Personal and intimate, with uniquely designed rooms and a genuine Florence feel, this discreet pied-à-terre guesthouse made us feel like staying at a relaxed apartment of a stylish, slightly eccentric friend.
Casa Howard Florence lacks traditional hotel odds and ends: there’s no concierge, no porter to pick up bags, not even a receptionist.
The idea was to set up a guesthouse that would be the direct opposite of impersonal hotels, where guests are encouraged to feel as though they are invited to a private home. And it really does feel like a Florentine home from home.
Owned by the fashion designer Jennifer Howard and entrepreneur Massimiliano Leonardi di Casalino, Casa Howard Florence is set in a historical building in the very heart of Florence.
Casa Howard is filled with an eclectic mix of antiques from the family vaults and objects of modern design—arranged with an emphasis on strong colors and quality fabrics.
A collection of 123 different fabrics was used when decorating—no surprise, given that the owner’s father was a well-known textile designer.
Romantic guest rooms
The size and themes of Casa Howard’s 13 rooms vary quite a bit. Individually decorated, each brims with its own, particular character. Some rooms retain the original parquet flooring, furniture, and mantelpieces, some are quirky and fun.
There is a room for literature lovers called The Library Room, furnished with wall-to-wall shelves filled with books (in English), another is for guests wishing to bring their dogs (Terrace room). One of the rooms was designed with young families in mind (Play Room), equipped with a private climbing wall.
Our favorite was the Fireplace Room, with its enormous bathroom, supplied with Santa Maria Novella bath goodies and a TV above the clawfoot bathtub. Another fave is the owners’ smart duplex Studio (only available when they’re away), with a classic spiral staircase, comfy sitting room, kitchenette, and patio access.
Italian mod cons
Continuing with the non-hotel concept, the breakfast is served only in the bedrooms and is—typically for Italy—very simple, in a good way. A freshly squeezed orange juice, a toast with butter and homemade jam and honey from the private Tuscan farm, a fresh fruit, excellent coffee or tea in Indian glasses, everything served in Ginori china — and that’s about it. Perfect.
Otherwise, Casa Howard offers the regular amenities expected in a good hotel (or a fashionable friend’s house): free Wifi, a Nespresso coffee machine in the communal room as well as advice and recommendations on where to go, shop and eat in Florence.
Check availability for Casa Howard Florence: Booking.com | Hotels.com | Expedia or see what others think on TripAdvisor.