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Villa San Michele in Florence, Italy
My wife and I stayed at San Michele for two nights in Sept., 2003. Upon arrival, we were dumbfounded by the sweeping view of Florence from the hilltop location in Fiesole. We had reserved a regular double room, which was exorbitantly expensive, but which we were willing to pay for for the two night experience of staying there.
On a whim, upon check in, I asked if they had any suites available, fully expecting to pay the extra price. After a few moments, we were advised that we were being upgraded to the Michaelangelo Suite, their largest and most luxurious accomodation, for the same price which also included breakfast each day and one gourmet dinner. (It never hurts to ask for an upgrade!)
From San Michele, we were taking a train to Venice. They advised me that they would return our rental car for us, presented us with the train tickets I had requested via e-mail and offered to drive us to the train station upon our departure from Florence. I thought to myself, now that's service. I have no anxiety about what could be a complicated departure from Florence, and I haven't even checked in yet.
The Michelangelo Suite
With a flourish, they escorted us to our room where, upon entering, you could hear both of our jaws hitting the ground. It was positively baronial! It stretched the entire length of the front of the Villa and measured about 20×60 (which was much larger than our apartment back home).
The ceilings were 17′ high, fireplace was big enough for three people to sit in and we had 3 huge windows with unobstructed views of Florence lying below us. Magnificent is an understatement.
The bathroom, (actually 2 bathrooms,his and hers) contained a Jacuzzi tub for 4 people. The room was graced with a huge bouquet of fresh lilies and, shortly thereafter, a waiter arrived with a chilled bottle of spumonte and a tray of various cheeses and olives, compliments of the conceirge. We spent about an hour in a daze just sitting around the room wondering what we had done to deserve this before we could bring ourselves to unpack or even think about what to do next.
The Pool at the Villa
We had our price included dinner in our room that night. Room service, yes, but an unbelievable dining experience nonetheless. They proceeded to serve us a four course, gourmet dinner complete with linens, china, crystal, silver, white glove service and candlelight in our room. The waiters were back and forth to our room at least 5 times setting up the table and delivering various courses. They piped in classical music and the setting was complete. It was so amazing that I couldn't even concentrate on the food which was marvelous. I felt like I was living a dream.
The next day was spent lounging at the beautiful pool gasping at the grounds, the remarkable views of Florence from every angle and the manicured loveliness of San Michele. The refined beauty of this place is simply breathtaking and unsurpassed, at least in my experience. Everything was top notch and we actually started feeling strange about the staff continually fawning over us.
The Breakfast Area
Our room also included a breakfast buffet every morning, or room service. Unimpressed with the breakfast buffets at the other places we stayed, we had our breakfast in our room both days, which was great.
However, on the morning we checked out, we caught a glimpse of their buffet. Wow! There were two tables about 20′ long each set up with every breakfast food imaginable, and seating on the spectacular loggia overlooking the city and rolling hills beyond. We were so impressed and sorry that we had missed it that we actually sat down and had a second breakfast at the buffet that morning before we left.
In the end, despite our huge bill, we actually felt like we had gotten the most for our money. I don't know that I will ever have the means to stay here again, but it is surely an experience that I will always treasure and I would recommend to anyone who truly wants to treat themsleves. A very special place indeed!