We stayed at Villa Scacciapensieri for 7 nights in late October of 2013. While it had a lot of good things going for it, I got the distinct sense that this hotel's better days were behind it and management needs to work on some issues sooner than later. This was one of the more decisive reviews I've written, and I wavered between a 3 and a 4 several times, but in the end I think the drawbacks slightly outweigh the benefits of this property.
The Good: Beautiful Property, Excellent Service, Great Free Breakfast
The Bad: Awkward location, Poor Sleep Quality, Dinner at the Restaurant
We had a generally pleasant stay here, and while the issues were few, they were big.
This property is really beautiful and almost exactly what you'd expect when envisioning a Tuscan Villa. There are quite a few gardens and outdoor terraces, and some great views. We spent two full morning just reading and enjoying these surroundings. The pool was closed for the season when we were there, but it looked nice too.
The Villa can't have more than 20 rooms, roughly split into town-home style accommodations in a detached building and more hotel-style accommodations in the main building that also houses the restaurant and lounge.
The service was top notch, for all the staff. Everyone took their job very seriously and had pride in their work, and it showed.
The free included breakfast was outstanding; I'd say it's continental plus. You have your standard fare of cold cuts and cheese, cereal, bread, etc, but you can also order a few hot items free of charge, like a hard boiled egg or a cappuccino.
The location of the hotel isn't really ideal for seeing Siena or touring the country side....kind of a worst of both worlds scenario. I researched this Villa before booking, and judging from the pictures I saw and satellite overviews from Google Maps, I thought it was more of a country location, ideal for a base camp for exploring the Tuscan country-side. It is not. The Villa is actually in a very urban setting, complete with a high-traffic road not more than 20 feet from one of the accommodation buildings. And remember, Italian traffic includes Vespas, with their piercing engines.
Getting to and from the Villa is challenging by car and bus. I have driven all over Italy and France, so please take my advice and plan to have patience when you are looking for this hotel....you will definitely get lost by car. Regardless of how you approach Siena, you will need to navigate through half a dozen traffic circles, some of which have very bad traffic. My best advice would be to look for the 'Camping' signs when getting close as there is a camp ground not far from the Villa.
While difficult to approach from the country, the hotel also isn't ideally situated to tour Siena. You'll spend at least 45 minutes taking a bus to and from the historic centre, when you factor in the 20 minute bus ride, an average of waiting 15 minutes for the bus, and then an additional 10 minute walk from where the bus drops you off outside the historic centre. It actually takes the same amount of time to walk we discovered.
With the bus you don't have to worry about getting lost so much as dealing with the spotty service of local buses. My experience with European buses is that their schedules usually have more exceptions than rules, and the 2 lines that run to the hotel fit that description. The lines have regular interruptions in the middle of the day, and one of the lines doesn't run past 8PM. The combination of these factors makes it difficult to enjoy a day or night out on town as getting back to the hotel is always uncertain. I would actually recommend a taxi for a day or evening trip to Siena, despite the expense.
Another negative part of the Villa is the poor sleep quality, the result of loud nearby traffic, very thin walls, and bedding that really needs to be updated. Our pillows basically felt like a bathroom towel folded in half, they had absolutely no cushioning, and the mattresses weren't much better. The thin walls basically mean you are the mercy of whoever comes home the latest and gets up the earliest, we found it quite difficult to sleep until everyone was in their rooms and down for the night. You will be getting up at 7AM every day, unless you're a very heavy sleeper.
For dinner, the restaurant served what I would say was average food given the culinary proclivity of the region. This means the food was good by international standards, but the prices were literally the highest we paid anywhere in Tuscany.
Additionally, the ambiance in this restaurant is awkward. It's exceptionally quiet and has no liveliness. They need to play some background music....it's so quiet you can hear a pin drop and as a result everyone is whispering their tables. The other guests were quite varied by age and nationality, but this restaurant seemed like it catered to very stuffy seniors exclusively.
I would not recommend this restaurant for the food unless you're stuck...in Siena you will find much more lively and atmospheric places, which serve better food for less money.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The four star hotel “Villa Scacciapensieri” is ideal for clients looking for a peaceful, warm and cordial atmosphere, an excellent kitchen and attentive service. Location : the hotel is set in its own large park and gardens on top of a little hill only 2.5 km north of the medieval city walls of Siena, 1,5 km from the train station, just on the border of the Chianti wine region; all the main sights of Tuscany are easily reached. There is a very regular public bus service from the Villa to the historical centre every 15 minutes (on weekends twice an hour, after 8 p.m. once an hour). The main villa, constructed in the late 1790s – early 1800s, has rooms on the two upper floors, while the reception desk (24 h.), the restaurant "Altri Tempi," the cosy bar-lounge with open fire place and library, the private little chapel and the media-room with Internet access are all located on the ground level. There are two annex buildings "Limonaia" and "Villino" both very close to the main Villa. All rooms are air-conditioned. The outdoor swimming pool (open from mid May to October) overlooks the Chianti hills. We also have a tennis court, bicycles and parking for the exclusive use of our guests, there is no charge for these facilities. Garages are available on request (Euro 20/night). ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, Expedia, Hotels.com, TripOnline SA, LoveHolidays, Ebookers, Travel Republic (UK), Evoline ltd, HotelsClick, HotelQuickly, 5viajes2012 S.L. and Cancelon so you can book your Villa Scacciapensieri reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Villa Scacciapensieri Hotel Siena