Considered by many to be the crown jewel of designer Salvatore Ferragamo’s small chain of hotels, the Continentale in Florence pays homage to the happy-go-lucky feel of the 50s and 60s for a totally zeitgeist experience in the middle of the romantic Italian city. Interior designer Michele Bönan was “looking for ways to tap into the senses through music, light and aroma” and approached the re-design of the 14th century property with a wish to strike the perfect balance between harmony and irony. Upon entering the hotel, guests find themselves in a quiet envelope of white-painted walls and floors in light-grey pietra serena, a stone native to Florence. A successful blend of zebrano wood and steel, cerused oak, floor lamps by Haans Group and vintage pieces – including Nanna Jorgen Ditzel’s 1957 wicker Egg armchair suspended from the ceiling – complemented by Bönan’s custom designed creations gives you the perfect taste of what is to follow. The 2nd floor is composed of further public areas, including Ferragamo’s personal favourite the “relaxation room” complete with five chaise longues, the cocktail lounge with an acrylic bar that glows alternatively in pink, orange or simply white. In addition there is a cosy breakfast room featuring a pink wool-covered banquette and Arne Jacobsen’s tables. In the private domain from the 3rd floor upwards, 43 guestrooms are lovingly appointed with sheer-draped beds, light wood furniture on oak floors and flowing curtains that catch the Tuscan light. Oak desks and chairs are trimmed with leather and steel to evoke the feeling of a 19th-century steamer trunk. Simple and functional bathrooms gleam in white with Corian sinks elegantly perched on oak bases. Reassuringly retro, the black and white photomontages from the studio of Faye Heller in the reception and public spaces complete the gloriously modern look that goes hand in hand with a positive mid-century feel. Photographs taken by fashion designers such as Pucci and Fabiani in the Florence of the 50s and 60s adorn the guestrooms. The Sky Lounge De'Consorti is surely the crowning glory of the Continentale, offering spectacular 360 degree views across the Florentine skyline and surrounding area.
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