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Relais Il Falconiere & Spa
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Reviews (534)
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Reviewed November 25, 2012

This Relais et Chateau property oozes charm but could use a hefty dose of practicality.

On the positive side, the location is fabulous. The grounds are beautiful and tastefully landscaped, with many fruit trees, lawn areas and walking paths. The hotel overlooks a valley sprinkled with vineyards and orchards, with hills in the distance. There is a fashionable spa, with an indoor/outdoor pool, and also an outdoor pool (which we did not use, as the weather was a bit cool for swimming). The staff was very friendly and helpful, doing their best to accommodate their guests’ wishes. The restaurant is the prize—impeccable service and wonderful food. If you are interested, take the cooking school, where you will learn more than you could anticipate.

In keeping with the name of this hotel, the owner (a lovely lady) has a large falcon (called Leela) which is left outside during good weather. If you are fortunate, as we were, she will present the falcon on her arm. For us, it was an unusual and lovely touch.

On the other hand, there are some practical issues. First, if you are driving, make sure you arrive during daylight (or have the exact address in your GPS—the coordinates are not totally accurate). The last 2.4 kilometers of the drive to Il Falconiere consist of a one-lane road, frequently bordered by a high stone fence. At nighttime, the drive is daunting. Second, the rooms, while charming, lack some practical amenities. Our room (No. 10) was charmingly decorated with period furniture. Ironically, that was part of the problem. The antique armoire was not deep enough for standard size coat hangers. As a result, our hanging garments were cramped when the doors were closed. Moreover, one of my pet peeves is theft-proof coat hangers. I can understand why a one-star hotel might see the need for theft-proof coat hangers, but I would expect that the clientele who can afford to stay at a Relais et Chateau property are unlikely to purloin coat hangers. The bathroom has only one pedestal sink which lacked any storage place for toiletries. There was a small low cabinet which of course my wife took over, leaving me to put my toiletries on a shelf that was no more than 18 inches higher than the floor—not a very comfortable situation. In addition, we could not access wifi from our room, which was a real annoyance. The excuse was that the walls were very thick. In this day and age, the solution would be to upgrade the hotel’s wifi system, as many if not most guests like to be able to access the internet while traveling.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank silverbrian
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Il_Falconiere, Proprietario at Relais Il Falconiere & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded December 4, 2012

Dear Mr Silverbrian,
thank you for your appreciations about our hotel. We tried during the work to restore the old Villa and the Church to cheap the original atmosphere, without change to much the site. For this reason the Villa, the lemon house, the church and the farm house are very beautiful, but about of technology like Wi Fi we are not at not the top! We can reach the signal just from Cortona, we cannot bring a cable underground we can only rely on the connection by air, and it has not a regular signal.
Antique furnitures are the ideal decoration of our house and of course there are no very comfortable sometime, but they have an unique and charming taste. About the hangers, we arrived to buy this model because many clients were used to take away ours, leaving plastic and horrible hangers!
Anyway I rely on the future to have as soon as possible a very fast connection, also for us in office! Thank you agin for your comments. Silvia Baracchi
Thank you

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Reviewed October 25, 2012

The il Falconiere was a wonderful surprise. It was a great place to come to between Rome and Florence. We stayed for 3 nights in a very cool room in a small building next to the restaurant. it was decorated in Tuscan style which was lovely. The old world doors were hard to open but, once mastered it was a cinch. (my husband never could open or lock our room). They staff here was superb. I am lactose intolerent and Luigi and the staff went above and beyond to make sure I would not have anything that would make me sick. The food here is excellent with a wonderful chef. We had some of our best meals in Italy here. The grounds, vineyard and olive groves are beautiful. We had a very informative wine tour and tasting. They just happen to produce some very good wine which added to our dining pleasure. Our only disappointment was that we didn't reserve space in the cooking school in advance. We didn't realize that you have to do this in advance since it fills up fast. (next time). This was something we thought maybe our travel agent should have mentioned. All in all we loved Il Falconiere and would not hesitate to recommend this hotel. We can't wait to return. It was a wonderful Relais & Chateau property. This is in Italy. In Cortona. Not in New York City. It was just charming.

Room Tip: Ask about rooms and location before hand. Also, make sure to book the cooking school before your arrival.
  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Nancy M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Il_Falconiere, Proprietario at Relais Il Falconiere & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded March 5, 2013

Dear Nancy,
thank you for your wanderful review, I'm sorry you miss our Cookery Experience! Cooking Under The Tuscan Sun is our cooking school that sometime an advance reservation is required...Next time!!! Differnt room with easier lock and cooking class! I''ll organize a special welcoming for you next time!
Silvia Baracchi

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Reviewed October 15, 2012

First something positive, this hotel is set on beautiful grounds on an amazing vineyard and the wine was truly delicious. However, we feel it is overly expensive and overrated and will not return because of our experiences. I'll start with the worst note- Our rental car was broken into in their parking lot. It cost us about $400 because the deductible on our damage insurance was $1000. This property is extremely remote and gives the impression of being secure and safe. Il Falconiere states this is the first time this has happened and acted very concerned and surprised. However, when asked the hotel would not compensate us for any of the costs we incurred. What poor customer service for such a "highly-rated" hotel. This is certainly not something you would expect to happen when you are paying $300 Euros a night! While the property is beautiful and quaint, the rooms are really not updated and there is NO insulation between rooms. In fact, you can see your neighbor through a huge crack where the doors meet. We got next to no sleep the first night due to a drunk couple fighting loudly across the hall. Even just opening or shutting doors will wake you up. I had two very disappointing but overly expensive services at their spa. The free turkish bath, sauna and steam shower were lovely, but my $200 facial and pedicure paled in comparison to anything I've gotten for near that price before. Finally, one of the highlights was the tour of the vineyard and wine tasting by the owner when we first arrived. It was one of the highlights of our whole Italy trip! We were a little shocked, however, when we got our bill and they had charged us for it! There was no mention of this when we signed up. Again, just bad business. We assumed it was complimentary since we were guests at the property. Of course, nothing is free in Italy so we should have known :) Even with the cost, we would have done it anyway because it was wonderful but felt a little blindsided. We expect to receive top-notch service for our money and when compared to places like the Four Seasons, Waldorf Astoria and other wonderful properties in this class, this property just doesn't hold up their reputation.

If you are a down to earth person...stay at Villa Marsili in downtown Cortona for a fraction of the price. So many things are complimentary there, and the staff is fantastic and make you feel comfortable and at home. There were no disappointments there and you can walk to all the Cortona restaurant and shops.

Room Tip: Get a private suite separated from the main house if you stay here and like to sleep.
  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Shannon C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Il_Falconiere, Proprietario at Relais Il Falconiere & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded December 4, 2012

Dear Shannon,
Thank you for the time you dedicate to us. I understand that after the bad experience in the car park, any positive thing goes away! After a negative experience everyone is less relaxed and maybe doesn’t enjoy a lot the vacation. I’m sorry for what happened, we are not used on our area to have delinquency, we live in countryside and we are usually very quiet and safe. I don’t know about the money you are talking about, of course we have a private insurance for any request.
Inside the hotel we offer different activities and both in the rooms and in reception clients can find prices lists and decide to take part or not, usually a wine tour is followed by a wine tasting of 3 or 4 glasses of wine, a tasting of bruschetta with our own extra virgin olive oil, cheese and salami. It is hold personally by the producers, my husband Riccardo or my son Benedetto and takes about 2 hours. They are more than happy to show the winery and explain their philosophy, but all of this has a cost!
About the spa, we are very proud to use natural ingredients coming from the estate, but in case of facial our proposal is the treatments of Officina Farmacia Santa Maria Novella of Florence . They are very exclusive and everyone can see immediately the result! We have employers working in the spa from many years, with an excellent level of experience and everybody love them a lot!!!
Tuscany is very enchanting and thank you for your decision to come again.
Silvia Baracchi

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Reviewed October 2, 2012

Over the years, I have had the pleasure of staying at various Relais & Chateau member properties. I must say my experience at the il Faconiere was disappointing at best. The grounds are wonderful and the property is quite historic but there were so many deficiencies for a fine hotel property that the list of issues is endless. I would encourage the owners to pay simple attention to the details that makes one a "fine property and worth the price one pays". That unfortunately is not the case with what we experienced. Like another reviewer stated, how in the world did this property qualify for the R & C distinction?

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank hh5638
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Il_Falconiere, Proprietario at Relais Il Falconiere & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded December 4, 2012

Dear sir
Thank you for your opinion about my property, I like take in consideration every review that can help to improve our service. This is not the case, I don’t understand what you liked or if you have had some matter and what. We are used to offer to the guests our efforts to make their vacation memorable ( I mean in positive way!). I recommend to the ladies at reception and to the staff to dedicate time to every guest to understand more about their whishes and try to make them happy! Unfortunately sometime clients are not very communicative and this make our job very hard.
I hope to have the possibility to welcome your again at Il Falconiere, personally, during your next trip in Italy and make your vacation special and memorable.
Silvia Baracchi

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Reviewed October 2, 2012

Let me warn you, this will be long, but if you are considering Il Falconiere, and in particular one of the cooking programs, please read on.

First and foremost, if you are looking for a shiny new place to stay which is perfectly updated, Il Falconiere is not the place for you. It is what used to be a family home that dates back to the 17th century. Yes, that means that it is older and that it has slightly older fixtures, etc., but I personally don’t agree with the prior negative reviews. Our bed and bathroom were very nice. We were able to cool our room just fine; the shower was not an issue nor was the bed. Again, the rooms are not modern but have a charm that we loved.

We booked the 5-day cooking package staying in a Junior Suite and our stay was one of if not the highlight of our trip. Just about everyone we spoke with did a cooking class somewhere in Tuscany, but I wanted more than just 1 class. Our program included three 3-4 hour hands-on classes all taught by Richard Titi (more on him later); the first class was with a bigger group of 9 people but our second two classes were just my husband, Chef Titi and me which were really cool. It also included pretty much all meals (you cooked a 4-course meal in each session and then ate the meal at either lunch or dinner), 3 different private tours with guides (1 of Cortona and surroundings, 1 day trip to Montepulciano and Siena and other stops, and one to the local market with chef Richard Titi to purchase ingredients); the tours also included meals arranged in advance by Il Falconiere. Our package also included a wine spa treatment (see below), a vineyard tour (which we ended up missing by our own mistake). In short, it was pretty much all inclusive.

I chose Il Falconiere because of their flexibility. So long as there were two of us (my husband was a trooper and joined in the cooking) we could do the classes pretty much whenever we wanted. We were also asked if there was anything in particular we wanted to cook but their menus were so diverse that we had no changes. In short, Chef Titi was awesome. He was extremely knowledgeable, clearly loves what he does (and is amazing at it) while also being a really nice, down to earth guy. We thoroughly enjoyed all of our classes as well as the market trip with him. Plus, most importantly, the food we prepared with him was amazing. If you want to cook in Tuscany, I cannot recommend Il Falconiere enough.

Silvia and Ricardo Baracchi, the owners, were both also extremely nice. They joined us for cocktails our first night, which was a very nice, personal touch. Silvia made a point of checking in with us every time she saw us; we also had a farewell drink with her and Richard Titi on our final night. Quite honestly, everyone went out of their way to make sure our stay was enjoyable. Want to reschedule your welcome dinner to the last night? No problem. Need a ride into (and later back from) Cortona? No problem. They were incredibly accommodating and we really did feel more like a friend/family guest than simply people paying to stay.

Our room was between the spa and the pool and was very quiet and private. It had a huge lawn in front (plus 2 chaise lounges shaded by fruit trees) which was basically all ours; it was bigger than our yard at home. The Junior Suite consisted of a good sized bedroom, a living/sitting area with a couch, desk, armoire, etc., and a bathroom. We felt like we were in our own private little cottage.

The property itself was amazing with spectacular views out over the hills and Cortona. There are actually two pools on the property, one by the main area and another up the hill past the vineyards where there are additional rooms. The grounds are absolutely beautiful. (One recommendation: bring mosquito repellant. The property is in the country and you will get bitten.)

Daily spa use is included, specifically steam room, Jacuzzi and a very nice lounge area with beautiful views. Our package also included “Wine Therapy” which was a Jacuzzi bath for two in a huge copper tub with a large bottle of red wine added to the water. To be blunt, it was awesome, if not completely decadent to be sitting in a wine Jacuzzi while drinking champagne. After, we relaxed in the lounge enjoying the view. A perfect relaxing afternoon. They have other treatments as well, but we didn't have time to try them.

Breakfast was good: the usual breads, cheeses, meats, eggs. We enjoyed all of our meals, both the ones we cooked and the tasting menu we tried on our last night. I do not understand the negative comments about the food, either at breakfast or dinner.

I will be honest, I was a little nervous before our stay as there are obviously mixed reviews of the property and I had no idea what I had singed us up for. But our stay was amazing and we highly recommend the resort, the restaurant and the cooking program.

If you have any questions at all, please message me. I am happy to answer any questions.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank SarahInSoCal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Il_Falconiere, Owner at Relais Il Falconiere & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded December 11, 2012

Dear SarahInSoCal
Thank you for your superb review, I see that you are used to travel and write review, for that I like it a lot!!!
You noted many details and that make my work very pleasant.
Thank you and I hope to welcome you again soon
Silvia Baracchi

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