Florence: Room with the Best View

It comes as a shock: Your private apartment in the heart of Florence in a landmarked building with all the comforts of a five-star hotel. The new Platinhome apartments have it all --- location, style, services, and postcard-perfect views of one of the world's most beautiful cities. You might expect that in this historic city a new upscale rental apartment would be a lavish example of Florentine baroque. Instead, these new apartments in Florence in the historic Palazzo Levi are modernist sensations, the best of contemporary Italian design. More important, the terrace views are magical, especially at dusk.
One apartment in the palazzo called the "Duomo" has a terrace where you are practically eye-to-eye with Brunelleschi"s magnificent dome of Santa Maria del Fiore, the classic symbol of the city. This particular fifth-floor apartment is a large one-room studio, furnished with a white-leather couch, fur pilllows, a gas fireplace and a fully furnished kitchen. Mahogany book shelves are lined with stunning art books about the city's treasures.

The most striking functional element here is a rectangular glass-enclosed shower that divides the sleeping and dressing area from the living/dining/ terrace spaces. This is no ordinary shower. A honeymoon favorite, it has two shower heads so couples can shower at the same time. It also has special buttons for light therapy, aroma steam therapy, and Irish mist. Push a button in a console that controls just about everything in this deluxe suite and a curtain descends to hide the shower. The Duomo apartment is one of four in what is easily the best location in Florence --- on the Piazza della Repubblica 6, next to Gilli e Paszkowski, a best-loved city cafe, which also provides room service.

Paolo Ligresti, vice-president of Atahotels, the owner and manager of Platinhome Suites, says his goal is to transform precious buildings with high historic-artistic value into exclusive mansions. Renting an apartment in an unfamiliar city can be daunting unless you plan to settle in for an extended stay. At these new deluxe apartments when you stay for a night or two you don't have time to learn the ropes. And you don't have to as just about every service you can think of is looked after by various attendants. Currently Maarja Aro, a sort of whirl-wind concierge/personal assistant will greet you at the door, arrange for everything from an ensuite chef and personal shopper to a wine tasting at a legendary vineyard or a hot-air balloon ride above the city.
In addition to the Palazzo Levi, seven more Platinhome apartments have opened on via Ricasoli. Some are large enough for a family with kids and others have a sleeping loft and master bedroom suitable for two couples. As expected, all the apartments have shiny new espresso machines as well as other appliances and a service for eight. Room rates range from roughly 460-480 euro per night. You can make reservations online at booking@platinhome.it.

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