Some hotels we 'yatzerize' because of their particular modernity, others because of their unique style and others because of their ability to shake us. This hotel has nothing of the above. It is a unique case of a simple name that makes us bow, out of historical respectfulness and importance. The Grand Hotel VILLA CORA is the jeweled apple of Florence. Located inside a centuries – old park overlooking the enchanted Boboli Gardens, this main villa is an aristocratic residence built at the end of the XIX century by Baron Oppenheim. It reflects the architectural styles of that period, dominated by a strong eclectic decor that provides the villa with different, artistic styles.
Being both a cultural and a cosmopolitan symbol of Florence this legend underwent a 3 year long restoration under the supervision of Italian architect Marianna Gagliardi, which aimed to conserve as much of the original architecture as possible. Upon entering the interior of this 46 room Villa, you instantly feel the sensation that you are floating on air dressed in a chemise, petticoat corset, hoop & dress layers; bonnet on head, gloves to the elbow and a smile of adoration to match the feeling in the eyes.
With its old world room themes such as the Card room, Ceramics room, Cigar room and White room, the interiors embrace the new world of design in comfort, technology and we do dare to say simplicity, while being surrounded by history none more so when you arrive at the Mirror room’s majesty with its original baroque decorations. In all these spaces it is not a question of the old marrying with the new, but the grandness surrounding the now, a description which is easily understood in the Bar Long.
Now floating along the upstairs of the Villa, we find the 30 accommodation quarters. The greatness of these interiors is that no two are the same as the other, as they have all been decorated to inspire the famous – I’m not sure if we can call them 'people' - who have stayed there. People like Napoleon III, Tchaikovsky, Princes Eugenia & the Japanese Emperor Hirohito. Consisting of great passion these rooms are the gems of this tribute. Original craftsmanship is surrounded by beautifully bold coloured furnishings and theatrical curtains, which depict the era with more simplistic detailing and a much more modern & colorful tone.
However, part of the true magic is in the remaining bedrooms. Firstly there is the ‘La Follie’ quarters which acts as a small guest house located at the edge of the park providing absolute discretion with just 2 private quarters. ‘La Follie’ is for those who wish to remain anonymous while retaining that ’floating’ sensation. Secondly, there is the ‘Villino Eugenia’. What used to be the stables of the historic villa have been transformed into a small guesthouse. With 14 different accommodations each has been decorated and furnished according to the bourgeois styles of the late 19th century with ceilings representing rare and exotic subjects. Finally, the last glorifying surprising element is that the overwhelming spa is located inside the Villino Eugenia where lucky guests get the opportunity to experience some present day Princess Eugenia pampering.
In conclusion, we literally dropped to our knees with adoration. The Grand Hotel Villa Cora needs no words, just a simple bow of thankfulness to all those who brought a Queen back to her glory.