Hands down, this is the best place I've ever stayed at, and I've traveled extensively. My family (husband, and two teenaged daughters) stayed here for 4 nights in July. We were all bowled over. Had I known how much I would fall in love with this place, I'd have stayed here a week. (My husband and daughters agree, and that's unusual!) If you are looking for the perfect honeymoon spot in Tuscany, look no further. Even if you are just traveling with a spouse, family or friends, I guarantee that you will not be let down. The Castelletto is located in a tiny village, that is just what you might imagine a tiny village in Tuscany looks like. The only thing I can think of that might have made it better would be one or two tiny shops, such as a bakery or a small gelateria. But as I think the population of the village is around 50 or less, that's probably not going to happen.
Marco, who runs this establishment, is priceless. He is the perfect blend of sophisticated, kind, thoughtful, helpful and genuine. He (with the assistance of Arnoldo, who was not in residence when we were there) has decorated the place tastefully and lavishly, but it isn't de trop. It's just divine. And some of the pieces are jaw-dropping, like a rare Roman bronze statue of a boy, from around 2nd century B.C. Frescoes, tapistries, rare paintings, fabulous furniture, wooden beams caressed by the ages and lustrous antique details abound. Nothing tacky. Sigh! I sure do miss this place. It's too bad their website does not really give you the full sense of a visit here. Staying here is rather like a holiday with a wealthy Italian uncle who owns a tiny and exquisite castle-museum.
My advice: rent a car, drive here, then come to this enchanted place and act like an Italian, not an American tourist. Forget about schedules, museums, racing here and there and seeing everything there is to see in Sienna, Arezzo and elsewhere. (Although it's very tempting, and we certainly did it!) Relax. Pour yourself a drink (from Marco's delightful antique decanters). Savor the air, the sky, the vista of olive trees. Marvel at all that is around you. Be enchanted by the tiny, ancient hamlet of Montebenichi (pronounced: Mohn-tay-ben-EE-kee). Enjoy the sumptuous rooms filled with amazing antiques. Dive into the pool and let the Tuscan sun kiss your skin. Ahhhh... if this isn't heaven on earth, nothing is.
We stayed in the room at the top of the building, with a gorgeous view across the hills. I believe it was the Junior Suite. It was on the 3rd floor (or at least, what Americans refer to as the 3rd floor). Our girls had the room directly across the hall. Theirs was a Deluxe Room, I believe. The rooms are not like the Four Seasons. They are unique, one-of-a-kind, lovingly decorated. Sure there are small flaws here and there, as the building is medieval. The beds were plenty comfortable and we slept well. Our room had a gorgeous view out across the Tuscan hills: olive and apple trees hugging the landscape in neat rows, bordered by slender cypresses. The air was clear and warm, scented with sage.
Marco suggested (months before we arrived, via email) that we might wish to book a cooking lesson at a nearby restaurant while we stayed at the Castelletto. I secretly worried that it might be a bit silly, or not very good, but we were not disappointed. We booked a lesson with Marzo, a chef at the Osteria di Rendola. Mind you, it's not a Michelin-starred restaurant. But it's very real, very Tuscan. Marzo was funny and a great teacher, and good with our teenaged girls, a small feat in and of itself. Together we made a roulade of rabbit (filled with a stuffing of sausage, olives and onions), eggplant parmesan (not the ersatz American sort), fresh egg pasta and ridiculously good chocolate mousse, among other things. Gosh, everything was tasty and superb. (See photos.) Picky teenagers happy. Adult foodies happy. Win-win.
We used the Castelletto as a base to explore Siena, Volterra, Montepulciano, San Gimignano and Cortona.
Nice features: air conditioning in the rooms (remarkable, since the building is centuries old), delightful breakfasts (all sorts of fruits, breads and goodies, cappuccinos and espressos made to order) in a pretty little breakfast room (see photo). Help-yourself decanters of sherry, gin and tonic and other assorted drinks, nuts and freshly prepared goodies at the witching hour (in one of the common rooms, on the 2nd floor.)
There is a nearby restaurant, tiny but dependable, a stone's throw from the Castelletto (maybe the only restaurant in the village, called Osteria l'Orciaia). It is listed in the Michelin guide (not a starred restaurant, but still.) They have a good but limited menu, just lovely. And a view out across the hills. Drinking wine and eating pasta here, while dusk falls, the crickets chirp, and Tuscan day becomes night -- ahhh, bliss. We ate there 3 times. Tip: book ahead, as the restaurant only has few tables and they book up quickly. I believe they are only open for dinner, not lunch.
There is a pool on the property, with a pool house, lots of towels, and ice creams and treats in the fridge, which you can help yourself to. Very nice touch. It's a short walk from the hotel down the hill to the pool area. Guests are given a special key to get into the pool/gardens/pool house area, so it's very private.
Sure the wi-fi Internet is dice-y and Marco is not Dexter the Internet fix-it guru. If you are coming here to this paradise and you are trying to get on the Internet that badly, you need some serious help.
Note: the hotel is listed as being in Bucine. If you are looking on a map, e.g., Google maps, the hotel is actually beyond Bucine, maybe another 5 miles. It's out in the middle of the countryside, on a hill, in the tiny village of Montebenichi.
In short: gem of a hotel, a must-stay. Rent a car if you stay here. Stay at least 3 days or you will kick yourself. Soak up the romance of the place, and enjoy!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.