Best dressed

Tak­ing cues from its fash­ion­packed set­ting, Florence’s luxe Ho­tel Savoy is ac­ces­sorised with sar­to­rial mo­tifs and Pucci prints.

Belle - - Tr Ave L - Words CARLI PHILIPS

It’s been more than 24 hours door-to-door but from the mo­ment the bell­boy wel­comes me to Florence’s lux­u­ri­ous Ho­tel Savoy I know it’s been worth ev­ery tire­some plane, train and cus­toms queue. I am greeted by im­pos­si­bly chic and charm­ingly sym­pa­thetic Ital­ians who swiftly set­tle me into a newly up­dated suite at the famed ho­tel. In a daze of jet­lag I open the win­dows and re­alise this co­coon of quiet com­fort is ac­tu­ally smack amid the bustling Pi­azza della Repub­blica, epi­cen­tre of the city near Brunelleschi’s Dome. Lo­ca­tions don’t get much bet­ter than this.

The 19th-cen­tury ho­tel was the most so­phis­ti­cated of its day, boast­ing mod­ern ameni­ties such as an el­e­va­tor, elec­tric­ity and cen­tral heat­ing. The seeds of pow­er­house Gucci were sowed in the Savoy Lon­don, its Floren­tine pa­tri­arch Guc­cio – then a lift boy – launch­ing his epony­mous brand af­ter keen ob­ser­va­tion of the ho­tel’s clien­tele and their stylish lug­gage. In a case of art im­i­tat­ing life, I query a guest on the de­signer of her duf­fel only to nd she is Olga Polizzi, de­sign direc­tor and deputy chair of Rocco Forte, the fam­ily-owned bi­jou ho­tel group co-founded with her brother.

In a city so cul­tur­ally rich, Olga says she didn’t want the Savoy’s re­fur­bish­ment to “be banal by bring­ing in what every­one can en­joy out­side”. So, in­spired by the city’s his­toric re­la­tion­ship with fash­ion and tra­di­tional crafts, she looked to the sar­to­rial for in­spi­ra­tion. In the throes of a “con­tem­po­rary re­nais­sance”, Olga ac­ces­sorised the in­te­ri­ors with hat and footwear themes such as Andy Warhol’s art­work of bright high heels, Lisa Mil­roy’s shoe paint­ings and pho­tog­ra­pher John­nie Shand Kydd’s line-up of in­ter­est­ing shoes. She also called in Lau­do­mia Pucci, daugh­ter of the late cou­turier and the brand’s im­age direc­tor, to over­see the pub­lic spa­ces. A long­time friend of the Forte fam­ily, Lau­do­mia has been a ho­tel reg­u­lar for years. “I use [the Savoy] a lot for busi­ness, pri­vate din­ing and we have even had some fash­ion trunk shows there.”

In Pucci’s rst foray into hos­pi­tal­ity, soft fur­nish­ings and re­cep­tion chairs have been up­hol­stered in vel­vet pop ower prints and their iconic ‘Lam­borgh­ini’ mo­tif re-coloured in black and pink for the lobby. In­te­gral to the scheme were fuch­sia and turquoise scarves that, en­cased in glass, be­came table­tops in the out­door ter­race and Irene restau­rant. Olga says they bring a “fresh­ness” to the ground oor. “It was fun work­ing to­gether and, of course, apart from art and ar­chi­tec­ture, Florence is known for its fash­ion – and no­body knows that bet­ter than Pucci.” Floren­tines through and through, the aris­to­cratic fam­ily were ad­vis­ers to the Medici and the honorary Via de’ Pucci is just around the cor­ner – right by Palazzo Pucci.

Pri­vate spa­ces are more re­strained in pas­tel tones of washed green and tau­pes. “All our ho­tels are dif­fer­ent and we try to mir­ror the city they are in. We want them to have a true sense of place,” says Olga who used Tus­can cre­atives for the in­te­rior dec­o­ra­tion. “Florence is full of mar­vel­lous ar­ti­sans. You can nd some­one to make what­ever you need,” she says of wood carv­ings from Cas­to­rina and porce­lain from Ceramiche Cec­ca­relli.

The Pucci aes­thetic and the ho­tel’s grand neo­clas­si­cal Ital­ianate fea­tures may seem an un­likely pair­ing, but the re­sult is a beau­ti­ful bal­ance of the for­mer’s colour­ful vi­vac­ity and Olga’s chic yet re­strained pas­tel scheme. “I al­ways like to in­clude some­thing un­usual or sur­pris­ing,” she says. “Some­thing to make peo­ple smile.” roc­co­forte­ho­tels.com

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