We stayed 5 days in Sept 2013 as part of a driving tour of Italy. For us the pluses at La Bandita considerably outweighed the minuses and we'd recommend it. First the pluses: lovely hilltop setting in the unspoiled Val d'Orcia, excellent local recommendations, thoughtful personal service by a team of locals, sociable 'house party' drinks and dining, good quality 40euro dinners and well-priced choice of wines (extra), nice pool for a hot day, free laundry and soft drinks so nobody feels nickel and dimed. Didn't meet the owner but he clearly knows how to run a tight ship-there's a sister hotel in Pienza we didn't stay in (not sure Pienza would hold my attention for more than a long afternoon). Meals at Rosselino (Pienza), Leccio (nr Montalcino) and Porta (Montechiello) are all the real deal, superb and authentic and a highlight. La Bandita really has great local knowledge, don't underestimate its benefit.
Two downsides, we thought. The road up and down, winding through beautiful scenery is a joke. This hotel (though really a fancy B&B) is clearly doing well - time to invest some proceeds not in other hotel set ups nearby but the driveway. One US couple spent all day waiting for il mechanico to turn up when we were there to sort out some sort of broken axle or blown tyre --really predictable. We felt lucky not to suffer this. This is really 4wd territory or be prepared to damage the tyres on your car or rental.
We booked relatively late and were warned we'd have the last, least fancy room - a double upstairs, number 5. It was 250 euro at the time.Other rooms rise inexorably towards 400euro a night (we didn't view them). Unfortunately we are room people when it comes to hotels and like to be wowed just a little. I read in a coffee table book that thought had gone into creating a design of simplicity etc at Bandita. We rather felt the budget had run out when it came to furnishings, as the room was too spartan (fine for the beach wrong for the hills where a little rusticity would do better, same too downstairs), but no bedside lights(?), no rugs or floor covers, not even an armchair of some sort to drop into, weary from frescos and gelato, no minibar/fridge, no radio/music player or tv (which could all be laudable depending on your view). The look was just too Ikea for us, with a strong hint of youth hostel if not for the wonderful location and not enough to really merit the price tag. The bathroom shower was excellent however, and granted you don't come to Tuscany to sit in the room and the pricier rooms may be better (but they'd need to be). I think the owners should fix the underwhelming room design when they revamp and improve the road then this would be an unhesitating 5 star stay up in the hills, amidst the rolling clouds, long grasses and cypruses, with conviviality and personalised service.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Stylish 8-room country retreat in the beautiful Tuscany countryside. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- La Bandita Hotel Pienza