We picked up a hire car at Pisa airport and it was an 'interesting' beginning to our week at Villasanpaolo in Tuscany. The car was manual and only my husband could drive, which was a lot of pressure.However, we took a wonderful satnav with us and, my husband having already google viewed the area, arrived in good time.
First impressions were very good, the hotel looked just as it had in the online photos. The welcome was very warm, I did try out a bit of Italian, and wasn't laughed at! Everyone spoke incredibly good English, but encouraged me in my faltering Italian.
Our room was on the second floor and had a balcony and a view of the lovely garden. The bed was huge, the room well-appointed and the bathroom a good size, very clean and with a whirlpool bath - noisy but nice.The toiletries were all made from olive oil and were very nice. We slept very well there, the bed was incredibly comfortable and I liked that the bedding was not changed every day, (unless you requested otherwise) much better for the environment. The air conditioning was very good and it also turned itself off if the balcony doors were open, another good thing for the environment.
Breakfast was self-service and full of wonderful things we don't normally have in England, such as bruschetta and Tuscan cake. (What have the Romans ever done for us? Cake at breakfast!!) This was served in the dining room, with fantastic views over the countryside towards San Gimignano. There was plenty of choice, too. All very tasty.
The pool bar was great, with good service from Simone and Mateus (I think) and a nice selection of snacks. Lazing around the pool was lovely, though the water itself was 'bracing'.
Dinner was really good. We ate at the restaurant three times and did not feel the need to go for the whole four courses. The gnocchi was lovely, and the puddings great. The menu didn't change that week, but that didn't matter to us as it was all so very tasty. The boar chops and the pork loin are worth mentioning in particular.
The whole area is very beautiful and each of the hill towns was different. The views as we were travelling around were such that I could well understand what draws people to Tuscany to paint,
We didn't avail ourselves of the spa, perhaps next time, as we will surely be going back to the area and to the hotel.