(+) Accommodation wise, we thoroughly enjoyed our stay in a beautifully decorated deluxe room with a stunning bathroom in the middle of gorgeous Tuscan countryside. The rooms and the hotel itself were spotlessly clean and although quite big, it felt relaxing with lots of outdoor sitting areas & two pools (one thermal, the other one with crystal clear cold spring water) and a very well equipped gym (which has breathtaking views across the hills and as a bonus it was always empty, which made it feel like a private gym). The spa itself is worth the trip and we loved the different temperature pools, as well as the Turkish bath and the sauna. We also managed to leave the fabulous room and spa for a couple of day trips to Sienna and to Marina d'Alberese in the natural park of Maremma (you can rent bicycles to the beach), as well as for a few cross country walks straight from the hotel: to the Bagni di Petriolo thermal springs, on a circular route across the Farma valley (both kindly recommended by the reception staff) and one to the tiny medieval Pari village, so there's plenty to do outside of the hotel.
(-) The food was rather average for what we were expecting, but seriously overpriced and the drinks even more so (a small beer at the bar by the pool is 8€ and I can only make sense of our dinner bill by assuming that we got charged 12€ for a bottle of sparkling water..). Breakfast-wise, the fresh juice, coffee & pastries (real French style croissants unlike the usual sugary-doughy simulacra you get in Italy) were indeed fantastic, however it seemed impossible to get unsweetened yogurt and the only cooked breakfast options were scrambled eggs and bacon (great on the first day, but not having any other option is certainly not worthy of a 5 star hotel). Also considering the hotel rating, the food selection was rather poor and the Tuscan flavour over-diluted to non-existent.. Joke aside, even a small Waitrose has a wider variety of Italian breads, whilst our local bakery in Chiswick or a whole foods shop would put to shame what we were presented in the restaurant.. For breakfast there was only sliced bread for toasting (only white on most days), the very unappetising fete biscottate straight from the packet or the ubiquitous white unsalted sourdough called Tuscan bread (desperately in need of seriously flavoured accoutrements to work and great for a panmolle, but way too subtle on its own), whilst for the 'gourmet' dinner we were brought a basket of sliced Tuscan bread accompanied by a white fluffy bread covered by sesame seeds and what a disappointment that was. The a la carte menu was uninventive and distinctively lacking in Tuscan identity, with my sautéed spinach was over-seasoned (way too salted to be enjoyable, and I'm one who loves anchovies or other salty eats!!), however the fish and meat were beautifully cooked, but the portions were on the very mean side for a main. Had there been anything on the menu like the tasty complimentary panzanella amuse bouche (a delicious mixture of crushed tomatoes, onion, basil and bread soaked in olive oil which really tasted like you were eating in Italy), I would have been happy..
Top Marks for Staff & Service: all incredibly courteous, polite and very efficient with the exception of one 'senior' (to be read as overtly stiff and unfriendly) member of the restaurant staff who seemingly developed a habit of grinding his teeth every time we approached the buffet tables.. We didn't take this treatment personally as he appeared to only be pleasant towards anyone resembling a mafia baron, but we could have done without him throwing a pretty condescending look upon our entry for breakfast every morning. He also managed to spoil our dinner on the first night by making a lot of loud fuss about us asking whether we could have some table water before we decide on drinks, which supposedly is totally unheard of on that side of Italy.. we understand his sudden concerns over our health (he boisterously announced that that water would make us ill), but thought he could have handled the matter more lightly by discretely suggesting to have bottled drinks instead if they don't filter the water.. needless to say that this whole school master correction treatment put us off enquiring about wine (for fear of being told off for our choice) or any other drinks so we just ordered sparkling water. We received similarly bemused looks when asking for some butter with our bread which was brought with absolutely no accompaniments (being in Italy we excepted dipping olive oil, balsamic or olives as pretty standard bread accoutrements in any semi decent restaurant).
My suggestion is to drop the food & drinks prices a bit, add a few authentic Tuscan dishes to the menu (despite the woods around the hotel are full of wildlife, we couldn't find any wild boar, rabbit or porcini dishes there) and we will be certainly coming back!
the deluxe rooms have a walk in closet, a luxurious bathroom and plenty of room to relax, although t...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.