location couldn't be better. Both the room and the bathroom were very clean. The room was a little dark, but otherwise it was fine. The breakfast was more than adequate and the staff very friendly and helpful. The price is great, especially when you compare it to other hotels in the area. I would definitely stay at Hotel Maxim again!
Not bad for 80 Euros/night
After 3 days in Rome, my husband and I stayed in Florence at Hotel Maxim (based on Rick Steve's recommendation). This is not a fancy hotel -- and we didn't expect luxury. It is a bit industrial and utilitarian with not a lot of amenities but that was just fine -- until we both caught nasty colds and had to spend a bit more time in the room trying to get some rest. NICE MATTRESS! I think it was foam and I liked it a lot, but our room was on the first floor (one flight above the street) and faced an inner courtyard and we could hear every word reverberating off the courtyard walls at all hours of the day and night. THAT was annoying. If we had known, I would have asked for a room NOT facing this courtyard. This hotel is conveniently located, but the street is extremely busy (people not cars) and it is next door to a Disney Store which tends to attract large crowds of teens and 20-somethings who stand in front of the hotel and block the entrance. The staff were very friendly and helpful and there is a computer with internet connection (but no printer). All in all, this wasn't bad for 80 Euros per night, but if I return to Florence, I think I would try another hotel just to experience another place.
Excellent value for your money
Stayed there during the All Saint’s weekend. Excellent location, very affordable. Pretty basic breakfast, nice bathroom standard with shower cabinet, OK room size (which might sometimes be on the smaller side in Italy). Friendly and helpful staff. Stayed on the first floor, which supposedly is more modern than the third floor... Will definitely choose this hotel again. Free Internet access with two PC:s available to customers is also a great thing.
ok. nothing special
pay for what you get
basic rooms and breakfast, but very clean, loveli staff and a great location
probably would stay again but may shop around for somewhere else first
It rained the entire time....except at night
"Rain, rain, go away...."
Upon arrival in Florence by train, first thing we did was find the taxi line, because we knew it could be a wait. Rain, it was coming down by the bucketfull, but forcast to improve by the evening.
Taxis were plentiful, clean, and the line was very orderly, so in no time we were off and running. We were staying at the Hotel Maxim, which is located only a stones throw from the Duomo front steps. The hotel was found through the Rick Steves Italy book, which has proven itself time and time again. If you are planning a trip to Italy, especially from North America, buy a copy there before you leave, because finding it here in English is difficult.
What we try to do first time visiting a city, is find sleeping accomodation as close to the centre as possible. This way, we can wander, get our bearings, explore, and still get back to the room and change, have a quick nap, and begin again. It works for us.
Our hotel is located on Vis Calz, and is literally only a minute away from the Duomo. Immediately outside the door, there are shops galore, restaurants, and we were only a short distance from open air markets.
"Uffizi Gallery....and it was indoors"
The Uffizi Gallery, well worth the visit, was less than ten minutes at a slow stroll, as was Ponte Vecchio. May I suggest you leave your Platinum cards tucked away under the mattress in your room, because I'm sure they are safer there, than in your hip pocket once you browse the shops on this bridge overlooking the River Arno. Gold, Gold, and more gold.
Hey, it was just a suggestion.
We found food to be the biggest expense in Florence. Our budget was destroyed after the second night, so, plan accordingly. There are many take-away places that are cheaper, but, being the romantic that I am, we chose to sit and watch the rain. (and dry out)
During the day, we hoisted our rain shields, and learned how to walk on cobblestone streets among hundreds of other wet umbrella toting travellers, without getting the run-off from the passers-by down our necks. No easy feat, and we barely accomplished it.
Florence is where we learned that it is expected that you leave your wet umbrella in the container beside the door of every establishment you enter. This container, up until now, had been my depository for used tissues. I didn't know, and Rick Steves forgot to tell us.
Just a tip.....I don't want you to experience an angry finger flapping business owner following you out their door, saying foreign sounding things. I want to spare you that grief.
Florence is a beautiful city, wet or dry, and you need a good four days to explore it properly. Accademia alone, needs, and deserves, a half day, and that is without rental of the cassette player. With, add another few hours.
The statue of Michelangelo's David, is nothing what I had expected. I'd seen pictures, I'd read about it, but, to be frank, I expected a naked guy with curly hair, but not much more.
I am now a believer. I must have culture, because I loved it. From every angle, every line, muscle, position, absolutely perfect. I can not figure out how one man could plan something that big, that good, and how it would feel to chip it away, day after day. One slip !! And this done on a chunk of marble that other artists said was flawed.
Have your hotel book your reservation for admission. Do not miss it.