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New York, New York
October 22, 2004
Perhaps its location (about 2km from the center of Florence) deters some tourists, though the hotel does have a free shuttle that will take to into the city and back at your discretion. When we arrived, in early September, the place was about half-full, though the pool seemed pretty packed. If you wanted to walk to the Ponte Vecchio or anywhere else in the center of Florence, it would probably take you a good 30 minutes. But Villa Cora’s suburban setting was actually a plus for us. An elegant, windy road shaded in cypress trees and lined with former palaces made the approach a memorable one.
When we pulled up to the Villa Cora, I was already smitten. I mean, we were staying in a PALACE. Ivy trellises beautified parking spots and marble statues gave the pool area a whole new level of sophistication. The common areas were nothing short of spectacular: golden frescoes on the ceilings, 12-foot windows, velvet curtains, massive paintings, and landings that lead out into lovely formal gardens.
Dinner here was an absolute treat as well--and fitting in light of the aristocratic surroundings. The degustation menu, at a steep €95, was so worth it. I went with the soffiato di melanzane con pomodoro frullato e mozzarella di bufala (eggplant souflée with tomatoes and mozzarella), ravioli with Gorgonzola cheese and walnuts, and mascarpone mantecato con cioccolato (creamy mascarpone with chocolate). Add on Villa Cora’s unbeatable service (in Tuscany, waiters take their job very seriously), a prosecco to start, and fizzy sweet lambrusco to finish, and you’ve got a real find.
Late one evening, we ran into a couple who had gotten married here the year before. Although they were about to check out, bound for a hotel in the center of Florence (which they didn’t seem too excited about), you could tell Villa Cora had won them over. "I mean, look at this place," she beamed, staring at the gilded ceilings and velvet sofas in the entryway. "It’s not all sparkling new, but this is the real thing."
From journal Small, Stunning Tuscan Hotels
New York CIty, New York, Australia
September 17, 2002
The Hotel is called the GRAND Hotel Villa Cora for a reason.... it is GRAND.
The building was built around 130 years ago by Baron Oppenheim in honour of his beautiful wife. It is obvious that the grandiose ballroom, salons and parlours must have been the scene of numerous receptions and parties because after the Oppenheims, the Empress Eugenia (widow of Napoleon III) chose the Villa Cora to be her home too.
The hotel has only recently been restored to its original glory. Apparently, every room has at least one antique piece, and many, more than one.
There was a great deal of privacy afforded to us as there are only 30 rooms in the main building, 15 in the building out near the pool, and the guard house has two. Our room had a small verandah and looked out over a great fountain and gardens. It was very peaceful as the hotel is set back from the road on all sides.
The pool - in keeping with the rest of the place - is flamboyant and beautiful. It has statues and a tall hedge on one side, and the "Verandah Restaurant" on the other. The buffet breakfast is included in the room rate and is served beside the pool. The wait staff were immaculate and very friendly.
In terms of services, all rooms have radio, colour TV, private safe, air conditioning and a bar fridge.
The location of the hotel is not the most convenient if you are one who enjoys being in the centre of the tourist mile and needs to be able to walk directly out onto the Ponte Vecchio. However, if you prefer a peaceful tree-lined street, nearer the Giardino di Boboli, then this is an ideal location. There is a friendly chauffer who will take you to the city centre which is about a 10 minute ride.
For business travelers, this hotel is equipped to offer resplendent rooms for meetings, conventions, special events and promotions.
From journal Florence, Lucca, and cycling through Tuscany