Starhotels Group’s Hotel Helvetia&Bristol in Florence was voted the winner of the ‘Luxury Heritage Hotel’ category during the ’15th Annual World Luxury Hotel Awards 2021.’
The Florence Hotel Winner of World Luxury Hotel Awards
The recent 2019 renovation, the result of the perfect mix of careful restoration and a new contemporary touch, has made it possible to return one of its historic palaces to the city and, at the same time, create an authentic icon of hotellerie.
Located in the heart of Florence’s historic center, just a few steps from Piazza Strozzi, the Duomo and Via Tornabuoni, the refined Florentine shopping street, this aristocratic Renaissance-style mansion has been offering elegant atmospheres within the charm of history to travelers from all over the world since the late 19th century.
Andrea Auletta, the Milanese designer with a long and established collaboration with the Starhotels hotel group, was responsible for the creation of the Heritage Suite Helvetia and the Bristol Winter Garden.
The commitment and challenge that have characterized this project are to be put in direct relation with the prestige of the mansion, its history, its architectural peculiarities and the need to reconcile spaces and atmospheres of a fascinating past with the contemporaneity of an exclusive five-star hotel.
The Heritage Suite Helvetia by Andrea Auletta
The Heritage Suite Helvetia is an original space that pre-existed the intervention, for which Andrea Auletta chose to maintain the existing white paneling and the amber-colored chenille wall fabric. The walls were enriched with vertical panels with a pattern of ivory-colored fabric rhombi fixed at the intersection with machined brass studs.
The floor is Italian-style herringbone oak parquet. The bench, sofas, and chairs are upholstered in fabric, and here white alternates with gold, as in the play of cushions.
The wrought-iron four-poster bed embellished with curtains at the back is the work of a master craftsman from Arezzo, and a mirror was provided on either side of the bed to give depth.
The ceiling chandeliers have been repositioned, and decorative elements such as black shelves with plaster busts and prints placed vertically, like a collection in a private residence, have been included.
Peculiar are the rigid fabric-covered curtains and valances that fall down the sides. Carpets designed and made of viscose pick up the amber color of the walls with the insertion of ivory-colored borders. The doors are overlaid with an important element that connotes and emphasizes them.
In the bathroom, the existing white Carrara marble with Portoro-like black marble edging has been retained, elegantly taken up by the black stripes on the ceiling that give a modern touch, like the mirrors and lamps that were replaced in the restyling work, whose approach was to maintain all the beauty that was already there, also taking advantage of the help of restorers and master craftsmen, enriching it with elements that would enhance its personality and grit.
Hotel Helvetia&Bristol’s Winter Garden
For the Bristol Winter Garden, Auletta wanted to keep the elegant and original skylight that covers the ceiling and is punctuated by alternating stained glass in delicate shades of green and antique pink. The large skylight illuminates a welcoming and relaxing space, wrapped in the delicate features of a wall-mounted Choiserie designed by Ottavia Moschini, which echoes to scale the fabric upholstery of the sofas and bergère. The chairs are upholstered in velvet in an intense peacock color. The table is covered with a gold leaf top.
The pattern of the ultra-high resolution scanned wallpaper decoration is the same as that of the textile upholstery and is inspired by the flora and fauna of Tuscany, for a fitting reference to the Territory.
Anthracite-colored wall mirrors with edges finished in liquid gold give depth to the long, narrow space. Tall mirrored screens with antiqued gold metal frames are placed in the winter garden to separate the space, with a presence that tells of evocative distances.
The floor lamps are of Estro production, while the ceiling lamps are the original ones with a light play of luminous fretwork.
The storytelling of the winter garden is completed with materials of ancient Tuscan flavor such as terracotta and pietra serena and is completed with a black marble fountain on the wall, enclosed between two triumphs of flowers in stone vases.
About his relationship with color, Andrea Auletta points out that “Receptive spaces offer a temporary experience of living that must be reassuring and comfortable. The use of certain colors, together with the study of light, creates emotions, and hospitality spaces can be the theater for experiments in emotion. In restyling projects, when it comes to recovering and giving new life to existing furniture elements, color is a key element for transformation.”