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“A well hidden Gem” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Renaissance Tuscany Il Ciocco Resort & Spa

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Renaissance Tuscany Il Ciocco Resort & Spa
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Via Giovanni Pascoli, Castelvecchio Pascoli Barga Lucca, 55051 Castelvecchio Pascoli, Italy   |  
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St Louis
Senior Contributor
40 reviews 40 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“A well hidden Gem”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 1, 2013

We stayed at the Il Ciocco Renaissance June 2013. The Hotel/Resort was an incredible gem. Close to Barga and Lucca, about 1 hour from Pisa, the Il Ciocco sits high about the valley with sweeping views and lofty sights. We stayed for a conference and the conference center was well equipped, comfortable and well serviced.

I can say, unlike other reviews, we enjoyed the food, both in the restaurant and for the conference meals in the lower level restaurant. The combination

The staff were attentive and helpful. The bar was good. We enjoyed the pool area and the terrace for meals. The views were to die for.


The location worked well for us in the conference and for afternoon trips to the area, Pisa and Firenze. It is a little hard to get around this area at 4 pm along SP 20 and 445. The mountain location was excellent for hikes and hardy walks to Barga.

Lastly, we had a room in the little out building across from the front of the hotel ( room 12). The views from the terrace again were spectacular. The room was redone very recently and the furnishings and layout were great. Very comfortable, almost "normal size" and the furnishings appeared new. Air conditioning worked well.

I will return to this Hotel for business and personal travel.

Room Tip: The out buildings "polka dot" rooms were great. DO not stay in the room on the parking de...
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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515 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (139)
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Boston
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 1, 2013

On the outskirts of a small village up a winding steep hill is a beautiful resort. The hotel is immaculate and modern and provides an amazing view of the Tuscan countryside. We did not stay in the main building but a side building that houses probably about 6 rooms. It was a small room and didn't provide a view but was well-furnished and comfortable. The bed is on par with a W bed. We tried the restaurant on the 2nd floor (since there really isn't many options around the area) and it was well worth it. We sat on the outdoor patio and the food and backdrop scenery was fantastic - perfectly cooked Italian steak and rich and creamy pasta paired perfectly with a local Lucca wine. From the front desk to the bartender, the staff was attentive and very helpful. Looking forward to returning someday.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 1, 2013 via mobile

The newly refurbished rooms are good value but very small. Service is excellent, and so is the food. We got upgraded and bigger room excellent. Staff very good and will come back. Marriott owner for 16 years, and very happy with stay.

  • Stayed July 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Oxford, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 28, 2013

I stayed here as part of a conference, and was very excited to hear the location. But on arrival, what a disappointment. Main issue was the awful, cold, overcooked food on offer at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Even when brought out directly from the kitchen, the food was cold. All I can say is that I'm glad I didn't spend my own money on this awful food.

Good points: the vineyard trip organised through the hotel is lovely, mainly due to the superb people at the vineyard. Room were clean and view across the valley is lovely if you are lucky enough to get a room with a view. I was unlucky to get a room in the back with a view of the parking lot. Hmm.

Not a destination I will return to.

Room Tip: Ask for a room with a view over the valley, not in the back with a view of the parking lot!
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled on business
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Southampton
Top Contributor
113 reviews 113 reviews
33 hotel reviews
Reviews in 57 cities Reviews in 57 cities
55 helpful votes 55 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 26, 2013

Good points
Location - beautiful scenery
One of the best bathroom showers.
Free wifi (on our package) was fast throughout the hotel

Disappointments
Location - too far from other tourist places to be convenient
Not very peaceful much of the time due to volumes of conference guests
Limited sun beds round pool and often no space to sit in afternoons
Food options limited
Mixed staff, some good some barely average.

We so wanted to like this place after all the good reviews but we were disappointed.

We found the site without any problem but were not clear to go when we got to the hotel so parked/abandoned our car near what seemed an entrance and then someone appeared and pointed out where the car park was. As other reviewers have commented, access to the car park is tight with a steep incline and a couple of sharp turns but I have a fairly big Mercedes and I managed, with care! There was always plenty of parking but it is in the open air with no shade so the cars get hot.

We then found our way to reception and managed to get checked in but it was not that quick or efficient. We were given a list of places to eat nearby (irrelevant because we were on a special package which included Dinner) but there was no further explanation about where or when to eat or where to find anything else in the hotel. This is a rambling site with several buildings on a hillside so things take some finding so every time we needed help we had to ask. We would have liked to have key details pointed out when we checked in.

We had an Executive Room which is described on the website as a larger guest room. I would hate to see a smaller room. Our Executive Room was small but OK for a couple although the bathroom was very nice with an excellent shower, probably one of the best we have come across in a hotel. The view across the valley was lovely. The decor in the room was modern and well maintained. Much of the hotel has been renovated but some areas still need attention.

So, the location is beautiful but this is, sadly, spoilt by two things. Firstly, it is too far away from any places you want to visit to be convenient. It takes 45 minutes to reach Lucca which is the closest real tourist spot. Secondly, the place was full of conference guests mostly, it seems, young scientists on a research conference and they make a lot of noise! Whilst they are seated in a separate section of the restaurant for breakfast, they all talk very loudly so what should be a peaceful breakfast in a beautiful location turns about to be a noisy experience with people queuing for food.

They also like to talk loudly on the patio below your window at 1.30am until we shouted down that other people were trying to sleep. They also get the afternoon off so all round the pool are groups of people talking loudly which destroys any peace there was during the morning.

In fact, the pool area is a problem. There are only about 8 to 10 sun beds with mattresses round the pool and then a lot of ordinary deck chairs and some basic canvas beds. If you come back from a hot day out and want to swim or relax, you find the pool area busy and noisy and little chance of finding anywhere to sit.

We did discuss this with the General Manager as we left and it seems that this company have weekly bookings at the hotel each week throughout the summer. He tells me that they hope it will be limited to February to June next year but they have been using the hotel for 15 years so are clearly important customers. It means that it fails dramatically to be the beautiful and quiet spot it should be.

Now to the food. The main Veranda restaurant seems to be a buffet restaurant but seems to be exclusively for the conference guests. I say "seems" because when we asked about this we did not get a definite answer. As we were on an inclusive package, we were allocated to La Salette which is described as their fine dining restaurant. Certainly, it was a lovely outdoor location and very peaceful. The food was not fine dining but was generally good with the exception of one meal which was disappointing. The only real problem is that the menu was very limited with only four main courses and, if any of these are not to your liking, then you will get a bit bored if you are staying for long. There is nowhere else to eat within walking distance. The local village of Barga is an hour's walk so, if you don't like or get bored with the hotel for offering, then you will have to get in your car and look elsewhere.

We had planned to spend 10 days here which was clearly a mistake due to the distance to anywhere else, the general noise due to the conference guests and the limited food choices. In the end, we checked out early and went off to stay in Florence for four nights where we had a great time.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
Top Contributor
59 reviews 59 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 37 cities Reviews in 37 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 22, 2013

This hotel was an amazing find. The view from the balcony was breathtaking ... Looking out toward the town of Barga and across to the amazing mountains. A great location for exploring Tuscany. Very nice staff and great food and bar. (Try the Chestnut Beer or a Spritz - Campari). Wines of Lucca as well. As others have mentioned this venue can be VERY difficult to find. We chose a back roads route (great switchbacks and mountain passes) but difficult to find the road on which the hotel is located. Once we arrived it was great. Some better maps are needed.

We loved our stay and did not want to leave.

Room Tip: Definitely get a valley and mountain view room. Some rooms don't have great seating...
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Chandler, AZ
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
28 hotel reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
49 helpful votes 49 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 21, 2013

We are loyal Marriott Platinum members and that's probably the only reason we happened to stumble upon this resort to use as our base to explore Tuscany -- but it was more than we could have imagined and wished we could have extended our stay!!

Pros:
- Beautifully refurbished estate/resort
- North American standards is an understatement, I've never stayed at a hotel as nice as this, it really makes the Ritz look shabby
- Amazing views -- especially of the mountains and of the medieval town of Barga
- Amazing service -- most employees are locals and have worked there for 20+ years, prior to Marriott's acquisition/partnership
- Amazing workout facility -- huge, bright, airy gym with all the equipment you could ever want
- Two swimming pools, one indoor and one outdoor
- Surprisingly good nightlife at the resort! But the rooms are soundproof, so you can't hear it if your windows are closed.

Cons:
- Some parts of the resort are still being renovated or need renovation... but this is not bothersome
- You do need a car to enjoy this area
- Eventually, you have to check-out...

The resort is located in a quaint town, high up on a hill, making for quite the grand entrance and views.

It appears that the resort has been undergoing some renovations, and they have made all the right choices from what I can tell, but still some work in progress (especially noticeable on the 7th floor).

Check-in was easy, being a Platinum member we received a welcome gift (opted for white wine and snacks which turned out to be the best white wine we had and the cheeses and bruschetta were a great way to start off), upgraded room with an amazing view of the valley and Barga (room 603), free wifi, and free breakfast.

We drove from Florence/Firenze and the GPS will get you pretty close (the Renaissance has posted signs for directions as you get closer -- mostly to confirm that you're going the right way), just keep going a bit further and you'll see the Renaissance sign again advising you to turn left into the gated community where you will climb the mountain.

As others have mentioned, taking a taxi will cost about 150 euros each way and unless you plan to eat and relax at the resort the entire time, you'll need taxis (or use of the hotel shuttle/tour, which isn't all that convenient) to visit Barga and Lucca, so you may as well rent a car (assuming you can drive a manual transmission) for about the same price (if you get all the insurance), it's a fun experience and not as scary/unsafe as it's made out to be.

Both restaurants are great for lunch/dinner, eat and spend time on the patios as much as possible, the food and the wine are all locally sourced and excellent.

The breakfast buffet spread is also very good although omelets were an extra charge and not included in the free breakfast.

While we were there, there was a conference, a photo shoot, and on Friday night there was a group of locals (teens or tweens) who came to party. The outdoor pool area has a cabana lounge-type of area which hosts a DJ and a dance floor. I'm not sure if this is every Friday, but it was a good time! When we retired for the night and the party was still going, we could hear/see it from our balcony, but once we closed our balcony doors, the sound was gone! This is the type of soundproofing I expect from all hotels and I continued to be impressed by this Renaissance.

Special mention to Antonia, Elena and Massimo, superb service, extremely knowledgeable of the area, and just wonderful people. Everyone was great, but those 3 stood out for us.

Area recommendations:
- Visit the town of Lucca -- excellent shopping (great leather purses from Officina della Pelle) and a fun place to walk around and take it all in
- Visit the town of Barga
- Drive to Viareggio -- if you want to get some beach time
- Drive/train to Cinque Terre
- Eat at Osteria al Ritrovo del Platano, it's close to the hotel and you will not be disappointed - 1 liter of wine for 10 euros, excellent wine, the best meal we had while in Italy for 2 weeks (veal with cheese sauce and pasta with guinea-fowl), I wish we found it before our last evening in town

Do us all a favor: book this hotel now, you will not regret it! Honestly the nicest hotel I've ever been to (and I've stayed at plenty of 5 star hotels) and I'm already planning to go back!

Ciao ciao!

Room Tip: Get room 603 or equivalent, poshly renovated and amazing views of Barga and the valley/mountains fro...
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Renaissance Tuscany Il Ciocco Resort & Spa

Address: Via Giovanni Pascoli, Castelvecchio Pascoli Barga Lucca, 55051 Castelvecchio Pascoli, Italy
Location: Italy > Tuscany > Province of Lucca > Castelvecchio Pascoli
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Castelvecchio Pascoli
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Renaissance Tuscany Il Ciocco Resort & Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 180
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Renaissance Tuscany Il Ciocco Resort & Spa, recently renovated, is situated within a 2000 hectares estate inside the greenest land of Tuscany, the Serchio Valley. The first Renaissance Resort in Tuscany is an iconic venue where classic and elegant Italian style meets the brand new Chic Design by Renaissance Hotels.Our luxury Tuscan Resort hosts 180 guest rooms, 65 of which have been beautifully restored into new Executive Rooms. There is everything for your meetings & events including 11 meeting rooms fully equipped with every amenity and our “Salone Pascoli “ , ready to host any event up to 900 persons.Step inside our Daniela Steiner Beauty Spa and our Wellness centre to pamper yourself or, if you need some action, we have any kind of sport facility from horseback riding to soccer fields.Whatever is your wish during your stay, at the Renaissance Tuscany Il Ciocco Resort & Spa you will find the opportunities. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Il Ciocco Hotel
Il Ciocco Barga
Renaissance Tuscany Il Ciocco Resort & Spa Italy/Province Of Lucca

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