Tuscany Forever is foremost a very solid online marketing & social media machine. Instagram, Facebook, even a split-per-apartment distinction on Tripadvisor (mind you, it’s still one resort). Quite a few reviews have been written by friends of the owners which is nice but also gives a diluted impression. I’m hereby taking the chance to objectify to this pristine image they’re trying to establish.
THE APARTMENT: We just returned from a stay in Lavanda F, a 3bed/2bathroom aparment. The apartment was clean, has 3 decent beds with clean linen, plenty of towels and a well-fitted kitchen. Towels for the pool however need to be rented at €25/week which I think is quite high. Also, you will find 3 wine glasses, 5 large water glasses etc etc in an apartment for 6. Not quite handy but we were 2 adults and 2 kids so no problem for us. The linen is changed weekly, guests can basically pick a day which is good. The bathrooms were good and though the shower is small in size, it’s a good powerful stream. Biggest problems were the lack of air conditioning and the abundancy of biting/stinging insects. We were here in September but it was still warm (and humid) and opening the windows meant being bait for insects that, a week later, still left marks on our bodies. Yes, we had insect repellent but it didn’t matter. The resort provides baby cots (free of charge) but they’re quite old and ‘worn’. Better than nothing though.
The mandatory cleaning at the end costs €150 which a. is outrageous and b. would imply the ceiling shouldn’t be covered in hundreds of insects that died on the spot. The WiFi might be free of charge but is unacceptable in terms of usage. It was so slow we weren’t even able to read news in the evening.
THE GROUNDS: The tenniscourt is pristine and all 3 pools were clean. We saw the pool cleaners several times in the week we were there. The pools however, have been self-constructed(?) which is noticeable by the uneven rinkles in the foil used to construct the pool. The daybeds are ideal but why on earth they bought white plastic deckchairs and didn’t bother buying matrasses is a mystery. It’s basically ‘bring-your-own-towel-and-matress’. The gardens are well-kept and the views are stunning.
Advertised as child-friendly it’s surprising how many stairs vs paths have been created. To go from the main pool to the restaurant directly behind it’s 20m if you take the stairs but with a stroller you need to go round which means ±200m(!).
THE RESTAURANT: The restaurant is like Dr.Jekyll & Mr.Hyde; 2 nights the restaurant was closed without giving prior notice. We did eat here twice and daily got coffee and croissants for breakfast, both of which were good. We enjoyed the pizzas and the vitello tonato was delicious. The carpaccio however came directly from the freezer and was still frozen when it arrived on my plate. I didn’t mind switching to vitello after sending it back but the chef shouldn’t send this out to be served. The restaurant is nicely setup, good tables and chairs and we liked the young girl working there. Perhaps the nicest person there but I’ll come to that later.
THE PEOPLE: I can be brief; I have never in my life met such uninterested hotel/resort owners. The owners aren’t unfriendly, they just don’t pay any attention. We have walked past the owner (m) at least 20-30 times and never, not even once, did he look up from his phone to greet us, not even a ‘hi’. The owner (f) I met twice but when my wife at check-out introduced herself to the owner as she hadn’t encountered her in a full week, she was met with a surprised “we’ve met before” which was a blatant lie. The beforementioned dead insects on the ceiling were “just lazy and very quiet” according to her. I’m sure insects can be lazy but they don’t stay in exactly the same spot for a full week. Again a lie. I understand that people try to maintain a certain image but I’d rather have someone tell me “you’re right, we’ll instruct the cleaners’’ then a lie about the dormant habits of insects or implying my wife wouldn’t remember the face of a resort owner.
THE AREA: Tuscany is great and we’ve been here for years and years. This year we wanted to see a different part of Tuscany and we did. Tuscany Forever provides well-written and researched booklets and we visited many of the places mentioned. The downside is the fact that much of it is quite a drive. Volterra is nice and only a 10min drive up the hill but everything else was much farther away. A few examples (and I don’t drive slowly(!)); Siena 1h15m, Florence 1h35m, Barberino Val d’Elsa (1h), Cecina (which is a poor excuse for a seaside resort) 40min. Volterra and Colle in Val d’Elsa both are acceptable and nice to visit. By no means is the resort within half an hour drive from a beautiful beach as advertised. I’ll put money on that and race the person who claims differently.
CONCLUDING: Being here mid-September the apartment was too hot to go without airco and opening the windows resulted in far too many insect-bites. It’s too far away from most larger places in Tuscany and some of the smaller places you might want to visit. If it’s just a nice pool and sunshine without leaving the premises you wouldn’t go to Tuscany. But the thing that has bothered us the most is the fact that the owners put so much effort in keeping up their social media appearances and absolutely no effort in caring for their guests. The fact that multiple requests (as we’ve heard from other guests as well) are being disregarded or met with excuses and lies has made me decide to write a review which I normally never do, at least not publicly. Not only wouldn’t I recommend staying here, I would also advise anyone to look beyond social media and be a bit more sceptical about who writes reviews and how they’re written. We sure learned our lesson.