30 April, 2012

Castel Monastero

If I were to ask you to think of Tuscany, I bet you'd imagine rolling hills; vineyards, and ancient villages. If that picture appeals to you, then Castel Monastero will too. Located just 23km west of Siena in a country setting, the hotel occupies an 11th century walled hamlet, which was built as a monastery, and later converted into a castle - hence the name. 

Photo courtesy of Castel Monastero
The Country House Resort is perched on a hilltop, and centred on a stunning piazza is a collection of 11th century stone buildings that accommodate 76 guest rooms. Each room is unique - some have terraces and frescoed walls, others feature exposed wooden beams, and antique writing desks. 

Photo courtesy of Castel Monastero
Normally hotels in this part of the world have large windows from which to enjoy the view; but you have to remember you're staying in an old castle, and in my opinion, that adds to the ambience. There are two gourmet restaurants with menus overseen by multiple-Michelin star chef Gordon Ramsay, and working alongside him is the executive chef of Castel Monastero. 

Photo courtesy of Castel Monastero
So what is there to do here? There are tennis courts at the hotel as well as swimming pools, and there is a 10,000 square foot spa which offers a large variety of treatments. It's the only part of the resort that was not originally part of the village, and has 10 treatment rooms, a tea room and three outdoor pools.

Photo courtesy of Castel Monastero
While the serenity of the location is one of the highlights of Castel Monastero, it's also possible to do day trips to Lucca, Florence, and Siena. Having said that many guests said this property was so amazing, they found it a struggle to leave - now that is a sign that the staff have got things right! The official website can be found here..

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