“Hidden hilltop hotel with striking views across to the islands of Elba and Corsica, plus a magical garden and a glorious little restaurant”
All the suites at Poggio are spacious and beautifully decorated. The décor is still fresh and bright, and a lot of thought has gone into the styling. The effect is rather timeless: its rural roots are firmly in place, but it's clear that Francesca (who designed all the rooms) understands modern trends for simplicity. Fussy fabrics are kept to a minimum; pieces of driftwood and antique furniture add interest. Wooden shutters keep out early morning light, and fresh flowers from the garden scent the air.
The 10 suites are spread out between 3 buildings. In the main house are 3 suites (2 Farmhouse Suites and the Garden Suite) and 2 Pine Forest Superior Suites. Adjacent to the house are 3 Garden Superior Suites, and at the bottom of the garden are the 2 Sea Superior Suites. We loved the Garden Superior Suites with their patios and small garden area filled with flowers, loungers, a table and chairs. One of them, No 3, has a sea view from its patio, while No 2 has a more private garden. Our top choices are the 2 Sea Superior Suites - at 65sqm, they have breathtaking, unobstructed views from their large balconies, which feature spoiling outdoor tubs. They really do have the wow factor.
Two of the Garden Superior Suites and and both the Sea Superior Suites have cleverly concealed kitchenettes: within a painted wooden cabinet you'll find a hob, sink, fridge, cutlery, plates and cooking utensils. The suites in the main house lack outside space (one has a very small balcony), but they are the cheapest option.
The enormous bathrooms are spectacular throughout: large walk-in showers, double sinks, lots of glass and expensive tiles, plus super-stylish fittings as only the Italians know how to do!
Poggio has a restaurant, Il Sale, which serves fantastic seasonal, mainly homegrown, food. It is full of Italians, which is always a good sign, and the atmosphere is very relaxed. Its opening times vary from month to month, especially during low season (October-March). During the summer lunch and dinner tend to be on offer, and guests can sit on the adjoining terrace with its far-reaching views to the sea. Being so close to the coast, Francesca and Dominique claim they have a duty to provide good seafood, and they take this duty very seriously!
Menus change on a regular basis and there is a choice of about 6 starters and mains. We enjoyed baby squid and artichoke, tiny clams with fresh asparagus, and an amazing seafood linguine which arrived steaming in its juices inside a paper bag. Meat eaters will enjoy the finest, organic Chianina steak, prepared in a number of ways, and for vegetarians there are always fresh, seasonal dishes. The wine that accompanies the food comes mainly from a local estate, and we thought the reasonably priced Vermentino was delicious.
Breakfast (included) is a buffet served in the restaurant, and you can eat there or out on the terrace, or take your plate into the garden or back to your room. There are homemade cakes and pastries, plenty of fresh fruits, juices, yogurts, and plump tomatoes with ham and cheese that you can drizzle liberally with the fantastic olive oil made from the trees next to the hotel.
The hotel's bar-lounge, Il Sal8, describes itself as 'a laboratory of ideas', and serves up a diverse and exciting menu of cocktails, as well as offering a range of other drinks to be enjoyed on their sunny garden terrace.
The concealed kitchenettes in 2 of the Garden Superior Suites and both the Sea Superior Suites are perfect for whipping up a light lunch (you have a 2-ring hob, fridge, sink, cooking utensils and crockery) and there are several grocers and a larger Co-op down the road in San Vincenzo. In the town, you'll also find several good seafood restaurants, including the famous Gambero Rosso; Dominique and Francesca are happy to help you choose an alternative place to eat for the evening.