Villa Armena Relais and Beauty Farm (hotel) - It isn’t possible to convey what a delight it was to stay at Villa Armena. We were treated like family by Edoardo, his wife Elena, and Edward’s mother, the incomparable Laura! We arrived early one afternoon after a drive from Roma. The drive to the villa from the main road is absolutely stunning. You’re surrounded by Tuscany, literally and figuratively. The drive was a joy and one we would do a few times each day as we went about exploring the fabulous countryside. We were met by Edoardo and led to our room, which was spectacular - comfortable, warm, and large with a bathroom fit for a king. It was so lovely I was concerned they had showed us to the wrong room! Our stay there was the high point of our two-week trip to Italia in early June 2013. The villa is on a hilltop that is so peaceful, tranquil, and beautiful that you lose track of time. You can sit at some tables and look out over the hills and valleys. We could see the Abbazzi de Monte Oliveto Maggiore - we had the pleasure of attending Sunday Mass there, during our visit. We spent hours driving around the hills of Buonconvento, getting lost here and there and discovering sights and sounds that will be with us forever! The villa itself is a stunning place with grounds to match. But what was most enjoyable about our stay was the villa’s staff. So warm and friendly, always willing to help. In fact, Edoardo set up a lunch for us in Montalcino that was just spectacular. He gave us driving directions and finished with his usual flourish of “… it couldn’t be easier…” and he was right, as usual! We’ve had the good fortune to stay in some spectacular hotels around the world, but none compares to our experience at Villa Armena Relais, not even a Four Seasons hotel. This is a truly special place run by truly special, warm, inviting, fabulous people. It goes without saying, but let me state if for the record, we highly recommend staying at the Villa Armena Relais. Forgo your thoughts of staying anywhere else in the region. The Villa is the place to go; you will be delighted you did! However, I’ll warn you there is one significant downside to staying at the Villa Armena Relais...leaving. Although our departure was handled as smoothly as our arrival, we left with the same pain one has when leaving family after a wonderful visit. In fact, my husband wanted to forgo our visit to Venice in order to stay at Villa Armena longer! We recovered from our sad goodbye, but only well after Firenze on our drive to Padua. We miss Edoardo, Elena, and Laura. We look forward to returning to Villa Armena Relais again, again, and again.
Villa Armena (dinner & wine tasting) - Since we had just driven from Roma the day we arrived we thought it wise to just eat at the Villa’s restaurant to make things easier on us. We had experienced some spectacular meals during our stay in Roma and at our lunch in Orvieto. We could not imagine how any meal could top those. In fact, we said to ourselves, "Let’s just eat here tonight and then we can explore other restaurants in the region the other nights of our stay." The restaurant, like the rest of the villa is just beautiful and creates a soft, warm, inviting atmosphere for you to enjoy some of the most wonderful meals you will eat while in Italia. At our first meal we were treated to some of the best food we had during our visit to Italia. Nadia, the chef, puts out dishes that bested the two Michelin-starred restaurants we ate in during our trip. Villa Armena offers truly amazing cuisine! We also had the great fortune to meet Federica and Laura. Federica was the most warm and attentive server. It seemed like she knew just when we were ready for the next course. She was extremely knowledgeable about the menu, which allowed her to make some wonderful recommendations. Her English was impeccable and she and Laura were both more than willing to teach me and my husband more Italian, which was a joy. Laura, the sommelier of the villa, was a real treat. We benefited from her incredible knowledge of Italian wines and felt her passion for serving her guests at each and every meal, to include breakfast. Laura provided us a recommendation of a Brunello di Montalcino with our meal and that began our new life-long passion for Italian wines. She took great care to listen to what we wanted in a wine and then explain the various wines she recommended for us. We went to bed that night deliriously happy being at Villa Armena, and that experience was replicated each and every day of our stay.
The next morning we had our first experience with breakfast at the villa. We were not expecting much, and again we were stunned with the service, the selection, and the food. The villa put out a lovely buffet spread across several tables in the dining room for breakfast. We were led to “our table” and had a slow, relaxing time eating a nice breakfast of fresh cured meat, hard boiled eggs, cheeses, breads, freshly squeezed fruit juice, assorted fruits, and coffee. There was also a breakfast menu of foods made-to-order, but we were more than content with the buffet.
We also had the distinct pleasure of having a wine tasting with Laura; what a treat. She is wonderful, so full of passion for what she does. We learned some lessons about local wines, Montalcino in particular, and of course, the wines of her beloved Piemonte - the Barolo! Laura, we miss you and think of you often as we drink our Brunello di Montalcino, our Super Tuscan, and our Barolo!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located in the romantic heart of Tuscany, only 20 minutes from Siena, only a stone’s throw from Montalcino and Val d’Orcia, in a fairytale world exuding magic and beauty, Villa Armena is a late Renaissance structure. Built of red brick, with original oak beams and roof, and having terracotta floors and a beautiful Italianate garden, Villa Armena today is an exclusive establishment with just 10 rooms, each one unique, where service, attention to detail and exclusivity are the cornerstones of our offering. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Villa Armena Relais Buonconvento, Italy - Tuscany