The romance of opening a gate and finding yourself transported from an ordinary street into a completely different environment, especially one that is set in an unexpected and captivating garden, is an experience that seems like a fairytale storyline, and not something that could exist in the real world.
However, there are unrevealed, special places all around if only we knew where to find them. One such, Ad Astra Hotel Particulier in Florence, is located within part of an imposing, grand palazzo, and has a view of the beautiful, extensive parkland adjacent to the building, a prospect that elevates the hotel to dreamlike status. The family, who have owned the palazzo through generations, occupy the rest of the building and, therefore, apart from a small section that allows access to the gardener’s cottage, which also houses rooms for the hotel, the garden is not open for hotel guests to walk around in. Nonetheless it is a great privilege to have access to such a magnificent property. It is not open to the general public at all, and this special arrangement is only possible due to the personal contacts of the hoteliers.
To enter the estate, via a large, ornate gate from the street, is to go through a portal to a parallel world. The dust and noise of everyday existence is left behind, and is replaced by countryside extending as far as you can see. The sounds of birdsong and the breeze ruffling the leaves of the trees and shrubbery are substituted for the roar of cars and motorbikes, and the chatter of city dwellers. You feel as if you should whisper in case you break the spell, and incite the entire scene to fade away like some magical enchantment.
The hotel itself is charming, comfortable, and eclectic. It has been designed in a similar manner to its sister establishment SoprArno Suites, furnished with items from the collection of the owners. Every room has a unique character, arranged with wit and playfulness, as if it is a spare bedroom in the house of a friend, while still maintaining a high level of luxury.
Ad Astra feels like a completely private realm, a hidden locale where no one can find you. You feel as if you have a secret known only those who have been lucky enough not only to stumble upon it, but also to appreciate the concept. An exclusive members club where the prerequisite is not money or status, but is rather the possession of a particular attitude to life. If you are that sort of person, and are looking for the ultimate retreat, a place to dream and be romantic, making a trip to an alternative world, such as Ad Astra offers, definitely has advantages.