The Westin Excelsior in Florence Unveils New Rooftop Terrace With Killer Views
The Westin Excelsior, Florence used to attract a who's-who of the film industry to its Roof Garden, the top-floor terrace, with such VIPs like Franco Zeffirelli, Sophia Loren, Gina Lollobrigida, Orson Welles, Leonard Bernstein, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. But it's been a while since some of those folks have stopped by. (Yes, we know a few of them are no longer alive.)
But the hotel is now looking to reclaim its glamorous glory by reopening the rooftop terrace with the (awkward) new moniker SE.STO on Arno in late September.
After a $4 million renovation, the rooftop is reopening as a bar, restaurant and lounge. A curved, upholstered wall marks the entrance to the bar and the restaurant, and a glass-enclosed wine cellar separates the two areas. Outside there are two large terraces; the one adjacent to the restaurant is bordered by a shallow infinity pool that gives the illusion that the water is emptying into the Arno River. The rooftop is supposedly the only in Florence with 360-degree views of the city.
Indeed, the killer view is the major selling point, as the oversized windows overlook the city, the Arno and the surrounding hills.
The restaurant, led by by Executive Chef Giuseppe Dalla Rosa, will churn out traditional, seasonal Mediterranean cuisine. And the wine list will focus on Italian and international labels. But if you'd rather just head there for the panoramic view, plunk down at the bar, order up a cocktail and see if you can spot any big-name stars.
You might have to be a star to afford a stay at the hotel, as rooms start at around $421.10 a night. If you do have a movie-star budget, try to snag one of the river-facing rooms so that you can enjoy the gorgeous vista from your balcony. The rooms—which lean more traditional with deep reds and cream and antique-looking furniture—aren't as trendy as the rooftop.
As for whether the rooftop terrace will attract today's Hollywood "it" crowd, we'll wait to see if we find a two-page spread splashed in Us Weekly of Brangelina sipping vino on the terrace.