Like most of the jaw-dropping buildings on Florence’s Piazza della Repubblica, Hotel Savoy was built over a century ago, 1893 to be exact. The 88-room property, a Rocco Forte hotel, once lauded for its now antiquated luxuries (think elevators, electric lights and central heating), has recently unveiled a welcome renovation to its fourteen luxury suites and lobby, as well as the addition of a new restaurant, in the form of Tuscan bistro, Irene. “Upon entering the reimagined Hotel Savoy guests should have a feeling of complete serenity,” says the hotel’s design director, Olga Polizzi, who along with her brother Sir Rocco Forte, founded the esteemed hotel group.
Polizzi looked to the hotel’s historic locale as her ever-present design muse, focusing on the simple elegance of the Renaissance city in her design. She notes that “design must be pleasing to the eye, but not excessive”—this refined aesthetic is achieved by mingling the architectural charms of the existing interior with contemporary furniture silhouettes and generous pops of jewel-toned color.
The hotel’s lobby boasts an impressive, almost nostalgic lineup of Italian furniture design greats—the chairs are from B&B Italia, the armchairs are Cassina designs, and the tables are San Patrignano. Subtle nods to Florentine tradition are seen throughout, from Luca Pignatelli’s depictions of statues’ heads in the lobby, to the playful compositions of Ferragamo’s shoes framed on the walls of main corridors and guest suites. “The hotel must capture the essence of its location in all of its spaces,” explains Polizzi, a standard she imbues in all of Rocco Forte’s ten landmark properties. In Hotel Savoy, she worked with Florentine craftsmen to create the hotel’s more traditional carved pieces, namely a meticulously-crafted trunk in the lobby that was created using an age-old heirloom carving technique.
The guest suites carry on this romantic ode to Tuscan history, featuring sweeping views of the Duomo that practically beg on-foot exploration. Polizzi’s main focus for the rooms was comfort, curating a colorful medley of cozy upholstered pieces swathed in authentic Italian fabrics by C&C Milano. The snug seating arrangements nestle more modern table frames, most of which are modernariato italiano, with the exception of a Cicognino side table by Cassina. Subdued walls and light parquet floors are punctuated by colorful accent pieces. The hotel’s most literal iteration of Florentine design is found in the bathroom of the Repubblica Suite, adorned with bold mosaics composed of Carrara marble sourced from local quarries.
“At Hotel Savoy the combination of simple elegance and extravagance harks back to the tradition of Tuscany,” states Polizzi. “The history of the hotel’s romantic location was vital to our redesign.”