If you have been following me on Instagram, you’d know that just recently I was in Italy on a month long trip. The original plan was to travel Rome>Florence>Venice>Milan>Monaco but, I adored Florence so much that we ended up going back to this beautiful city after our stay in Milan. Part of the reason for the change of plans is our Florence hotel – The Rocco-Forte Savoy. I have stayed at other luxury hotels in Florence, but this hotel is by far my favorite.
Location wise, it is perfect.Situated right on the Piazza Republica (the center of everything fashionable in Florence) and 5-10 minutes walk to anywhere you could possibly want to go in the city. I swear every time I ask the doorman for directions, almost every answer started with “turn left (or right) outside our front door and walk a few blocks”.
It is right around the corner of Via Roma ( this is where the famous Luisa Via Roma flagship store is located) as well as Via Tornabuoni which is famous for housing the finest of designer shops. The Accademia ( that houses Michaelangelo’s David) and The Uffizi is also 5-10 minutes away.
Turns out, right next door is la Rinascente. Think one-stop shopping mall, but with class and style. You know – think Italian.Did I mention there’s a rooftop cafe? So you can honestly say you’re going for the incredible view of Florence.
While a historic, 300-year-old hotel might seem romantic and ideal in theory, it’s less appealing when you’re faced with a lack of easy key-card entry, slow internet and ancient elevators. And I don’t know about you, but I absolutely can’t stand the musty smell of 300 year old wallpaper and furniture.
At the Savoy, our suites have been totally refurbished with Italian fabrics and Florentine motives, I also found out the renovation also included all common areas including hallways and the lobby. Perhaps its just because I am very visual – but after a long day of staring at ancient artwork and buildings, coming back to a vibrant and modern lobby with colorful upholstery is enough to make me feel refreshed.
Our suite had 12 foot ceilings which By describes as a relief ( I think this is a tall 6’ 3” person thing, to really care about ceilings). Breakfast was included but what is more amazing is that we could choose to have it downstairs buffet-style OR en-suite, at no extra charge. We also had free free on-demand movies and amazing toiletries from Lorenzo Vicenzi, a luxury Florentine perfumerie.
The thing that sealed the deal for me was the fact that they offer a luggage packing/unpacking service. I swear this gave me at least three extra hours out and about in Florence because they took charge of getting my haul from outlet shopping at The Mall into my bags.
The staff is either trained at some sort of special packing school, or taught magic because a certain someone did not think it could be done. I probably should have watched – instead I dashed out to get just one more thing from La Rinascente (which is just next door)
The Savoy is also famous for their restaurant Irene ( named after the owner’s mother). With a menu designed by famous Two-Michelin star chef Fulvio Pierangelini, this is a great place for lunch and dinner. We had several meals here and each one was a perfect combination of traditional Tuscan flavors and the modern desire for light, healthy fare. With indoor and outdoor seating available, it’s a great place for lunch, dinner or anything in between while you watch both tourists and fashionable Florentines walk across the Piazza Republica.
A game that By and I love to play while we sit at a table facing the street is to guess the nationality of people approaching us (which we can easily pinpoint when we hear them talk as they pass us). I also like to make up their conversations (mostly about how the girlfriend or wife wants to shop more, and how the boyfriend or husband doesn’t understand). By usually ignores this part of the game.
So the only question is – when can I go back to Florence? PS : Do book early, the Rocco Savoy hotel is very popular so rooms go fast.
Stay tuned in for the rest of my Italy Adventure– Next up VENICE! #SUCCESSINSTILETTOS
For those (un)lucky ambitionistas in charge of planning this year’s office party, don’t worry. Skip the cold meat and cheese plates, stale gingerbread cookies and awkward conversation with the nervous intern in the cubicle next to you. Instead of booking a table of 40 at the Cheesecake Factory (yikes), plan something memorable that’ll have coworkers touting your cleverness and looking forward to next year’s party.
If all else fails, chocolate is a perfectly acceptable holiday meal
As always, TA has you covered, from head to heel.
White Christmas Party
Rent a space large enough to fit everyone in your office. Dress tables with white tablecloths, gold silverware and white roses as centerpieces. Hang snowflakes from the ceiling, accenting with gold and silver ornaments to add a festive sparkle. Let everyone know ahead time that the dress code is all-white formal, so think elegant white dresses and maybe a pretty blue one just because. You can send a mass invite to the entire office via email or add a personal touch with paper invites tucked in envelopes. Hey, might as well put that office printer into good use.
For food, stick to classics for entrees — roasted chicken, sauteed vegetable, etc. — but go wild on the desserts. Remember, it’s an all-white theme. So, choose heavenly coconut cakes, white chocolate martinis, and a white chocolate fountain to dip strawberries and marshmallows.
Christmas by the Beach
Sometimes, all that snow and chilly weather can get you down. Create a mini getaway for your officemates this year by throwing a beach-themed Christmas party. BHG has a lovely compilation of seashell-ready holiday decor. Encourage everyone to show up in Hawaiian t-shirts, beach dresses and sandals. Hand out leis as party favors and prep the bar for tequila sunrises and other summery cocktails.
Spread some feel-good cheer and throw a toy drive for a local charity. Ask guests to bring one gift item — teddy bears, toy trains, legos, etc. — and place everyone’s presents underneath a large Christmas tree. Since the theme focuses on a more traditional occasion, line the walls with strings of lights and garland, playing up the classic red and green colors throughout the room. Designate a table for hors d’oeuvres and drinks. For small plate inspiration, check out Bon Appetit’s holiday-appropriate recipes to ensure an office party victory.
White Elephant Gift Exchange
White elephant exchanges are a great way to stir up friendly fire at office parties. Keep gifts at a $25 minimum and make sure you have plenty of hot cocoa to enjoy while you watch everyone fight over a cardboard cut out of John Stamos (happened once, t’was hilarious).
Up the ante of the usual potluck party by turning it into a competition and setting up a few rules: All dishes must be homemade, no safety pies allowed. The person who shows up with the best dish can win a gift basket filled with goodies or a cash prize of $50. This is one of the easier parties to set up, since the entire office helps out with the food. Plus, it ensures that everyone brings something reasonably tasty — no cold veggie trays here.
Outdoor S’mores Roast
Move the party outdoors and throw a s’mores roast. You can either carpool or have everyone meet at a designated area. Choose a setting that’s relaxed, lots of beaches have fire pits available for the public and deserts make great landscapes for a memorable party. Once everyone gets settled and the fire is roaring, pass along a tray of graham crackers, chocolate pieces and marshmallows. Just don’t forget the skewers!
Ugly Sweater Party
Like the potluck party, turn this ugly sweater party into an office contest. You’ll be surprised by the effort and creativity of your coworkers and there’s nothing like friendly competition to get people into a festive spirit.
Style Note: Boden Fabulous festive sweater
For a more playful take on holiday feasting, organize a post-Christmas brunch office party for when everyone gets back from the holidays. It’s ideal, as more restaurants open up after the 25th and besides, who doesn’t appreciate delicious mimosas and maple-soaked french toast? If possible, reserve one long table that can fit everyone in your office and have the dishes prepared family style, so that people are encouraged to share. This creates a relaxed atmosphere and the perfect setting for lively conversation.
Keep the attire casual yet smart — cardigans, sunglasses, etc. — so that you can nurse any eggnog hangovers in peace.
We’d love to hear what your holiday office plans are this year.
If you have any cheeky ideas for a party, let us know in the comments.