The Relais San Maurizio, located between Asti and Alba is a five star spa. The hotel is built out of a renovated centuries old monastery. The front desk young ladies are very helpful. In fact, these ladies outperform most concierges I’ve met.
The spa is inovative though quit expensive compared to most others. It is an ideal location for enjoying luxury, relaxing and indulging the senses. It has frescoed walls, gardens and a “salt grotto” – a natural ravine with pools of high salt density (at 70 euro per hour), a heated swimming pool, hydro massage, a steam room (free), massages, and so on. The massages and treatments are 130 euro (I usually figure these “should” cost about $100 to 100 euros an hour in most hotels around the world). While more expensive than most, the spa is top-notch..
The outdoor pool here has the expected fabulous views and there is an indoor pool with Jacuzzi and steam room.
The views from the property are, without exception, fantastic and rate up there with the best we have seen in Piedmont. The hotel upgraded our room to a ground floor suite with its own outdoor sitting area overlooking the vineyards (grab room 302 if you can). Where other hotels would offer complimentary coffee in the room, here it is 4 euros a cup.
Our first evening, we decided to eat in the hotel’s restaurant on an outdoor verandah facing a “million dollar” view of the vineyards. The restaurant runs roughly a hundred bucks a person (excluding wine – the wine list is as large as a phone book here). Logistically, it was a nightmare as a nest of “yellow jacket” wasps took an especial liking to my wife and her food. We asked if there was a place we could eat indoors and were told no. Finally, about halfway through dinner when my wife was spending more time defending herself than eating, they moved us into the wine cellar where we sat alone waiting for them to re-prepare our dinner. Not because of this (or because of the price), but maybe because our expectations were set by the nearby hotel we just left, we felt that the food was not good enough to have come from such a highly rated restaurant. The restaurant has a Michelin star and they have an extensive wine cellar (this hotel is in the heart of Moscato), but frankly we had a poor esperience with our meal and only ate there once.
That said, the hotel's buffest breakfast if fantastic in variety, presentation and taste.
So, in summary for those interested in this hotel: The spa and restaurant are concessions. The hotel itself, its setting and its staff are marvelous and certainly enhance one’s experience of the area. While it’s expensive, in this case, you are truly getting a premium product. The spa is also not only world class, but offers some eclectic treatments (like an exfoliating honey and salt massage which sounds too much like “waxing” for most guys to contemplate) and the high salt content baths in the former wine cellars which mimic the Dead Sea. If you can afford to stay here, you can afford the 50% price premium that they charge. The restaurant is where things fall apart. While they may be Michelin star rated, it must be because of the view, the hotel and the wine cellar because, adding to the extraordinarily high price, the food is frankly mediocre. Coming from New York City and having vacationed in Paris numerous times, I am no stranger to high priced food, but at least one expects to be compensated with a well cooked, tasty and decorative meal. The meal we had was far off the mark. (An example of their fare was an appetizer which consisted of a single slice of tomato, a slice of mozzarella cheese and a small piece of marinated mackerel purchased from the market – said dish costs 25 euros). OK, enough grouse – long story made short is that the hotel is a keeper as well as the spa, but don’t expect the restaurant to meet the expectations set by other “star rated” places. The challenge lies in the difficulty of getting back in the dark if eating off the property but the hotel offers a reasonably priced “shuttle service” and this may be your best bet to driving back in the dark after a bit of wine.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.