My husband and I stayed at Castello di Casole in July 2013. The hotel itself (buildings, rooms, view, pool area, etc.) is great and deserves full 5 stars. Everything is new, rooms are large, tastefully decorated and cozy, beds are suuuper comfortable, the infinity pool is beautiful, the views over Tuscan hills are amazing. Food is good (maybe not as good as in "real" Tuscan restaurants, but good enough). .
However, there are two things we did not like:
- first, the hotel is American and targets American guests. If you look for an authentic Italian experience, you are wrong here. At dinner, you can order Italian beef with ketchup and French fries, ice-cream with chocolate chip cookies, "drownies" and margaritas. At breakfast, you can have French toast with maple syrup, pancakes with blueberries and a cappuccino that tastes like a Starbucks latte. At lunch, you can have a club sandwich with fries and mayo with a Bloody Mary. Don't get me wrong - I looove all this food - but when I'm in California!! NOT in Italy!
In addition to food, there are certain things that work in the US but do not work in Europe like e.g. completely separate spa areas for men and women (separate whirlpools, relaxation areas, etc) or a restaurant that looks like a Italian gelateria with empty ice-cream trays - this is so fake and entirely unnecessary since there are tons of real gelaterias in the next town. I understand that in the US it is normal to sometimes make new things/places look "old" and "authentic" - it totally works there. However, in Italy there is no need to do this - there is enough authentic stuff around, everything else just seems fake. Maybe American guests feel like home here, but wouldn't they also like to experience real Italy, not Napa Valley?
- The second thing I didn't like was the service, which is rather European, not American. We had dinner at the hotel restaurant twice and twice my husband received a dish he did not order. Then there are small things like forgetting to bring the coffee we ordered at breakfast, not putting salt on lunch or dinner tables, pepper mills not working, etc. Hotel employees are also not particularly friendly - for instance, when we tried to ask for late checkout, the lady at the reception got quite rude, did not even bother to look into the system and told us that the hotel was fully booked. At the same time, we knew from another employee that the hotel was only 30% occupied at the time.
That said, the points above are relatively minor - in general, the hotel, the views, everything is absolutely beautiful and worth a stay. The price is also ok relative to hotels of similar quality and style.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- At the heart of a Tuscany, lives a vibrant and vital estate and in the center of that estate is a storied castle that dates to the 1100's. Here you will be welcomed to a five-star boutique hotel in the grand European tradition. Exquisitely appointed, its 41 private suites effortlessly combine Old World Tuscan charm with modern luxuries, elegance and sophistication. Throughout the estate live private farm homes and villas for larger parties to stay in. It is that secret place one might hopes to discover along a country road - a place with graceful and intimate accommodations, inspired cuisine, an inviting repertoire of activities, and above all, knowing and attentive service. Castello di Casole - A Timbers Resort, the very definition of Italian luxury. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Castello Di Casole Private Estate & Spa Casole D'Elsa, Tuscany