Inside Haute Living’s Beautiful Florentine Experience At Baglioni Relais Santa Croce

In the heart of Florence, the city’s only Relais & Châteaux property lies: Baglioni Relais Santa Croce. This summer, Haute Living had the pleasure of experiencing the magical property first hand, during a trip to the Tuscan capital.

Baglioni relais Santa Croce

The hotel is eye-catching and enchanting, as it is immediately apparent that the 18th century Palazzo walls have been holding a lot of  history and untold stories for hundreds of years. The common areas are enveloped by frescoed ceilings and are gorgeously-appointed  with decor and furnishings that are both comfortable and high-end. After relishing in the reception areas, we made our way to our designated suite, en route to which we witnessed on the top floor of the hotel, a viewing window into the historic wooden trusses that support the building structure, made from Leonardo da Vinci‘s original designs.

Baglioni relais Santa Croce

Though the historic air of the property was a huge draw, the sizable suite was completely reworked to reflect all the modern luxuries and amenities that one would expect from a five-star property; in fact, one of the first observations we made upon exploring the entire interior of the property was how well it married its rich culture with contemporary finishes, with the exact, proportionate ratio to ensure guests felt they were, in fact, enjoying a high-end stay in a historic property.

Baglioni relais Santa Croce

The most impressive part about the suite was easy to choose. The spacious, private terrace had an absolutely jaw-dropping view of the nearby Basilica di Santa Croce. Each morning, we enjoyed a tea on the terrace while enjoying the stunning sight, accompanied by hourly Church bells that were particularly elaborate at certain hours, namely at noon.

Baglioni relais Santa Croce

Staff in the hotel was professional, helpful and friendly. Coming in and out of the property, we were always pleasantly greeted by any staff member with whom we crossed paths, while concierge staff was able to swiftly and appropriately provide accurate information about the local area, including the best restaurants for our needs, as well as information about the onsite concert that was taking place on one of the evening’s of our stay.

The concert that took place during our stay was at the Sala della Musica, or the Music Room, which is one of the most unique and impressive areas of the Baglioni Relais Santa Croce. It holds all the grandiose that it surely did in its original form, with its oversized fireplace, fine furnishings, three-meter crystal chandelier suspended from the ceiling and of course, the frescoed ceilings. The sweeping high ceilings are particularly noteworthy here, as they are one of the main reasons for the elevated acoustics of the room, and they are also what allow for the expansive wall panels, which are removed during performances for musicians to sit inside and play their respective instruments.

Baglioni relais Santa Croce

Where we had a direct view of the Sala della Musica and learned of its history was at the adjacent, onsite restaurant called Guelfi e Ghibellini. Our server/sommelier was the perfect combination of being attentive and allowing us our privacy, though his specialty was clearly displayed in his food and wine knowledge. He described each dish to perfection, including intricate details like how long the chosen cheeses were aged and where the red wine from the reduction sauces came from. He was able to make helpful wine recommendations, and even educated us about how to differentiate between those red wine blends that are truly worth trying and those that are not. He even suggested a lesser known wine—especially lesser known in the U.S.— from the local area that we would enjoy at a later time.

Baglioni relais Santa Croce

To take the trip to the next level, the hotel set up a special experience for us at the nearby Aquaflor Firenze perfumery. A concierge staff member met with us at the hotel lobby and walked us across the Basilica di Santa Croce, where an inconspicuous entrance for Aquaflor was situated. Inside, we were greeted by one of its staff members, who guided us through a detailed tour of the surprisingly expansive, historic space, which housed a plethora of perfumes, scented candles, soaps and so much more, all of which were handmade onsite using traditional techniques. We were invited to even create our own bespoke scent, led by an expert Aquaflor perfumer.

There are several separate elements that can add to a guest’s hotel experience, elevating it from good to great. But at Baglioni Relais Santa Croce in Florence, each and every element was so incredibly flawless and extraordinary, that there was not one standout highlight; rather, it was all components coming together, that made for a truly memorable and more importantly, a truly magical Florentine experience.

All images courtesy of Baglioni Relais Santa Croce. For more information, please visit its website by clicking here.

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