Destination: Italy: Tuscany
Borgo Santo Pietro
If vine-covered pergolas, meandering pathways and Victorian iron furniture with cream umbrellas are your vision of paradise, then the two-year-old spa-retreat Borgo Santo Pietro is a must visit. Overlooking the lush Valle Serena, near the Abbey of San Galgano (where the sword of the eponymous saint still rests in the stone into which, according to legend, he plunged it), the 13th-century stone villa instills in guests a tranquil well-being with its exquisite traditional Italian rose gardens, organic cuisine, medicinal herb plantings and spa treatments utilizing olive and lavender-based products in a cozy one-room cottage. An intoxicating perfume infuses the entire property, while birdsong, multiple cushioned seats and an infinity eco-pool induce serene relaxation. Undeniably romantic—soft music plays throughout the eight-bedroom villa (there are three additional garden suites), and wood fires blaze in the deep stone fireplaces, even in August—Borgo Santo Pietro is the ideal location for small weddings.
Guestrooms vary in size and decor, but all provide delicious goose-down duvets, handmade mattresses and soothing lavender incense oil. The Valle Serena room, which has the best view, features a pleasing turquoise and pale-gold palette, while the only ground-floor suite, Rinaldo Pievano di Sorciano, is outfitted with gilt-framed oil portraits, a freestanding tub behind a Victorian screen and an antique rare black marble fireplace in which a fire can be lit upon request.
Meals are taken seriously at Borgo Santo Pietro, combining fresh, organic produce (grown on-site) with homemade pastas, local Chianina beef and mouthwatering desserts. Dinner is especially atmospheric, served either on the loggia, providing views of the valley through ivy-covered columns, or in the intimate dining room, whose hand-painted walls, silk-brocade curtains and flickering candelabra (the Borgo goes through 30,000 candles a season) inspire love sonnets. There’s an impressive wine list. And if the cuisine invites overindulgence, a walk along the fragrant lanes of the extensive gardens provides just the remedy. Rooms from $470.
Who Should Stay: Romantics and spa-seekers.
Who Should Not Stay: Families.
Offering medical supervision by a doctor with a royal clientele, including Prince Charles, advanced European anti-aging and firming technology, Italian-themed nutrition-conscious meals, new weight-loss techniques and five pools, all in a vineyard-laden Tuscan setting, Castel Monastero’s shiny new Aquae Monasterii Spa is just the spot for anyone seeking a relaxing, restorative getaway.
The property is located twenty minutes by car from Siena, and its seventy-five guestrooms, common rooms, chapel and restaurant are housed in a 11th-century monastery (there is also a freestanding villa in addition to the rooms and suites, which comes with its own kitchen and sleeps up to seven people.) Despite the decor’s monastic simplicity, with unadorned walls, slant-beamed ceilings, shuttered windows and muted fabric scheme of plums and beige, the guestrooms contain such modern amenities as flat-screen televisions and Wi-Fi, Frette linens and sleek, spacious bathrooms.
Monastero is primarily a place for spa and wellness seekers whose stay is focused on a specific goal, like weight loss or detox. The beautiful setting helps, as does the fact that the Castel Monastero subscribes to the Italian preference for pleasure over pain. Gourmet restaurant Contrada, for instance, is overseen by Gordon Ramsay. Rooms from $510.
Who Should Stay: Spa goers and wellness seekers.
Terme di Saturnia Spa & Golf Resort
This resort, in the heart of the Maremma, is one of Italy’s most venerable health destinations. It has four thermal pools, plus a full wellness center and spa. If you want to make use of the facilities, it pays to book a hotel room, since the entrance to the pools and restaurant used by guests is far more attractive than those accessible to the general public. If you’re not thrilled by the thought of soaking in algae and smelly sulfuric waters, enjoy a round on the challenging 18-hole course, lunch at the new clubhouse, or dinner at Terme di Saturnia’s All’Acquacotta, which serves classic Tuscan cuisine. Rooms from $377.
Who Should Stay: Spa goers, wellness seekers and golfers. Also, travelers eager to explore the Tuscan seaside will enjoy the central Maremma location.
Recommended itinerary from this base: Seaside Tuscany
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