La Granica

Fontanile, Piedmont, Italy Book from Book from £184 per night

Two self-catering cottages on a rustic Piedmontese farmstead with vineyard and swimming pool
Enfolded in the gentle Monferrato hills, this is the dolce vita: two houses in a peaceful valley near Fontanile, surrounded by fields of vines, a glittering pool and Piedmont’s real food and fine wines… It’s the stuff long hazy summers are made of. Thankfully for us, owners Karen and Mark Langley chose to share this haven with others, so you too can now enjoy a slice of rural escapism.

Both houses have been kept small and homely, but there is nothing homespun about them. The interior of the 4-Bedroom Villa is lined with oak and brick, teak and slate, the odd wall of luscious wallpaper. The rooms are furnished with sleek Milan-designer furniture, mood lighting, a touch of Japanese modernism, a bit of crystal bling, a nod towards carbon-neutrality. Next, the 2-Bedroom Cottage arrived, this is a simpler hideaway, but no less welcoming. In one of Piedmont’s most beautiful corners, La Granica feels like the middle of nowhere, but it’s actually an easy drive from Alba, Asti and Acqui Terme, and walking distance from a wine cantina.

Highs

  • The 4-Bedroom Villa has gorgeous suite-like rooms with lots of light, teak floors and dashes of colour
  • A smaller 2-Bedroom Cottage with a handy twin room for kids
    The houses share access to the grounds and swimming pool, but retain a sense of privacy
  • Good green credentials: spring-fed water supply, solar-powered energy and a chlorine-free pool
  • Great location in Piedmont’s wine-and-food heart - an easy drive from Alba, Asti and Acqui Terme

Lows

  • Previously a B&B and we're yet to experience the new self-catering set up
  • You have your own kitchen, but you'll have to drive to reach restaurant and food shops
  • Smokers should be aware: no lighting up on site

Best time to go

In this “enogastronomic” region, there seems to be a feast or a food festival every other week from spring until autumn, celebrating just about everything from asparagus to chickpeas and hazelnuts. Visit in May for fine weather and Piedmont wine festivals; the local village, Fontanile, holds a small one in June. In autumn, come for the wine harvest and truffle season (the Alba truffle festival takes place in October/November).

Our top tips

Local towns and villages worth a look include: Nizza Monferrato (10 mins), good for restaurants, shopping and mooching around; the hilltop village of Mombaruzzo (5 mins), home to the Amaretti biscuit, the Berta Grappa distillery and an excellent Cantina Sociale; and Canelli (15 mins) for cobbled streets and more cantinas.

Great for...

Family
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 4 + 1 cottage for 2-4
  • Self-catering (drive to restaurants)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
  • Bicycles Available
Room: Red

Rooms

La Granica has a large 4-Bedroom Villa and a simpler 2-Bedroom Cottage. Both enjoy full access to the peaceful grounds and cooling swimming pool.

The 4-Bedroom Villa has a semi-professional grade kitchen (a hangover from the house’s B&B days), a dining room, a library and a covered outdoor terrace. On the first floor, the generous bedrooms are all slightly different, with high sloping ceilings, exposed timbers and polished teak floors. We loved our sunny, twin-aspect Aubergine room with its simple four-poster bed and shuttered French windows opening onto a small balcony overlooking the vineyard. Next door, the Red has a mahogany sleigh bed and two balconies. Sage is the smallest room, but still charming. Amber is the only room without a balcony. Fabulous ensuite wet-rooms are lined with limestone, sculpted basins, chrome taps and luxury towels.

The 2-Bedroom Cottage next door is a little more traditional and a little less glamorous. It’s a available for holidays or short breaks. Part of the original 300-year-old building, the cottage is a cosy, family-friendly option with a kitchen-diner (microwave, fridge, washing machine), a living room, a double bedroom with four-poster, a twin room and family bathroom.

Features include:

  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Internet access
  • Radio
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace
  • Tv

Eating

Each house has a kitchen for self-catering, perfect for lazy lunches and easy suppers. You could easily whip up a bowl of pasta or a Piedmont ploughman’s (with Gorgonzola cheese and Prosciutto). The 4-Bedroom Villas has a sunny separate dining room and comfy sofas on the shaded outdoor terrace.

If you feel like dining out, head to one of dozens of excellent local restaurants. Karen’s favourites include La Signora in Rosso, an atmospheric enoteca in Nizza Monferrato. Here you can eat and drink in the courtyard during summer or the cellar during cooler months - the wine list is vast. In Acqui Terme, La Curia's specialities include fresh fish from the Ligurian coast.

For a fun food shopping experience, join the hustle and bustle of Asti's Wednesday morning produce market (30-minute drive). It's a great introduction to Piedmont’s foodie culture, at the heart of the famous sparkling-wine town.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Snacks on request
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • If you want to stay close to home, just take a walk through the vineyard up to Fontanile, a small village crowned by a magnificent church dome. There a small local bar-café, lovely views of the hills and vineyards, and on a fine day you can see the snowy peaks of the Alps

  • Explore the beautiful Roman spa town of Acqui Terme (15 mins drive), the Piedmont equivalent of England’s Bath Spa (with piping hot thermal springs). You can book a steamy thermal treatment in the modern spa at the Grand Termes in the Piazza Italia. The town is great for shopping, too and there’s a market on Tuesday mornings

  • Medieval Alba, the centre of the Barolo wine region, is also worth a visit. There are pay-as-you-go bikes for hire in the centre, and in October/November the town hosts an annual 6-week truffle festival

  • Wine buffs should make pilgrimage to the hilltop villages of Barbaresco, Nizza (for Barbera) or Nieve. Closer to home, there is a social cantina at Fontanile, which is open for wine tastings. The largest private winery in the area, Nocetto Michelotti (about 3 mins away), has a state of the art cantina.

  • Longer day trips can take you up to museum-rich Turin, fashion capital of Milan , the Ligurian coast around Genoa (75km) or the stunning Italian Lakes (120km)

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Cycling
  • Golf
  • Historical sites
  • Horse-riding
  • Hot air ballooning
  • Shopping / markets
  • Tennis
  • Traditional cultures

Kids

Children are welcome and will enjoy exploring the acres of vineyards.

Family friendly accommodation:

The 4-Bedroom Villa is all double beds. Extra beds and baby cots are available on request. The 2-Bedroom Cottage has a double and a twin bedroom.

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 4 independent reviews from i-escape guests

10/10
Room
10/10
Food
10/10
Service
10/10
Value
10/10
Overall

We had a wonderful stay at la Granica. Mark could not have been more hospitable. The breakfast was delicious and Mark very kindly accommodated to our dietary requirements providing a delicious and plentiful veggie breakfast. Would strongly recommend this hotel to stay, for value for money, staying with a family yet a very a peaceful setting and wonderful service.

10/10,

We thoroughly enjoyed our stay here. Can only recommend.

10/10,

We (a couple with 8 month old baby) just came back from a stay at La Granica where we had a wonderful time. Mark is the perfect host who at all times made sure we had all we needed and provided great recommendations and insights about restaurants/sights in the surrounding. We stayed at the cottage which we found prefect for a family with kid(s), Mark also provided us with a baby cot and baby chair. The location is great for exploring the Piedmont, awesome for wine tasting and food or just relaxing at the pool. Definitely plan to come back.

10/10,

We had a wonderful stay in La Granica and the region of Piedmont, and will definitely recommend it to friends.

10/10,

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Rates for La Granica