This review is based on our late October stay at the apartment La Terrazza in Montepulciano city, not at the Sant' Antonio resort. (We looked at two apartments at the country resort as we were checking in and they would be spectacular during the summer months.)
The apartment in town is lovely and very convenient to shops and restaurants. By the end of our week there we felt like locals – it’s hard not to feel a little self-satisfied as you stride purposefully, bag of bread or groceries in hand, to your attractive front door on a street that sees a lot of tourists making their way up or down the hill on the town’s main drag.
This was our first time in Tuscany, so we used Montepulciano as a base for short car trips most days, but we never drove further than about an hour away. We had originally thought we would take day trips to Siena and Assisi, but we ended up staying much closer. As Nico had told us by email before we arrived, there is a lot to see right in the area. Montepulciano itself is charming enough that it would be perfectly pleasant to be there for a week without a car, although getting to and from the town without one might be daunting.
We used the kitchen a couple of nights when we’d had our main meal at lunch. All we wanted for supper was some pasta and wine, so we found a nearby source of handmade ravioli and pici. Dressed in the lovely olive oil produced by our hosts at Sant' Antonio, and accompanied by an inexpensive local Rosso di Montepulciano, with a view out over the valley from the terrace, that simple fare was a fine way to end the day.
The bedroom was spacious and beautifully decorated and furnished. Nico asks guests before they book whether any prospective sleepers in the bed are over a certain height – the attractive wooden head and footboards would be a little tight for someone 6’ 2” or taller. The gorgeous large bathroom has two separate sinks, each with its own shelf space – a welcome change from many rooms where there is simply not enough space to store things right near at hand. The walk in shower is on the small side but the glass doors close completely and the water stays in the shower – again, a welcome change from what we have often seen. (There is also a very attractive large tub that we didn't use.) There is a small second bathroom that could be used by someone using the sleep sofa in the sitting room.
There’s a dining room that seats 6, which we never used. We did use the sitting room/TV room, which has a sofa, coffee table and a large round dining height table which became our office to plan our days. The wifi was strong for our netbook there and we also used the desktop computer on a small desk near the front entry. There is no printer but the hosts will print documents emailed to the main office at Sant' Antonio, and Susanna (who comes daily) will bring them to the apartment within a day.
Guests staying in town will first check in at the resort a few kilometers outside town, and will be brought into town for a good orientation to parking and other logistical matters. Parking is a bit complicated but we never had a problem finding a spot in the non-paid spaces some 200-300 meters away. There is a steep walk up to the front door of the apartment from the level where the most likely parking spaces are found. On our arrival we checked in at the resort, and simply left it to our hosts to get our bags to the apartment. On departure it was no problem to roll them downhill to our car.
Others have commented on the warm and helpful hosts, and we heartily agree. Nico was very helpful with advance information, and he booked a restaurant reservation for the night of our arrival. He told us he’d be away on business during our stay, but that we’d be in good hands with Elena, and we certainly were. She was very responsive to any requests for advice or assistance, but we were pretty self-sufficient. The map of the town and nearby areas (that Elena designed) is full of suggestions for dining. We always dropped the Sant Antonio name when we booked a table or even just stopped in a shop, and were always met with a positive response and a request to convey good wishes back to Nico and Elena. They are each fascinating persons and if time permits, it’s well worth getting to know more about them.
By late October the number of guests staying at the resort had dropped, and there was no mid-week social event/barbecue for the guests, which seems to be a very popular feature during the warmer months. I would imagine that this would be a highlight of the week and would try to get to it if offered, even if staying at an apartment in town.
Nico and Elena have several other apartments in town, including at least one that is still in the process of being readied for guests. If Elena’s decorating touch at La Terrazza is any indication, the new one will be another gem.
Because we still have much to see in central and northern Tuscany, there may be several trips to Italy before we return to Montepulciano, but when we do so we will try to stay with Nico and Elena again, either at the resort or at an apartment in town. They are special people and it shows in how they treat their guests.