“A beautifully restored relais with 21st-century comforts, a spoiling spa and a relaxed atmosphere”
There are only 13 rooms, which is lovely given the size of the building; other hotels would have crammed in more and lost the sense of space and exclusivity. Each is named after a noble family who have lived here at one time, including the Alcinis who are its current owners.
Signora Alcini, the lady of the house, oversaw the decoration of each room. A fashion designer by trade, she had masses of original furniture restored, then painted snowy white, adding bold striped cushions and velvet seat covers to jazz things up. The resulting blend is extremely easy on the eye - clean and uplifting.
We stayed in a Deluxe - the second smallest room - and it was extremely comfy. The ceiling was beamed, a mock coat of arms hung on one wall, and netted windows gave views over the pool. The overall feel was elegant yet comfortable, and we slept deeply with the window open, awakening to birdsong.
Other rooms are similar, bigger or smaller in size depending on the category, but we liked all that we saw. One Suite has an original vaulted ceiling and kingsize sleigh bed; another has a bed suspended from the ceiling by iron chains, and a massage table for in-room treatments.
The food at Montignano is good, but it's the dining experience as a whole that really delights. The stone-walled restaurant is softened by candles flickering in its alcoves and a kitsch fluffy heart suspended from the ceiling. Square tables decked out in white linens are a discreet distance apart, and the whole atmosphere is cosy and laidback, with music playing from a retro wireless.
The chef likes to come out and chat to guests, to tell them about his specials and recommendations. We started with Grechetto wine-flavoured risotto with drake meat sauce, and homemade pasta with olive and tomato sauce. For secondi we tried sliced beef steak with rocket, olives and sundried tomato and beef with smoked cheese and aubergine. The wine list is excellent - about 40 listings per colour.
Breakfast is laid out as a buffet, or served in-room for no extra cost. In the interest of research we went for the indulgent option, and phoned down for room service. It felt very decadent to be sat by a sunny window in our fluffy robes with coffee, OJ, and a spread of delicious pastries, cheeses and meats.
If you want to eat out one evening, we'd recommend La Fontana delle Pere in Massa Martana, an excellent agriturismo.
The hotel is very welcoming to, and flexible around, families, but children under 16 are not allowed in the spa. They offer some fantastic family activity packages for all ages; enquire when booking.
Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years)
The best option for a family with older kids is the Family Suite (2 interconnecting rooms). The Deluxe rooms and Junior Suites can fit an extra bed or baby cot; the Suites can fit up to 2 adults and 2 kids on 2 rollaway beds.