“An opulent but wonderfully informal country retreat - medieval buildings, divine gardens, exquisite food”
The decadently luxurious rooms are in a Medici-come-Marie Antoinette-at-Versailles style: some have old stone fireplaces, most flaunt roll-top bathtubs, and all have luscious fabrics, polished floorboards and exquisite chandeliers.
The magnificent Master Suite, Santo Pietro, is more of a self-contained apartment than a room, taking up the entire first floor of the south wing. Sweep through tall gilded wooden doors to find an enormous (2.4m wide!) four-poster, a private terrace for breakfast, a huge bathroom and a sitting room with a stone-carved fireplace and oak dining furniture. It’s a fantasy suite and doesn’t come cheap, but is worth the splurge for honeymooners.
Though not as vast, the other Suites are still enormous. Grand and dramatic Ground-floor Suite Rinaldo Pievano di Sorciano would be good for families who fear making noise. Valle Serena is equally big but decorated in blue and gold. This was where we stayed, and we can vouch for its romance - several silk-festooned windows look onto the gardens and courtyard, a roll-top bathtub in the living area and a Titian-esque nude on the wall. Ground-floor Villa Suite Il Vecchio Forno is a newer addition - we can't wait to sample sundowners on it's alfresco terrace.
Junior Suite Via del Pelligrino was a favourite of ours. Glazed French doors lead to a bathroom with a roll-top bath. Similar in size was moodily dark Junior Suite Studio Badia, decorated in deep burgundy silks with a Bordeaux-red marble fireplace. Styled as a library, it has shelves filled with antique tomes.
Deluxe Rooms San Galgano and Sir Vincent and Superior Room Giardin de Fiori are the smaller. San Galgano follows the Baroque theme, decorated in gold and purple with a stunning fresco on one wall.
There are 7 garden-facing rooms, including the Garden Junior Suites (La Mora, L'Ulivo and Il Melograno). The quartet of Garden Suites (Rosmarino, Basilico, Maggiorana and Casa dell’Unicorno), each have a private terrace. They feel like little cottages with stone floors, antique furniture, exposed beams and old carved fireplaces.
Owners Claus and Jeanette are real foodies and this shows in the care they’ve put into their gastronomy. There are 2 restaurant options. Expect fine dining at Michelin-starred restaurant, Meo Modo. Meals here are served in a mirrored and candlelit dining room or outdoors. The chef conjures up such marvels as wild boar in dulce-forte and figs, seasonal vegetables and greens plucked fresh from their own kitchen garden, and rabbit-stuffed ravioli. Trust the award-winning Sommelier to choose the most delicious wines from the extensive wine cellar to complement each course. The second option is the more relaxed Treehouse Bar and Brasserie - with sofa’s to relax on - which serves home-style Tuscan food. In the autumn the bar benefits from an open fire to cosy up around with a glass of wine or a cocktail, and 180 degree views over the Tuscan countryside.
Monday evening sees the arrival of Borgo’s farmer’s market, an event designed to give you a taste of Tuscany. Choose from fresh meats, cheeses, seasonal vegetables and freshly caught fish, which will then be cooked on the spot. This is accompanied by a buffet that offers starters of cured meats, cheeses and pasta dishes, all freshly prepared and made using local ingredients. Enjoy your pizza or a traditional Tuscan steak in the garden while listening to live music.
There are also a number of special dining options on offer. Choose to have your dinner served in the Romantic Grotto set in the gardens by the infinity pool. Or opt for the Chef’s Table dining experience; from your own private area, watch the head chef cook your meal. He will come to your table and help you construct a unique meal based on the foods that you like or wish to taste.
Breakfast is a relaxed affair, set up in the open-plan kitchen and taken outside or at the long kitchen table. The chef will cook you scrambled eggs, pancakes, omelettes - anything that takes your fancy. Load up your plate with freshly baked bread, homemade jams, muesli, fresh orange juice from the garden’s trees, yoghurts, hams and fruit. You can also request breakfast in your room.
There’s a local pizzeria just a short walk away in the nearest village if you fancy a complete change of scene.
There's plenty for children to do here and the hotel has thought it out well: the playground, for example, is well out of earshot of other guests. Decadent antique-filled rooms might be the stuff of parents' nightmares, but the staff here are relaxed and, with 13 acres of grounds, playing outdoors and well away from expensive breakables is easy to do.
Note that there's a small nightly fee for cots, extra beds and small pets.
Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years)
The Rinaldo Pievano di Sorciano Suite is on the ground floor away from any others; any of the the Garden Suites (little cottages with private terraces and gardens) are also ideal. Two of them are interconnecting if you're travelling with extended family or friends.
Available by arrangement; day nannies can also be arranged (ask in advance).
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
If they don't like the imaginative Michelin-starred food, the chef is happy to whip up special meals; the pool bar serves antipasti, burgers and the like and there's a pizzeria in the village too.
You'll need to watch your children in the gardens - the pool is unfenced. Interior decorations are not all child-friendly and some are breakable.