“An opulent but wonderfully informal country retreat - medieval buildings, divine gardens, exquisite food”
It’s an elegant building with stone walls, sweeping staircases, high ceilings and cosy nooks. Deep velvet sofas, swagged silk curtains, hand-painted frescoes and 18th-century portraits (cleverly hiding flat-screen TVs) give the place a Medici-worthy decadence. Everything is tailored towards complete relaxation and romance, from the his and hers iPads to the huge antique beds. Add extraordinary food, a well-stocked wine cellar, tennis courts, a lawn-embedded trampoline, an infinity pool and an outdoor cocktail bar, and there’s little incentive to ever leave.
- Extensive, beautifully landscaped grounds that are both peaceful and secluded - cypress-shaded lanes, rose gardens, herb gardens, wild flower fields, fruit orchards and an onsite florist
- Sumptuous, antique-filled interiors - some of the most romantic suites we've seen
- Claus and Jeanette’s personalities set the tone: fun, sociable, informal; staff are wonderfully warm and the concierge will go above and beyond for you
- A great spa, tucked away amidst the healing herb gardens and flower meadows
- The romance: it’s as if you’re a character in a Petrarch sonnet
- Some of the passageways in the house are quite dark, as you’d expect from an old building
- Quiet and romantic – welcoming to families but best for couples and honeymooners
- Occasional jets overhead from the nearby airbase
- Prices are steep but this is reflected in the service, luxury and “can do” attitude of the team
- There are expansion plans afoot during 2017/8, but disruption to guests should be minimal
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Luxury Hotel
- Restaurants and bar (open daily)
- All ages welcome.
- Open all year
- Outdoor Pool
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Concierge Service
- Tennis Court
- Bicycles Available
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 Santo Pietro suite is more of a self-contained apartment, 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. 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 Rinaldo di Sorciano would be good for families. Valle Serena is equally big, and we can vouch for its romance - several silk-festooned windows look onto the gardens and courtyard, there’s a roll-top bathtub in the living area and a Titian-esque nude on the wall. Il Vecchio Forno is a newer addition - we can't wait to sample sundowners on its alfresco terrace.
On our most recent visit we stayed in Maggiorana, a garden suite. Each of these has a private terrace with a daybed and an outdoor fireplace. In fact, they feel like little cottages with stone floors, antique furniture, exposed beams and old carved fireplaces.
Via del Pelligrino was a favourite. Glazed French doors lead to a bathroom with a roll-top bath. Similar in size was moodily dark Studio Badia, decorated in deep burgundy silks with a Bordeaux-red marble fireplace. Styled as a library, it has shelves filled with antique tomes.
San Galgano, Sir Vincent and Giardin de Fiori are smaller. There are also 7 garden-facing rooms.
We have yet to see the latest additions: the two magnificent Casa dei Fiori Bianchi suites, which have a pool apiece.
- Air conditioning
- Cots Available
- DVD player
- Extra beds
- Ipod dock
- Safe box
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 Trattoria Sull'Albero - 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.
- Children's meals
- Farmer's market
- Organic produce
- Restaurants nearby
- Room service
- Vegetarian menu
- Borrow a mountain bike and cycle to the beautiful ruins of San Galgano, where you can see the locally famed 'sword in stone' and the gothic Abbey of San Galgano
- Learn! Take an art lesson with the resident artist (every month a different artist lives and works on the grounds). Or try flower arranging with the in-house florist. Supplies are included in the lesson costs
- Take a dip in the river; ask for directions at reception. This river and wood is a nature reserve; birds to be spotted include barn owls, hawks and eagles
- Have an indulgent massage in the spa, then laze in ergonomic wicker sun loungers by the infinity pool
- Walk the grounds, down passageways framed by sweet-smelling roses and into fields of wildflowers
- Have a cooking lesson with the talented chef, or play bocce (boules) on a court shaded by jasmine flowers
- Play tennis (coaching can be arranged), basketball or badminton on the hotel’s courts
- Take day trips to Siena, Florence and local vineyards (Borgo Santo Pietro’s sommelier can get you into vineyards otherwise closed to the public)
- Play golf on Italy’s oldest course (Ugolino, outside Florence in Grassina)
- Go hot-air ballooning and get a bird's eye view of the region
- Swim in the sea: the coastal resorts of Follonica and Castiglione della Pescaia are only 30 minutes' drive away
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Cooking classes
- Historical sites
- Hot air ballooning
- Museums / galleries
- Plantlife / flora
- Tennis coaching
- Well being
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.
Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years)
Family friendly accommodation:
The ground-floor Rinaldo Pievano di Sorciano Suite is tucked 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, its best to opt for the more relaxed Treehouse Trattoria, where there's a kids menu, fantastic pizzas and the chef is happy to whip up special meals. The pool bar serves antipasti, burgers and the like. There's also a pizzeria in the village, too.
Kids Activities on site:
- Playground (a bit worn around the edges but there's lots to keep them busy)
- 13 acres of garden to play hide-and-seek, plus alpacas, chickens and sheep
- Spring-fed infinity pool (unfenced)
- Tennis, volleyball and badminton courts, plus an area for football
- DVD players; iPads given on check-in
- Cookery classes can be arranged
Kids Activities nearby:
- Cycle to San Galgano and try your luck with its sword in the stone
- Swim in the nearby river or the sea, 30 minutes away
- Take a day trip to Siena or Florence
Families Should Know:
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. This is generally a quiet and romantic hotel.
- Airport: 1 hour 20 minutes
- Hospital: 30 minutes