some luxury hotels in Tuscany

Old May 12, 19, 2:05 pm
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some luxury hotels in Tuscany

This is not a full site inspection report ... because I was not on a site inspection trip. In the course of three days in Tuscany with two Brownell Travel colleagues, we stayed at a couple of properties (Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco for 1 night and Monteverdi Tuscany for 2 nights). We enjoyed lunch and saw some rooms at Hotel Continental in Sienna. Finally, after a quick visit to the village of Cortona, we made an impromptu visit to Il Falconiere. These are some quick impressions.


Rosewood Castligion del Bosco


Master Bedroom at Villa Biondi, Castiglion del Bosco


bedroom from a Deluxe Suite in the main hotel


Looking for five-star polished perfection? Castiglion del Bosco comes as close as you can get out in the country. An ancient Tuscan village has been transformed into a luxury resort with just 23 suites in the village and 11 freestanding villas in the surrounding countryside. We spent the night at one of those villas. Villa Biondi is a five bedroom house with fireplace and outdoor heated swimming pool. When we awoke in the morning, the breakfast table was already set with all sorts of baked delights, and kitchen was stocked with ingredients to cook your own omelette. Cooking is fun if you can leave the dirty pans in the sink :-)

Staying in one of the villas is the ultimate five-star experience. I've also attached a photo of a Deluxe Suite in the "main hotel" (e.g., village) for purposes of comparison. It's a nice room, but it doesn't pretend to compare with the size and privacy you'll enjoy in a villa.

Dinner in the hotel's restaurant was delightful. Our hosts created a tasting meal for us at Osteria La Canonica, the property's Tuscan trattoria. The food was wonderful ... and try the Rosso di Montalcino wine that is grown and made in property. Ever see a wine library? This is one of the highlights of the winery tour at Castiglion del Bosco.


Monteverdi Tuscany


my bedroom at Monteverdi Tuscany

There's always a tradeoff when exploring destinations like Tuscany. You can seek 5-star polished luxury ... or you can pursue local flavor and authenticity. This was my bedroom for two nights at Monteverdi. If I wanted to complain, there was a lot to complain about. The room was dark; the original windows in this centuries-old building were small and did not admit much natural light (and the room lacked overhead lighting). The bed was hard. The bathroom had a small single vanity. Shower drainage wasn't the best; if you didn't place the bathmat outside the open shower, water would flow into the room. These are the kinds of issues you get with ancient buildings when they are not massively renovated.

But would I come back? YES!!! The dinner we enjoyed in the hotel's restaurant was so good. The hospitality was warm. The setting? Exactly what many visitors hope for when visiting Tuscany. Monteverdi is like St. Paul de Vence without the tourists. It's a small, non-commercial village. There's no place to shop or dine except the hotel. But the views ... that's why I'd come back. Monteverdi is a photographer's paradise. Take a look at some photographs I took at sunrise...




views from the village of Monteverdi in early morning


Grand Hotel Continental, Siena


Noble Suite bedroom


this is the view from city view rooms

I had visited Siena once before. I was traveling with a friend, and we popped into town without a guide and quickly took things in. This time was different. We were met by a guide and learned SO much about the history and customs of Siena in just a couple of hours. I highly recommend spending at least a half-day with a great guide.

Grand Hotel Continental is located very centrally and offers an idea location from which to explore Siena. I would rate this as a high 4* hotel. Nothing wrong with the hotel, but it does not rise to the level of accommodations that you'd find in the world's best five star city hotels. Of course, you're not in Rome, Milan, or Florence... you're in Siena, a town of only 50,000 residents. Bedrooms of normal guestrooms are nothing special unless you book a room with a view. Highly recommended a Noble Suite. Located on the lower two floors of the hotel, these suites feature beautiful high ceilings, some with frescoes.


Relais Il Falconiere


one of the "old" bedrooms at Il Falconiere


one of the newly constructed bedrooms at Il Falconiere

Our group made an impromptu visit to the town of Cortona, an interesting detour and place to spend the day. We did the requisite shopping, visited the monastery that St. Francis founded, and saw the exterior of the house that was the setting for the movie Under the Tuscan Sun. We then made an even more impromptu visit to Il Falconiere.

We were warmly greeted by the owners of the resort a husband-wife team. She is a Michelin-starred chef. He is the vintner of the estate's vineyard. We had so little time, but we did have a chance to see a few rooms. The property is completing the construction of a new buildings with new room product. Being completely new construction, these new rooms come with perfect bathrooms dual vanities, step-in showers, etc. but they lack the charm of the old room product. While the original rooms do not have the perfect bathrooms that new construction makes possible, they are what I'd personally go for. If I'm in Tuscany, I'd rather feel the charm of the original architecture.
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Old May 16, 19, 5:12 pm
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Thanks @DavidO. Your impressions were lovely and really bring me back to Tuscany. Such an amazing place with so many wonderful options.
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Old May 27, 19, 5:24 pm
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Great info! Thanks!!!!
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Old May 28, 19, 3:06 am
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I really like Monteverdi, and thankfully they have much better, brighter rooms than the one DavidO stayed in.
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Old May 28, 19, 8:40 am
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I really enjoyed Monteverdi as well. My room also looked brighter than the one in the picture and had a large terrace that we used a lot during our stay. It's the first picture that shows up when you look at Village Suites on their website (the one with two arm chairs in front of a fireplace and a colorful bedspread - brings back great memories).
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Old Jun 1, 19, 7:33 am
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Originally Posted by DavidO View Post
Grand Hotel Continental is located very centrally and offers an idea location from which to explore Siena. I would rate this as a high 4* hotel. Nothing wrong with the hotel, but it does not rise to the level of accommodations that you'd find in the world's best five star city hotels. Of course, you're not in Rome, Milan, or Florence... you're in Siena, a town of only 50,000 residents. Bedrooms of normal guestrooms are nothing special unless you book a room with a view. Highly recommended a Noble Suite. Located on the lower two floors of the hotel, these suites feature beautiful high ceilings, some with frescoes.
Do the Noble Suites have good views? The hotel web site doesn't mention views for the Noble Junior Suite, while it does for the Heritage Suite (although a two level room isn't ideal).

Noble Junior Suite
Located on the first floor, which was the floor on which the aristocratic family who owned the building once lived, the Noble Junior Suite offer, on the one hand, a sophisticated style thanks to the surprising trompe dil effects that simulate ancient marble columns and arches on the walls, with the sky depicted on the vaulted ceiling, and on the other, the presence of all of the modern comforts that todays traveller could possibly want. Sizing 539-700sqft/50-65 mq all offer free wifi.

Heritage Suite
Art will be your constant companion from the moment you wake up, when the first thing you see will be the frescoes on the vaulted ceiling, while the windows afford staggering views of the beautiful palazzos that embellish central Siena. The antiques and myriad modern comforts, together with the elegant, exclusive surroundings on two levels, will allow you to relax in a welcoming, intimate atmosphere Sizing 645 sq feet / 60 mq, all offer free wifi [emphasis added]

I wonder if the Panoramic Suite is worthwhile.
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Old Jun 1, 19, 8:52 am
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Originally Posted by richarddd View Post
Do the Noble Suites have good views? The hotel web site doesn't mention views for the Noble Junior Suite, while it does for the Heritage Suite (although a two level room isn't ideal).

Noble Junior Suite
Located on the first floor, which was the floor on which the aristocratic family who owned the building once lived, the Noble Junior Suite offer, on the one hand, a sophisticated style thanks to the surprising trompe dil effects that simulate ancient marble columns and arches on the walls, with the sky depicted on the vaulted ceiling, and on the other, the presence of all of the modern comforts that todays traveller could possibly want. Sizing 539-700sqft/50-65 mq all offer free wifi.

Heritage Suite
Art will be your constant companion from the moment you wake up, when the first thing you see will be the frescoes on the vaulted ceiling, while the windows afford staggering views of the beautiful palazzos that embellish central Siena. The antiques and myriad modern comforts, together with the elegant, exclusive surroundings on two levels, will allow you to relax in a welcoming, intimate atmosphere Sizing 645 sq feet / 60 mq, all offer free wifi [emphasis added]

I wonder if the Panoramic Suite is worthwhile.
The best views are in the direction of the duomo, and I would contact the hotel to make sure the Noble Jr. Suite can face in the direction you desire ... and to ask them to block you in one with a view.

We saw the Panoramic Suite. It's on the top floor, and views are 360, and celebrities have stayed in this suite.
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Old Jun 1, 19, 9:05 am
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Originally Posted by DavidO View Post
We saw the Panoramic Suite. It's on the top floor, and views are 360, and celebrities have stayed in this suite.
Is the Panoramic Suite nicer than the Noble Jr Suite? Are the views lovely?
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Old Jun 1, 19, 9:55 am
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Originally Posted by richarddd View Post
Is the Panoramic Suite nicer than the Noble Jr Suite? Are the views lovely?
The Panoramic Suite is at the top of the hotel with views over the entire city. I believe it's a duplex suite...

The Nobel Jr. Suite is 50 sqm with high ceilings. The Panoramic suite is larger but can't find it in the GDS to let you know the size.
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Old Jun 1, 19, 10:58 am
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Originally Posted by DavidO View Post
The Panoramic Suite is at the top of the hotel with views over the entire city. I believe it's a duplex suite...

The Nobel Jr. Suite is 50 sqm with high ceilings. The Panoramic suite is larger but can't find it in the GDS to let you know the size.
The hotel web site lists the Panoramic Suite at 65 sqm:

The Panoramic Suite, measuring 65 square metres, is a realm of luxury and privacy. The sitting-room, with exposed beam ceilings, and the mezzanine-level bedroom welcome guests into a world of exquisite harmony. Besides being equipped with every modern comfort, the suite is adorned with fine antiques and its walls are decorated with precious silks. The four large windows offer an unrivalled 360 view over Siena and the surrounding valleys. The marble bathrooms have colours recalling those of the Drago Contrada district, where the Grand Hotel Continental is situated. A Classic room with an adjacent entrance can be connected to the Panoramic Suite, providing yet more space and absolute privacy.

Fan that I am of views, that may be the choice, although two levels gives me pause.
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Old Jun 1, 19, 2:46 pm
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Never stayed, only saw Continental from outside. Location is indeed perfect for exploring the city
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Old Jun 3, 19, 9:21 am
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The hotel says that it can not block us one with a view. "As far as Noble Junior Suites and Heritage Suites are concerned, the views might be either across the city, on the surrounding streets, or facing the Duomo. However, it is not possible to guarantee a particular view in advance, since this feature is based upon availability; please rest assured that both types of room boast a delightful view on the city centre and that our colleagues at the front desk will do their best to assign you the best possible view.".

Is there anything else worth considering in Siena centre?

Last edited by richarddd; Jun 3, 19 at 11:09 am
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