While renting an apartment in Lucca (more about that later) we went to spend our anniversary at Il Pelicano. Here is my blog post - It is ridiculously expensive...and worth every penny.
You know you're in a hotel that caters to old people when:
-the first treatment on the spa menu is an age-defying facial, and:
-the make-up mirror in your bathroom is about 12x magnification. Great for people my age...if you're able to bend over to get within two inches of the mirror. If your back will let you. Otherwise, it's all a blur.
It is stunning here. Most of the guests are old, with a few dazed honeymooners thrown in. But the scenery trumps all.
And Il Pelicano has a great back story. Michael Graham, a Brit, was the only survivor of a plane crash in the African bush. He jumped out of the plane and trusted the trees and bushes to break his fall. Those who did not jump died. I think there's a life lesson here.
Patsy Daszel, an American socialite, read the story in the papers, and wanted to meet him someday.
Some years later, he went to a party in LA, under duress (I suppose after surviving a plane crash what you really want is a good nap. Or a stiff drink.) She was there and was being courted by Clark Gable. It was love at first sight. Between Patsy and Michael, not Clark and Michael. Good to clear that up.
So when Patsy and Michael were looking for a place to settle down, a friend - a prince, of course - showed them this wild piece of coast, down a twisting road from the fishing village of Porto Ercole (which of course has now become a retreat for wealthy Romans). A retreat, a place for friends to relax and recharge - and perhaps recover from an indiscretion? or an unpleasant divorce? What could be better?
It is still a retreat - one of the Aga Khan's wives - ex, I think - is here. Grumpy and beautiful. And old. I'm guessing the first ex based on her age, but I could be wrong.
It is now the lap of luxury. Within two seconds of checking in we have booked extra nights. We immediately headed down to the concrete beach for a swim in the sea, and thank goodness we did, because the next day the sea was closed. Too rough. Can you imagine a hotel that closes the sea?
That night as we are sipping Prosecco on our terrace a super moon comes up across the sea. Magic. The rooms facing the sea have stunning views of the sunsets.
We have dinner at their Michelin starred restaurant... outside. The food is imaginative and surprising in that silly-smile way.
Every request, no matter how trivial or ridiculous, is met with "Yes, of course!" And yet Mrs Ex Aga Khan is still grumpy. I wonder what her life must be like if she can't be happy here.
Ask for a room overlooking the sea. Play tennis, golf (you need a shuttle) go into the town of Porto Ercole and walk the old fortifications and the fishing/yachting harbor. Eat fried fish on the harbor sidewalk. Rent a bike and go over the Tombolo, stopping at any one of the dozens of beaches. Go shopping in Porto San Stefano. Take a ferry to another island. Relax - you're in paradise.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The elegant five-star hotel, located in Tuscany's Maremma region, was built in the mid-1960s as a love nest for Michael and Patricia Graham and it is today part of The Leading Hotels of the World. The home, called Il Pellicano as a tribute to the first time the couple met at Pelican Point in California, was initially a club for the Grahams' friends, but was subsequently expanded and opened to friends of friends. However, a few things remained the same: the pleasure of feeling at home and the glamorous and slightly retro atmosphere. The hotel's discrete luxury and the still-rugged Tuscan countryside attract the international jet set. Today, the cottages and the central building are suspended between the sky and the sea, with large rooms, windows and terraces where it's unclear where the indoors end and the outdoors begin. There are pathways and stairways, fragrant gardens and discrete corners, a restaurant with one Michelin stars and three Gambero Rosso forks, a heated sea-water swimming pool, a spa with a sea view to soothe both the body and the soul, and for those wanting to take a dip in the Tyrrhenian Sea, a white platform with chaise longue and immaculate parasols. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Il Pellicano Hotel Porto Ercole
- Il Pellicano Porto Ercole