“On and off the tourist map, we build an experience of Italy's beauty, the one you know and the best-kept secrets you didn't. We are a team of people whose mission is to make the impossible, possible,” explained Diego Roggero, Manager of Portrait Firenze in Florence, Italy. In an interview, we discussed the history of the property, their most luxurious suites, the innovative menu at on-site bistro Caffè dell’Oro and much more.
Tell me a little bit about the history and location of Portrait Firenze.
At the beginning of the 19th century, precisely where the building that now houses Portrait Firenze lies, there was once one of Florence’s most elegant hotels: The Grand Hotel Royal de l’Arno, a prestigious hotel overlooking the Ponte Vecchio and Arno River offering a wealth of luxury and magnificence and for more than a century. They hosted the Grand Duchess Anna of Russia, Charles Dickens, Henry James, and many others.
The events of the Second World War in 1944 put an end not only to the business, but the building itself. It was reborn after the war and used for various purposes, until its reopening as a prestigious Lungarno Collection hotel. After being renovated it opened in 2014 as Portrait Firenze, reliving the splendor of days gone by and offering a new concept of hospitality to today’s guests.
What makes the Portrait Vecchio Suite and the Portrait Penthouse Floor so luxurious?
The 275 Sqm of the Portrait Penthouse Floor is comprised of four sixth floor luxury suites, including the Ponte Vecchio Suite. It can be as private or as social as you like: you have the full top floor to enjoy Florence tailored to your own tastes. Next to the iconic Ponte Vecchio, and above the river, it is a more chic city-center dwelling than a hotel suite. On the terrace, you can sip wine framed in the dancing lights on the river, or be enchanted by the rose tints of the sun on the hills of Fiesole. The floor has a maximum occupancy of 10, with a total of 5 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms and 4 tastefully designed lounge areas. The suites overlook both the Arno and the internal courtyard, affording glimpses of this magical city from different perspectives.
The Ponte Vecchio Suite is 120 sqm, with two large bedrooms, two closets and a spacious lounge and dining area as well as a more intimate lounge opening off the main living room. From this room, you can enjoy breakfast while watching the sunrise, or rest quietly above the maddening city streets below.
What dining options are available on-site, and what are some of your favorite dishes and cocktails?
Starred Executive Chef Peter Brunel designs the menus served up at Caffè dell’Oro, the bistro next to the Portrait Firenze. Here you can discover his creative menus and delight in light and vibrant reinterpretations of traditional dishes from Italy’s regions. This all-day-dining Italian bistro in Florence has the most beautiful view over the Ponte Vecchio. It is a “salon with kitchen”, warm and inviting, starting with breakfast.
Our favorite dishes on the menu include the special Sardinian gnocchi served with tomato, mussel and dried fish roe, and one of the signature desserts is the Classic Tuscan Tiramisu, which you can order at any moment of the day. We also have a Kids Corner menu, featuring many wonderful dishes, including the children’s favorite, Pappa rice balls.
Which signature spa treatments might you recommend guests for the ultimate experience in relaxation and rejuvenation?
The Spa offers a wide selection of treatments and massages to choose from, created exclusively by comfort zone, appropriate for guests who love to take a long moment of relax or for those with little time available.
The Tranquility Pro Sleep Massage is an innovative massage acting on three different sensorial pathways: olfactive, tactile and hearing, for profound relaxation. The synergy of a unique blend of essential oils, the bespoke Tranquility™ Sound, Ayurveda and Indonesian Sea Malay skills combined with the use of soft brushes, gently guide the way to achieve a quiet and peaceful mind and body state, favoring sleep and helping to recover jetlag side-effects.
Some of our spa treatments may be performed in the privacy of your room, and our concierge is at your disposal for organizing the in-suite preferred massage.
What are some of the exclusive experiences organized and arranged by Lungarno that you would recommend to guests?
The Lungarno Collection holds the keys to unlock the most unique and exclusive experiences in Italy. Our activities are custom tailored to our guest’s personal tastes and hobbies. We can organize a guided tour in and around the city with a professional Leica photographer for those who want to see the city from a different perspective, or organize private tours to marvel at the skill and craftsmanship displayed by master silversmiths and historic jeweler makers. We provide the opportunity to live the archetypically Italian dream and escape to the finest Tuscan olive groves and vineyards, and give your children the gift of unforgettable memories with exclusive VIK outings. On and off the tourist map, we build an experience of Italy's beauty, the one you know and the best-kept secrets you didn't. We are a team of people whose mission is to make the impossible, possible.