Located in the heart of Florence, Hotel Cerretani Firenze is between Firenze Santa Maria Novella station and the Duomo. Stay at the hotel during our trip to Florence is perfect due to its proximity to the train station and the major sights in the City of Florence. It is within a few minutes walk from the Duomo, and Ponte Vecchio, the two main attractions in Florence. Hotel Cerretani Firenze is also very close to the shopping street, wedged between the Duomo and Ponte Vecchio, where luxury brand boutiques are found. There are also numerous restaurants and a supermarket within a stone’s throw from the hotel.
The Junior Suite
We stayed in the Junior Suite at Hotel Cerretani Firenze. At 35m², the contemporary decor Junior Suite looks modern but feels small. This Junior Suite at Hotel Cerretani Firenze does not have the standard feature of a Junior Suite, such as an area dedicated to a couch, and feels more like an enlarged standard room.
The Junior Suite at Hotel Cerretani Firenze has a dedicated entryway, a room with a door separating it from the rest of the suite, furnished with an armchair and a standing lamp. The chair in the entryway allows us to wear our shoes and is also great for relaxing and reading a book with the warm light from the lamp and the lighting in this room. There is an open wardrobe in the entryway, which is meant for us to hang our jackets. Despite being a small room, there is sufficient space for us to place one of our luggage with the luggage rack in the suite.
We could see the rest of the Junior Suite from the second door. Despite having 35m2, the space in the suite feels tight with the fitted furniture. I guess part of the real estate is dedicated to the entryway, which leaves little room in the rest of the Junior Suite. We were in the sleeping area as soon as we passed the door after the entryway. The decor in the sleeping area is contemporary, exuding a comfortable and cosy feel. The lighting in the sleeping area matches the suite’s theme, adding to the comfortable feel. The sleeping area is furnished with a king bed, occupying a bulk of the space in this area. The king bed is comfortable to sleep on with its firm mattress and the pillows provided by the hotel. We found the bedside tables were small and offered limited space to charge our mobile phones.
Despite having over 500 channels showing on the 40″ LED TV mounted on the wall across from the bed, there are limited English entertainment options as most of the channels on the TV are Italian channels. Even the Nationa Geographic Channels on the TV are in Italian. We had a hard time scrolling through the channels, looking for a channel we could comprehend, and eventually giving up. A minimalistic work desk is found placed by the wall beneath the TV. There is not much space on the work desk for one to do any proper work, at the very best, it will fit one 14″ laptop and one file. The cluttering with items like drinks, glasses, a telephone, the hotel directory, and a reading lamp made the space available for work even more limited. The velvety-wrapped chair the hotel used to furnish the work desk looks elegant but impractically designed. The chair is uncomfortable to sit on, and the low backrest also makes one’s back ache after sitting for less than 30 mins. It seems like Hotel Cerretani Firenze wants its guests to relax and enjoy their time in Florence rather than spend time working in the hotel.
Wardrobe & Minibar
A three-panelled cabinet sits at the end of a small corridor that houses the wardrobe and minibar in front of the entrance to the bathroom. The wardrobe occupied two panels, providing limited storage space for two guests staying in the Junior Suite at Hotel Cerretani Firenze. The wardrobe space is only sufficient for guests to put away at most five days of clothing. I also find the hangers supplied by the hotel to be a tad limited, and we had to request extra hangers from the hotel reception. A two-tiered open shelving inside the wardrobe maximises the amount of storage in the wardrobe. The hotel maximises the cabinet by fitting the minibar within one cabinet panel. The suite came equipped with a Nespresso machine, placed on the open shelving of the minibar area. The minifridge is tucked inside a cabinet space on the lower tier of the shelf, while the in-room safe took the top shelf.
A beige-coloured leathered bench sat beside another floor lamp right before the wardrobe. I find the placement of this bench weird, as it just faces an empty wall. It seems Hotel Cerretani Firenze is trying to fit a sofa to satisfy some form of checklist that mandates a sofa must be in a Junior Suite. Unfortunately, the placement of the bench serves no purpose other than to take up precious real estate in the compact Junior Suite. Nevertheless, we found a use for this bench to place one of our luggage.
The theme in the bathroom is different from the rest of the suite. While the suite exudes a contemporary and warm vibe, the bathroom oozes an industrial and functional feel. The sink sits on an open two-tiered cabinet tucked against the bathroom wall. I like how the hotel decided to go with one sink instead of a dual sink concept due to space limitations in the Junior suite. This design also afforded us plenty of space on the sink countertop to place our toiletries without feeling cramped. The body lotion and hand wash are mounted onto the wall to save more space on the sink countertop. The use of a large Hollywood-style mirror not only brightens the whole space but also makes the bathroom looks bigger than it is. The toilet and a separate bidet are mounted onto the wall opposite the sink countertop, leaving a lot of space for guests to walk and use the bathroom. The photo of Ponte Vecchio hanging above the toilet and bidet Hotel Cerretani Firenze not only constantly reminded us that we were in Florence but also removed the bathroom’s dullness.
The walk-in shower is tucked in the innermost space of the bathroom, separated by a glass panel clad in white marble with a light grey pattern. The walk-in shower is rather sizeable, which gives us plenty of space when showering. The walk-in shower features both regular and rainfall shower heads. The water pressure is great, and the hot water works perfectly. The hotel uses Milanese brand CULTI shower amenities mounted onto the wall, freeing up space for us to place our toothbrushes and facial washes onto the silver rack mounted in one corner of the bathroom. I favour the decision of Hotel Cerretani Firenze not installing a bathtub in the bathroom owing to the lack of space. Having a bathtub or a bath and shower combination will inevitably sacrifice the useable space in the bathroom.
The service we got during our stay at Hotel Cerretani Firenze was mixed. On the one hand, we met with staff who understood what it meant to be customer-centric. Unfortunately, such staff were few in the hotel. Our initial impression of the service at Hotel Cerretani Firenze was excellent when we met Sara, who was already expecting us, identifying my friend by first name when we approached her at the reception. Sara was warm and sincere and processed our check-in so efficiently that we did not have to wait too long before issuing the keys to our rooms. Sara went all out to ensure that our stay was comfortable. She oriented us with the facilities in the hotel and gave us the restaurant’s meal times. When we complained that the Junior Suite fitted only with one window, it felt stuffy (it was winter, and the hotel did not turn on air conditioning). Instead of telling us the obvious, Sara devised a solution and brought a fan into our suite. She was professional and certainly knew her job very well.
Every morning we met Giulio, the elderly gentleman working in the restaurant. Giulio took care of us very well at the restaurant for breakfast. He came across like a grandfather taking care of his grandchildren, constantly checking with us if we wanted more coffee or if we had enough to eat. He oriented us to the buffet corner on the first morning we were at the restaurant for breakfast. Giulio efficiently dispatched our orders for cooked eggs and coffee, not allowing us to wait too long for our food.
The excellent service seems to stop with Sara and Giulio. The rest of the staff in the hotel came across as cold and uninterested in their job. When I requested extra hangers from one of the staff at the reception, instead of helping us, he would give the excuse that he was alone in the reception and refuse to barge. Other staff did not even bother to look us in the eye or exchange any form of greeting when we walked past them. We had the worst service experience during check-out when we checked the bill and enquired about the mysterious charge of over €500. Instead of being attentive to us, a male staff at the reception stared at his computer while conversing with us. We contested the breakfast charge to him, explaining that we were informed during check-in that our rate comes with breakfast. The male staff refused to listen and provide any solution. He brushed us off by blaming us for not checking our booking terms. After some back-and-forth exchange of perspectives, the male staff gave us an ultimatum and stated that he was fed up talking to us, was busy, and did not have the time to explain further. He gave us the option to pay or not. The male staff’s action was unprofessional, and did not even bother creating a win-win solution.
We had our daily breakfast at the only restaurant in Hotel Cerretani Firenze, located on the ground after the reception. Breakfast was served in a buffet style with limited options. Each morning we would see the same food in the small buffet area. Despite the uninteresting breakfast selection, Hotel Cerretani Firenze serves up a variety of bread and cakes. The only warm options for breakfast are scrambled eggs, bacon and sausages. The coffee and egg options are not stated in the buffet area, which would have to be ordered separately from the restaurant staff. For the price of €13 per pax, I thought the breakfast had little value for money.
The biggest draw of Hotel Cerretani Firenze is its location. The hotel is close to Florence’s main train station and the city centre, making exploring the city of Florence very convenient. Although the sleep quality of the Junior Suite was excellent and the suite was modern and clean, the layout and the inefficient use of space were a letdown. We find the space in the suite very tight, despite having 35m² of real estate. The biggest deterrent lies with the service, with only two staff providing an excellent guest experience. The service from the rest of the staff felt cold and unwelcoming, especially during our check-out incident. I would certainly not return to Hotel Cerretani Firenze if I ever travelled to Florence.