My Dearest and I enjoyed a relaxing stay at L’Andana. It is pleasant enough but falls short of the high standards set by other Italian resorts in the same price bracket. Everywhere at L’Andana I found cheap and tacky touches making it painfully obvious that management is more interested in the bottom line than in providing five star luxury.
The guest rooms at L’Andana are housed in two low rise buildings of recent construction and indifferent quality. If you look past the rustic ochre paint job, these buildings have about as much charm as your average Holiday Inn. The exterior walls feature clumsily patched holes and peeling paint.
The guest rooms are large and spacious but full of cheap touches. Most of the furniture is made of painted softwood with visible chipping and scuff marks. The art on the walls appears to have been produced by making Xerox copies of old architectural drawings and then framing them. Fake plaster antiquities were bolted to the walls. The cabinetry and shelving were made of painted pine. No carpets or rugs on the floor. The lighting was tacky. The center of the room featured a fake gas fireplace with a frame and mantelpiece of painted softwood.
The bathroom was also spacious. I loved the huge mirror, the expansive countertops and the double sinks. Then things went downhill fast. In order to bathe, one needed to step into something that looked like a wading pool that featured a rainforest shower head, a handsprayer, a bathtub faucet, and a metal drain plug shaped like a shitake mushroom. The wading pool was far bigger than you needed for a shower, but it was lined in small sharp-edged tiles that made it uncomfortable to sit down and take a bath. There was no shower curtain, so taking a shower involved spraying quarts of water across the bathroom floor. I was terrified that the top heavy shitake mushroom would fall over onto my big toe and break it. Apparently the wading pool was someone’s creative attempt to mimic a Roman bath. While there are many areas of life in which I applaud creativity, bathroom plumbing is not one of them!
More about the bathroom: the towels were Holiday Inn thin, and no extra towels were provided. The shampoo, bath gel, and other product were L’Andana’s house brand of indifferent quality. The toilet and bidet lived in a small cell within the bathroom. The door to the cell banged against the bidet. I did chuckle at the thought of giving the cell door a good slam so future French guests would have to get along without a bidet!
Breakfast is served in a room that gives new meaning to the term “soul-less”. Zero décor except rust shards shaped as animal profiles. Poor ventilation. Dirty and tattered sheer curtains. Tables and chairs borrowed from a prison cafeteria.
Breakfast service was amateurish. No-one greeted us when we arrived. We seated ourselves. On a clear sunny morning we were told that outdoor seating was not permitted since there was a threat of rain. Five minutes later a French family loudly demanded and received an al fresco table. (I guess they looked more waterproof than My Dearest and me.) Some waiters spoke passable English at breakfast; others did not. I seemed to terrify one waiter in particular: he visibly shook in my presence.
The breakfast buffet was disappointing and woefully more limited than the breakfast buffets at other Italian resorts I have visited. No meats other than cured or baked ham. There was only one variety of cheese most mornings. No smoked salmon or other fish option. When buffet items were finished they were not replenished. The coffee was acrid and often lukewarm. On a few mornings we were offered freshly squeezed citrus juice: an isolated nice touch. On other mornings we ordered beverages that never arrived. Some days we were offered cooked food; other days we were not.
L’Andana sports two swimming pools surrounded by serviceable loungers. Pool service was friendly but slow. A brick wall lined the end of one pool – apparently intended as a decoration. Lion faces cast in plaster hung from the wall and water drained into the pool from spouts in their mouths. Someone has been shopping at the Home Depot!
Lunch hit some high notes but was inconsistent. The house salads delighted me, bursting with fresh produce from the region. On some days the spaghetti ragu was divine with freshly made pasta and a traditional meaty sauce. On other days both the pasta and the sauce came from a supermarket. On some days the waiters were professional and charming. On other days the B Team waited tables and stumbled over their English. I have a strict rule against ice cream, but the delicious homemade gelato forced me to break my rule – again and again and again!
The Trattoria Toscana Restaurant features large portions of red meat roasted in a rustic style with lots of garlic and rosemary. For the most part the meat was very tasty, but some bits were too chewy for me – it’s difficult to enjoy a meal when your gums ache from overwork. The service was friendly at the start of the meal when they are taking your order or selling you an expensive bottle of wine, but afterwards you are mostly left to fend for yourself. The sommelier scowled when I had the temerity to ask for a dessert wine at the end of my meal. The olive oil and the roasted veggies were super!
Trattoria Toscana is overpriced. There are many charming restaurants nearby that offer more imaginative food at better prices. If you stay at L’Andana for more than two nights, you simply must visit some of them. I particularly recommend Terra di Nello, where the steak tartare was divine and the cured pigs cheeks melted on my tongue like butter. (When I explained to our rabbi my thesis that pork products in Tuscany are kosher, he didn’t argue. I take that as a Yes!)
Despite all the shortcomings, My Dearest and I enjoyed our stay at L’Andana. The countryside is lovely. The setting with vineyards and olive trees all round is charming. Lying by the pool gazing at all this beauty, it was possible to overlook even quite glaring flaws.
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Expedia, Booking.com, Priceline, MrandMrsSmith, Despegar.com, Travelocity, Odigeo, Tingo and Jetsetter so you can book your L'Andana reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- l`Andana Hotel Castiglione Della Pescaia
- L'Andana Castiglione Della Pescaia, Italy - Tuscany