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“A slice of Eden”

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Villa Armena Luxury Relais
Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in Buonconvento
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 13 July 2014

My wife and I had the fortune of spending 2 nites at Villa Armena in June 2014.

The villa has been beautifully and painstakingly restored and decorated to a grace and grandeur only found in gorgeous Tuscany -- all by the husband and wife team of Edoardo and Elena (with adorable baby Leonardo!). The furnishings and appointments (many of which I understand to be family heirlooms) are so tastefully done to be inimitable (even though we tried with our own window treatments!). The bathroom was the nicest that we experienced at any spot visited while in Italy and France.

The beautifully maintained property is tastefully landscaped and surrounded by century old cypresses and verdant Edenesque Tuscan rolling hills. The property is so peaceful and quiet that we would have slept the morning away were it not for the rejoicing birds who awakened us with song in their own Garden of Eden.

We enjoyed a quiet dinner both nights at Villa Armena. As one reviewer aptly put it -- venturing out in the dark on the unpaved road to the Villa, to a restaurant elsewhere, might be a bit dicey -- especially if one had consumed wine. But no worries, the restaurant has ample selections to please the palette of the most discriminating gourmet/gourmand!

Breakfasts were delicious -- melt in your mouth fresh pastries hot from the oven, cereals, marmalades, fruits, home-made yogurt, etc. etc. with perfectly made cappuccino!

Only one word to the wise -- do not rely upon your GPS to get you to Villa Armena once you are close to Buonconvento because our Garmin GPS system (and we heard that others') took them to the wrong road. Instead, make sure that you get explicit directions from the Villa's front desk for the final 5-7 km of your drive to the Villa.

Lastly, if you enjoy bike riding, there is none better had than in this area of Tuscany and be sure to check-out the Villa's recommendation of Bruno Baldini for an excellent bike tour guide.

Grazie mille to Eduoardo, Elena, Laura and Barbara!!! and hugs to baby Leonardo and mascot dog, Franco :-)!

Room Tip: All of the rooms appeared to be gorgeous!
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  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Stephen H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 13 July 2014

Perched atop of a hill at the end of a long unpaved climbing road (narrow and with many potholes), this Renaissance Villa offers modern accomodations with fabulous views of the gorgeous countryside. The bed is firm and super comfortable, the pillows good (and you can choose different ones), the bathroom absolutely fantastic with luxury amenities. Where the Villa comes short is in the small details that international travelers might expect in a luxury propert:no turn-down service, no pool-side service, no 24 room service. Small details are also sometimes overlooked (mildew in the caulking in the corner of the shower, caller told there was no guest by such name). Overall, however, the charm of the villa wins one over.

Do not choose this property if you are nervous driving narrow roads or if you mind being far from any restaurant. The drive up the hill at night is harrowing and worst in the rain. Getting out of the parking is scary. In the winter without the beauty of the pool and short daylight hours, this property may not be on my list of ones to try.

The restaurant attempts a modern interpretation of local ingredients--small portions, very fancy, almost no selection of half wine bottles or wines by the glass. Fairly pricy for a family run restaurant. Our taste runs more to classic Tuscan simple fare but we cannot deny that the covenience of not having to drive out the first night was a plus.

Breakfast was good and offered a continental buffet as well as a menu. We observed young children being accomodated (hot water provided for baby formula) and that might be helpful to some visitors. We thought this property would attract couples but there were several of families.

The owner's family is genuinely trying and for that they deserve our praise. We suspect that they are new to the hospitality business and still learning. If you like a family run business without the details of luxury service, you will be satisfied. If you are more used to the Four Seasons kind of attention to detail, you will be disappointed.

Stayed: July 2014, travelled as a couple
4  Thank AGrassini
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
edo7819, Proprietario at Villa Armena Luxury Relais, responded to this reviewResponded 13 July 2014

Good evening dear AGrassini

and thank you very much for your very good review of Villa Armena, I'm glad you have enjoyed your stay with us.
I think you have really hit the spot with your review: we are not the Four Season, we do not want to be the Four Season and we don't charge the prices of the Four Season :-)).
We are exactly the opposite actually.
We are a small, independent, family run hotel. With only 10 rooms. Nothing to do with a big 60 rooms minimum hotel which is the same no matter if you're in Tuscany, in New York or in Singapore.
And this is our strength of course.
As far as winter in Tuscany is concerned I would actually strongly recommend to visit us during the lower season. There are far less tourists around, the prices are generally lower and, most importantly, there is plenty of truffle and mushrooms available!!!
Yummy!

See you soon hopefully!

Edoardo

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Reviewed 10 July 2014

An outstanding property which has been renovated to the highest standards by the owners. A great deal of thought and good taste has resulted in a retreat which matches the wonderful surrounding countryside.
Eduardo and Laura worked so hard to make our stay memorable and we would not only recommend this location, but will return. I can sympathise with and recognise some of the points made by TerryMWarwickshire, however there are so many plus points to warrant an excellent rating. This was not the polished experience of a five star hotel but the relaxed and very personal service matches the setting.

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
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Thank John L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
edo7819, Proprietario at Villa Armena Luxury Relais, responded to this reviewResponded 13 July 2014

Ciao John L!

Thank you very much for your excellent review and for your company over the past few days. We have enjoyed your company as much as you seem to have enjoyed your stay with us and of course we cannot wait for you to visit again as you promised :-)

See you soon!

Edoardo

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Reviewed 8 July 2014

My daughter and I traveled to Tuscany for a week. We chose to stay in Buonconvento for it is close to Montepulciano, Pienza, San Quirico D'Orcia and Montalcino.
I really wanted to book two days in the Villa Armenian since I saw the photos on their site. And we're glad we did! It is just outstanding!
The villa is beautiful and directly managed by the owners: Elena (architect) took care of every detail of the restoration and interior design of the villa and its suites. Edoardo (Chef de Cuisine) created a delicious menu and Laura (sommelière and Edoardo's mother) selected fine wines.
Details? Quiet and peaceful location, sophisticated suites. Charming and beautiful Villa, friendly staff. Love it and have already recommended it to our friends!
It is a five star stay, close to nature, where you can enjoy peace and birds...
We want to go back as soon as possible!
Luiza and Sheyla.

Room Tip: All the villa is very quiet, so it will depend on what room you like the most. We chose Orlando di...
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  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Review collected in partnership with this hotel
Thank LoisSPSP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
edo7819, Proprietario at Villa Armena Luxury Relais, responded to this reviewResponded 13 July 2014

Hello LoisSPSP!

Wow what a fabulous review!
Thank you so much for your kind words.
It's been a true pleasure looking after you ladies for the few days you stayed with us.

Come back soon!

Edoardo

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 July 2014

This is one of the hardest reviews that I've written as Villa Armena offered so much and delivered very well is some ways, yet missed the mark in others. This is a real shame, as it wouldn't take much to have been 100%.
By way of introduction, I'd rate the hotel as 5/5. However, I'd rate the restaurant as 3/5.

My reasons:
Before our stay (which I booked direct with the hotel), I exchanged many emails with Barbara - she was very helpful and friendly; she arranged a private cycle tour for us which was great. Her service continued to be excellent when we arrived - making us feel very welcome and showing us around the hotel and grounds before showing us to our room.
We were also welcomed by Eduardo - the owner / chef.

The room was fantastic in terms of decor - clearly, no expense has been spared in renovating this stunning property. We also had an incredible bathroom with beautiful free-standing tub and a massive walk-in shower with monsoon / massage jets.
However, the room only had one small wardrobe and no storage drawers, so we ended up spoiling the beautiful looks by stacking clothes on the sofa and leaving our suitcase out as storage.
The room also has a very high-tech lighting system which "rebooted" at 3am one morning, thus waking us up by switching every single light on. When I mentioned this to Eduardo, he was aware and told me that electricians had taken a look, but could find no fault. The "solution" was to leave the key card out of the wall socket which meant (a) you couldn't turn a light on if you wanted the bathroom in the night and (b) it glowed blue all night (I ended up standing a bag in front of it).

The restaurant was disappointing - we ate dinner there on the 1st night, after which we only used it for breakfast. Earlier (Trip) reviews reference an award-winning chef (Carlo Valeri?). However, he no longer appears to be there. The food, in our opinion was over-priced, portions were small and nothing really "wowed" us. Oh, and don't ask for side dishes as the kitchen doesn't offer them?!
I have to say that dinner was an amusing affair - our young waiter managing to insult people and make us laugh in equal measures; we had to settle for our 2nd choice of white wine as the "sommelier" (Eduardo's mum) had "forgotten to put the other one in the fridge". We were also aware of the table next to us who finally received the bottle of red wine that they had ordered, then chased up, after finishing their steak.
Breakfast didn't fair much better - a basic buffet which attracted lots of flies (so didn't really attract us). And then wheel our favorite waiter back out to tell us that hot drinks are included in the price "but only to a maximum of 2 per head". Given the price of this place, would they really begrudge you a 3rd coffee? Apparently so... take a look at the photo attached to this review. It is of the very friendly (not!) sign that adorns the bedroom dressing table.
Final plus point is back to Barbara - she recommended a superb lunch venue in Siena and gave us directions as to the best way to get there / where to park. (See my review of Osteria Da Divo).
You wouldn't stay here without a car - it's so far off the beaten track (one of it's attractions). Therefore, my advise would be to enjoy the hotel, but plan to eat your meals elsewhere (just don't take any food back to your room!).

NB - I am interested to see whether my review elicits a response - previous reviews that have been less than glowing seem to attract rather terse comments from the hotel. This in itself tells me something of their attitude to customer service and the customers providing feedback.

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank TerryMWarwickshire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
edo7819, Proprietario at Villa Armena Luxury Relais, responded to this reviewResponded 2 July 2014

Dear TerryMWar good morning!

Thank you very much for your very good review of Villa Armena, we are happy that you enjoyed your time with us and indeed we hope to see you again very soon.
Perhaps this will give me an opportunity to change your mind about the restaurant and of course you'll be my guest.
In particular tough I wanted to thank you for posting the picture you did as it gives me the perfect assist to explain something very important: as you have seen at Villa Armena all our furniture is made of antiques or of extremely important items anyway.
Most of these pieces belong to our family and did so fore more than 3 generations now.
You can imagine how attached we are to them.
Unfortunately though some people do not realize this or just have no respect whatsoever for anything that's not theirs and do the craziest things to it such as cutting salami with a big knife on a desk from the 1800 and leaving all the marks on it, spilling the olive oil from tuna cans all over the silk duvet AND the silk curtains, leave greasy permanent marks of some kind on the 300 years old wardrobe with dirty hands, smashing a MURANO glass lamp with the cork of a bottle, stepping on some kind of smelly canned fruit on a 300 years old silk carpet and I could continue forever. if I told you the places where we found maionese and ketchup you'd be amused. Not to mention the huge number of bottles of wine broken on the floor (and on the antique carptes of course....)
All of the above, on top of the fact that some people were taking out all of the minibar content to replace it with stinky salami and finocchiona thus leaving a disgusting smell in the room for the next guest forced us to take action.
Of course this is all something that I could have explained you while you were here if you asked me but trying to play the sarcastic and funny guy on internet is clearly much more fun, I understand it.


NB: I hope my answer has met, and perhaps exceeded, your expectations and therefore it tells you that we value FAIR and CONSTRUCTIVE criticism VERY, VERY MUCH. But only when it's FAIR and CONSTRUCTIVE. If it's a scam to get a discount, as it keeps happening more and more unfortunately even to the point of threatening to write bad review if a discount is not agreed (and by the way in cases like these we NEVER give in, so there is no point trying it....), I'm sorry but we won't take it.

I sincerely hope to be able to welcome you again very soon.

Edoardo

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Reviewed 24 June 2014

My partner and I were travelling around Italy for two weeks, and we both agree that Villa Armena was by far the highlight of our Italian experience! We loved our time there, the room was beautiful, every detail had been thought about. Elena, Eduardo and Laura gave us a very warm welcome and were always attentive to our needs. For me the major highlight was the house (which was renovated by Elena) and the surrounding Tuscan landscape - it really was an escape for us.
Being a real foodie I was very impressed by the restaurant food, the white chocolate cake with a chocolate center was to die for - I loved it so much I took a photograph of it! Eduardo is a gifted chef and Laura was fantastic with serving us - very charismatic.
We will definitely be visiting again - cant wait!

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Thank Kiran S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 June 2014

Loved every bit of this hidden gem, the rooms, the food, the people...i regret staing only 2 days! I will come back for sure this winter! Thanks also to Elena for the fantastic help she gave us choosing the right wineries!

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank francine f
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Villa Armena Luxury Relais

Address: Localita San Domenico Armena SNC, 53022, Buonconvento, Italy
Phone Number:
Region: Italy > Tuscany > Province of Siena > Buonconvento
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in Buonconvento
Price Range: £105 - £265 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 10
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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Villa Armena Luxury Relais Buonconvento, Italy - Tuscany

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