I had the recent opportunity to spend three nights at Castello di Casole in Tuscany and thought I would share my thoughts
I booked the Simply Castello di Casole package via a virtuoso agent. It included
- Accommodation in a Suites of your choice all with breathtaking views
- Full daily breakfast at Ristorante Tosca
- Three course dinner at Ristorante Tosca including wines selected by our Sommelier
- Two 50 minute treatments at Essere SPA
- Bottle of Estate Wine upon arrival
It did not include the Virtuoso amenities which are:
- Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
- Daily Buffet breakfast, for up to two in room guests
- Choice of a Painting class or Language class for two, once during stay (Day restrictions may apply)
I booked the Classica suite. The package was 78 euro per night more than Virtuoso rate (which I believe was actually cheaper than the BAR on the website).
I corresponded with the hotel via their main email, email@example.com. All emails got forwarded to the appropriate person and I recieved a timely response generally within 24 hours. The spa sent me their menu and answered all my questions quickly. The concierge was very helpful in answering all my questions.
A car is a must here. We arrived after spending a day in San Gimignano. Castello di Casole is located kind of in the middle of nowhere on top of a hill, with the closest town Casole d'Elsa about 10 minutes away. Google maps brought us to the front door without any troubles. Siena, Volterra, Chianti are all very close by. We were able to make trip pretty easily. With it being our first time in the countryside, I was surprised at how curvy the roads were. When we arrived we proceeded to self park first. We then lugged our luggage up a series of steps into the main area. In retrospect, it is possible to drive to the reception where I think help would have been available. In addition there is also an elevator which connects the self park area with the main level of the hotel. Once we arrived at the reception, our were warmly greeted with a "Dr. FDW we were expecting you" and shown to the library for check-in. Glasses of prosecco were provided and our CC/passports taken for all the necessary documentation. AFter a quick tour of the grounds, we were shown to our room (upgrade to a 1 bedroom classic suite) where our luggage was waiting.
Very very comfortable. The best bed we encountered in Italy. I believe that the hotel is a renovation of an existing old villa, so the windows were a bit small. Full proper living room with TV and couch. Minibar was located here, no fee for any of the non-alcoholic beverages. Bottle of house wine (literally made on the property) was waiting for us. Free speedy enough wifi, which was nice!. I do wish that there had been an espresso machine. The bathroom also was quite nice. Two basins. Bidet/toilet. Lovely tilework. Loved the fixtures. Shower with great water pressure. One oddity was the tub. It was very deep but short; designed for sitting I guess (similar to Japanese tubs maybe?) It is quite a challenge to get in and out of I must say. I didn't particularly care for it. Toiletries were self branded but I believe made by bottega veneta. Apparently the floors were radiant heated but I didn't see any evidence of that (maybe was quite cold enough...). My wife and I really really enjoyed this room; however, larger windows would have been nice to really soak in the countryside...
Quite lovely views of the countryside. Great infinity pool that was heated, although is closed for the season the second day we were there. very pleasant to stroll around. We had considered renting bikes but glad we didn't considering how hilly it was. There's a main villa, and then a number of outhouses scattered amongst the 4200 acres. They did a fantastic job with the renovations in my mind, blending modern conveniences with the existing structures.
Food and Beverage
Breakfast was included and was a small buffet with made to order hot dishes. Nice meats and cheeses, fruits, and breads/pastries. Great fresh squeezed OJ. They actually did quite a nice job with the bacon, quite crispy which I find is rare outside of the USA. Unfortunately, as it was the slow season the casual pizza restaurant was closed. They did have some options a the bar, but none that looked too appealing. We had two dinners at Tosca, both which were quite lovely. Our first was the 3 course dinner, which was basically whatever we wanted off the a la carte menu, minus the chateuabriand which was for two. Unfortunately what I thought was going to be a wine pairing turned into a bottle of the house red, which was fine as I found it quite lovely. The standout was a saffron risotto with osso bucca which I had on my return visit. They also had a lovely taglioni with white truffles. I thought the food was of a high quality, but I do think they tended to cater more to American tastes/lifestyles. The restaurant opened fairly early by Italian standards and the pacing of the courses tend to be very un-Italian... (which was actually quite nice as I was getting tired of long drawn out meals)
I thought the service was quite good actually. The staff is all quite young, but they are very very enthusiastic. EVeryone spoke very food english. We had lovely interactions with the concierge who helped arrange a wine tasting in Chianti and also recommend a very solid local restaurant. Since my phone didn't get a great signal at the location, we also elected to borrow a GPS device from hotel (no charge). However, the concierge was always quick to print very detailed multi page directions. Housekeeping did a nice job and turn down usually occurred before 7 PM (which I liked). Unlike the PH Milan where turndown showed up one night just before 10 PM, which is just too late for me.
I think that there spa just opened up in the last couple of months. QUite nice. Lovely relaxation areas (separated by sex) including two whirlpools. The couples suite is a nice vaulted area. Our massages were excellent and they allowed us to upgrade them to 80 minutes for the difference. The fitness area is quite large for a hotel with only 42 suites. Of course nice modern equipment (Technogym). Fridge full of Aqua Panna and San Pellegrino. We did, unfortunately, use them one day.
View from the elliptical
EVerything was in order. We quite liked the wine so I decided to order a case of wine, shipped home which they took care of. Nice to be able gain some bonus points. We were offered help with our luggage, which we declined.
We quite liked our stay. It's a very large property, which was nice. The property seemed to be populated by mainly American and British guests. The fit and finishes are very very good and the service is appropriate. I really thought the concierge did a nice job. My wife commented that it was one of the best properties that she has stayed at. I do think that it is very oriented towards Americans so it's probably not the most authentic Italian experience. Nonetheless, we quite enjoyed ourselves.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- At the heart of a Tuscany, lives a vibrant and vital estate and in the center of that estate is a storied castle that dates to the 1100's. Here you will be welcomed to a five-star boutique hotel in the grand European tradition. Exquisitely appointed, its 41 private suites effortlessly combine Old World Tuscan charm with modern luxuries, elegance and sophistication. Throughout the estate live private farm homes and villas for larger parties to stay in. It is that secret place one might hopes to discover along a country road - a place with graceful and intimate accommodations, inspired cuisine, an inviting repertoire of activities, and above all, knowing and attentive service. Castello di Casole - A Timbers Resort, the very definition of Italian luxury. ... more less
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