Albergo Villa Marta

Lucca, Tuscany, Italy Book from

Reviewed by Nadine Mellor
Former hunting lodge turned elegant country hotel, surrounded by a serene Renaissance garden just 5km outside Lucca
This cream-coloured 19th-century lodge stands at the foot of Monti Pisani, flanked by towering cypress trees and sweeping lawns. It’s only a short drive from historic Lucca and perfect for those who want a peaceful base for dipping in and out of the town’s grand piazzas, medieval walls and bustling markets.

Impeccably restored and expertly managed, Albergo Villa Marta has a tranquil and welcoming atmosphere, along with beautiful views over the valley. You enter up 2 flights of steps on either side of the front door and into a soothing reception area. Soft chenille sofas, exposed beams and original Tessiere floors are complemented by antique furniture, and light floods in through tall windows. Dotted around are 15 elegant rooms, some with soaring rafters and canopied beds, others with doors opening onto the garden. There’s also a comfortable sitting room, plus a restaurant where tasty Tuscan food is served up morning, day and evening. Outside, terraces brim with potted lemon trees, and an inviting pool sits beside a jasmine-covered pergola. It’s all highly conducive to relaxation, but should you fancy some activity then cooking classes, personalised tours and bikes can all be arranged.

Highs

  • An excellent location in a lesser-known corner of Tuscany, near relatively untouristy Lucca. It's handy for Pisa and its airport, too
  • A beautiful garden with a pool, loungers and wonderful views of wooded hills
  • Outstanding service: smooth, friendly, professional
  • Delicious breakfasts, lunches and dinners, all packed with fresh Tuscan ingredients (including the villa's own olive oil)
  • Value for money compared to most Tuscan hotels of a similar standard

Lows

  • If you prefer contemporary style, this place isn't for you
  • The dining room lacks atmosphere, but you can eat outside during the warmer months
  • The bathrooms in some rooms look a little dated, but they're well equipped and sparklingly clean
  • The restaurant is closed on Sundays, but there are others nearby

Best time to go

Each season has its own delights. Summer is the busiest time, with the Lucca Jazz Festival in July and the Puccini Opera Festival in late July/early August. Autumn is wonderful for walking and gastronomy: the olive harvest is in November, while 13 September is Lucca's Festa di S. Croce, when the town is lit with candles for a costumed procession. Winter is a good time to explore all the historical sights without the usual crowds. Spring is verdant, with flowers in the valleys.

Our top tips

The average stay is 3 nights but it depends on your schedule. This is a lesser-known area of Tuscany but you can fill 5-7 days easily if you like sightseeing, gastronomic tours, music, art and lounging by the pool.

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
Family
Wedding
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 15
  • Restaurant (open Mon-Sat) & Bar
  • All ages welcome
  • Closed: 7 Dec 2016 - 31 Dec 2016...
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
  • Bicycles Available
Room: Classic Room with View

Rooms

The 15 graceful rooms are adorned in fresh country colours (apple-green, sky-blue) and floral fabrics, with richly patterned rugs on terracotta floors. Furniture is a mix of old and new, and original details - wooden shutters, exposed beams, vaulted ceilings - have been carefully preserved.

It’s worth upgrading to a room on the first floor for a beautiful view over olive groves and hills, though the Classic Rooms on the ground floor are spacious enough. We stayed in one of the latter on our 2015 revisit and loved flinging open our French windows to step straight out into the garden. Top of the range are the 2 Deluxe Rooms, which sit on the first or second floor and offer the best vistas; one has a frescoed ceiling swathed in intricate birds and masks.

Beds throughout are queensize (sometimes with a canopy), and extra beds or baby cots can be added to many rooms on request. Ensuites are simple but pretty, with walk-in shows and marble sink surrounds; some come with tubs, too.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • Tv
  • WiFi

Eating

An extensive buffet breakfast - juice, yoghurt, cold cuts, traditional Italian cakes and breads - is served from 8-10am on a low antique cabinet which doubles as a bar in the evening. In winter you sit in the salmon-pink restaurant with its open fire and worn beams; in summer, the terrace outside beckons.

The restaurant is also open for lunch and dinner, with a menu of simple yet distinctive local dishes. We tucked into delicious tortellini with walnuts and truffle honey, chicken with a creamy white-wine sauce and a mound of seasonal vegetables, and a wonderful chocolate torte. We also enjoyed quaffing a few different varieties from the wine list, which makes a feature of local labels.

The restaurant closes after breakfast on Sundays, but there are plenty of other options nearby (including some within walking distance) - just ask staff for recommendations. And it would be a shame not to sample some of the excellent eateries in Lucca at least once during your stay.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Explore charming Lucca. Walk along its 4km of medieval walls, climb the 44m-high Torre Guinigi for superb views, and pop into the beautiful churches of San Martino and San Frediano
  • There are dozens of stunning palace-villas around Lucca, with landscaped gardens and lavish interiors; Oliva, Grabau and Reale, outside San Pancrazio, make a lovely day trip
  • Head to Pisa to pose by the leaning tower
  • Bird-watchers and music-lovers should visit Villa Puccini, set on the shore of Lake Massaciuccoli near Viareggio. Sign up for a 30-minute tour of the interior or a 60-minute guided ornithological tour around the lake, or hire a boat and head out on your own
  • Rent a bike for a gentle pootle around the countryside
  • Cooking lessons, wine tastings and personalised tours can all be arranged, too - just ask

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Boat trips
  • Cooking classes
  • Cycling
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Private guided tours
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Wine tasting

Kids

Children are welcome and the lawned garden is great for games, though please note that the pool is not fenced off. Cots, extra beds and babysitting are available on request.

Family friendly accommodation:

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available

Babysitting:

Babysitting is available by arrangement.

Baby equipment:

Baby cots are available on request.

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Kids Activities on site:

  • Swimming pool
  • Bikes to rent

Kids Activities nearby:

  • The Leaning Tower of Pisa
  • The Parco di Pinocchio, an open-air collection of statues, mazes and mosaics dedicated to the famous puppet, 15km east of Lucca

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

8/
Rooms
7/
Food
9/
Service
8/
Value
8/
Overall

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