Hotel Reviews, Italy
With a hilltop vantage that is the envy of the small town of Bibbiano, Borgo Finocchieto is spoiled with rolling landscape views that boldly include such Tuscan gemstones as a small river running through tilled plots of land, the hillside medieval village of Montalcino and even, the magnificent abbey of San Maggiore. Even now, in late March, the Tuscan sun brightens the green earth to fluorescent status offering dramatic contrast between the shaded hillsides and the electrified valleys. The extremeness of the Tuscan color palette never fails to impress, no matter the time of year. Here at Borgo Finocchieto, the vistas are all encompassing.
Each of the Borgo’s nine manor house guestrooms feature shuttered windows and small loggias from which the expansive view is perfectly framed. A relatively new property, Borgo Finocchieto has a capacity of 44 guests, spread out between the rooms in the large manor house and four separate guesthouses. Intended originally for the owner and his friends, family and most of all, high-powered colleagues, the spot is beyond equipped to handle any corporate function with a conference room complete with a stage and large screen viewing area, highly advanced touch-screen controlled audio/visual equipment and space for 16 individual computer monitors and desks. According to the affable Marco, the Borgo’s man-on-the-ground, the owner often rewards his hardworking staff with time at the Borgo. Not bad at all!
Beyond business, the remarkable estate also features a separate state-of-the-art gym (seriously, this gym makes any fancy, boutique hotel gym look like a joke) with an attached sauna/spa room. Fitness is clearly key here with a tennis court, basketball hoop, a fleet of high-quality road AND mountain bikes and marked trails for jogging, hiking and biking.
For those truly on vacation, the spacious, tiled pool is lovely with a sweeping view over the valley and a small terrace setup for al fresco lunch or afternoon drinks. The Borgo wouldn’t be as impressive as it is without the wine cellar, featuring local vineyards and the requisite big label Brunellos. My favorite amenity though, is perhaps not the most obvious yet certainly appropriate to the setting – a sanded Bocce court with overhead lighting so the game can continue well past dark.
The Borgo accepts both individual and full-buyout bookings. They have yet to host a wedding onsite but there’s no doubt it would provide a stunning backdrop for a small ceremony less than 50 people. (They won’t take more than that).
What I like most about the Borgo is its particular mixture of luxury offerings. While the guestrooms are quite plain, with simple terracotta flooring, rich wooden furnishings and quaint hand-painted headboards, important elements of comfort such as Tempur-Pedic mattresses, excellent quality bath products from Milan, rain showers and high-thread count sheets are all accounted for along with today’s electronic necessities like full service wifi and a personal ipod dock in each rooms.
The Borgo’s common rooms, like the wonderful library and arched brick bar, are equally handsome spots and appear (and were, in fact) fastidiously designed. The library, whose books belong to the library and are marked so that you don’t bring them home, boasts a wonderful collection, including a row devoted to authors who have been on property. I could have spent many hours whiling away through those bookshelves. The Borgo’s sole TV room (save for the one off the master suite) is all that would ever be needed, with a comprehensive DVD library, playstation and wii and enough cushy couch space for a big group to settle in for a double feature on a rainy day.
All of the staff at the Borgo, namely Marco, Carolyn and the chef, Luigi, are wonderfully attentive and accommodating. They make it clear upon arrival that their mission is to appease your every whim. From organizing day trips and restaurant outings to explaining the rules of Bocce to booking an in-house massage, Marco and Carolyn are ready and willing. Luigi is also eager to share with guests his various recipes and generously gifted me with a jar of his house made salt blend, guaranteed to improve any roast I attempt in the future. A wonderful spot smack in the middle of it all, Borgo Finocchieto makes for an excellent group stay (especially those active-minded types) where no modern luxury seems to have been overlooked.