Are you kidding me? What were we thinking?
Or better yet, what was the management of Castellare di Tonda thinking when they decided to market this place as refined Tuscan resort? Yes, the location is wonderful. It is a beautiful spot in the heart of Tuscany and the setting will not disappoint anyone. If you close your eyes and imagine rolling Italian hills and the green multi-hued blend of olive trees and vineyards, that is what you'll see here.
However, that is where the romance ends.
To be fair, we knew this was semi-self catering, and a bit more earthy and casual than our typical destination. However, this does not excuse dilapidated, dark, and cramped (one might say "creepy") apartments. If you don't mind intermittent hot water, questionable plumbing, power that doesn't work, and rooms with the barest (read: "lack of") essentials, then by all means, have a go. Was it at least clean? Hard to tell given the wear and tear. Maybe that was as clean as "shockingly worn down" looks to the naked eye.
What about the quiet evenings? Ha! Don't worry about sleeping, because you won't. The beds are uncomfortable and the portable air conditioning units barely serviceable. Of course, if you enjoy supplying your own toilet paper, doing your own laundry,and living with one bath towel for 2 weeks then you will be nonplussed by the appalling lack of refinement or service. Wait, let me rephrase that: the appalling INDIFFERENCE to service. We had problems with our accommodations from the outset, but not once did the staff at Castellare di Tonda actually apologize for our troubles. They neither anticipated problems, nor reacted to them with proper solutions. This is not to say they are unfriendly or unkind or rude. Not so. They are simply ignorant. Clueless. Lame. Incompetent. Choose your adjective, because they all fit.
So why 2 stars and not a zero?
One could attribute it to my generous nature and willingness to go with the flow. That could be, but in all fairness, it is probably because the chef was excellent and a delight. We had 2 weeks of very good food. We are demanding when it comes to cuisine, and he delivered. We were very happy with dinner each night, and Fabio the chef made it fun. Although, curiously enough, (or perhaps given the nature of the place, to be expected), breakfast is uninspiring. The fresh pastries are a treat, but the rest of breakfast is surprisingly unimpressive and one quickly tires of it after an extended stay.
And obviously, the setting is so attractive it is difficult to find it without merit as a destination. And if you are a kid who wants to run around and swim and basically be at summer camp for a couple of weeks, then you will think this place is great. But i think that is more the nature of Tuscany than the doings of Castellare di Tonda.
So would i return? Not in a million years, and not if they gave me the place for free. Does that mean you should avoid this place like the plague? Again, it depends on how low you can set your expectations. If you don't mind the bare bones amenities, the do it yourself nature of the accommodations, (well, the DIY nature of pretty much everything), and you are willing to overlook a staff that seems to drown in fog, then perhaps you will be fine, (and you will eat well at dinner and have wonderful views).
Just don't expect to see me there, so send me a post card. Let me know how it goes.
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- Also Known As:
- Castellare Di Tonda Hotel Montaione
- Castellare Di Tonda Resort And Spa
- Castellare Di Tonda Resort & Spa Montaione, Italy - Tuscany