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La Bandita
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Reviewed 13 May 2013

This ia an idyllic place to stay: the location, the views, the swimming pool, and the main house itself are great …But what truly makes a stay at La Bandita such a fabulous experience are the local staff who make you feel at home the moment you walk in.

Elena, Paola, Simone, Dario could not have been more gentili, hospitable or friendly. From the moment we arrived we were made to feel a home: we were presented with a glass of wine and when we left we felt we were leaving friends.

I had a few mixed feelings when I first booked: What is this communal dining about, are we in the middle of nowhere? I shouldn’t have worried- La Bandita is truly a winning combination: a feeling of being at home, with fantastic Italian hosts, in one of the most beautiful places in Italy.

And you aren't far away from beautiful cities like Pienza and Montepulciano in case you feel like you need to leave the property....

The rooms at La Bandita are high-end minimalist, spacious, clean, the beds comfortable, the bathrooms enormous. The towels and bathrobes luxurious. The garden is beautiful and dotted across the property are areas where you can sit peacefully and look at the stunning views.

You can opt to eat dinner at la Bandita and I highly recommend this. The chefs make pasta by hand and every dinner was a 4 course Italian-style affair. There really is no need to eat out, the meals were delicious..Every dinner we had was delicious.

Congratulations to the team at La Bandita for making this such a wonderful place!

Room Tip: We stayed in room 6. Sunny, with fantastic views of the Val d'Orcia, 4 poster bed, massive shower an en suite bathroom and even an in room tub!
  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Happieronholiday
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 May 2013

This refurbished farm house has 6 rooms in tha main building and an independant little house. The location is amazing on the top of hill with a 360 degrees view over the hills of Val d'Orcia hills, 20 min from Pienza, a beautiful village . The only problem is the bad road to getthere, there are two roads, a long (3km) and bad, and another one shorter and very bad (direction to Pienza). Don't rent a low sports car, rocks, you will damage the chassis!!! Furniture and decor are minimalist (maybe too much), white and design. It's simple and chic but some Ikea furniture make it a bit cheap. Rooms are nice and simply furnished. Water, teas and sodas are free of charge. There are several chill out and terrace area with outdoor fireplaces, a beautiful outdoor pool and a "petanque" area. The main living room and breakfast/dinner main room is like at home with a large table. A private chef makes dinner in an open kitchen offering daily menu, very good food, more sophisticated than what you can find in osterias and tratorrias in the area. Service is good, people are very helpful. They can recommend a very good biking service. They have la Bandita Townhouse, newly done, in the village of Pienza. Decor is beautiful and modern, there is a restaurant and a nice terrace.

Stayed: May 2013, travelled with friends
1  Thank Xuan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 April 2013

Set atop a steep hill overlooking the impossibly beautiful Val d'Orcia, La Bandita mixes the charm of a rural farmhouse with the luxury of a high-end boutique. The twenty-minute drive up a winding, cedar-lined path is transportive--you’ll more than once think you are lost, but by the time you reach the circle drive and glance back over the valley, you’ll realize you’re somewhere special.

On arrival, visitors are welcomed into a large common area that feels like as comfortable as a family room--large couches, large-screen television, a wall of hundreds of books, a fabulous record collection, and a long table with place settings for as many guests as are there for the day. We arrived late, just before dinner, and watched the two chefs preparing our meal in the open kitchen while sipping our glasses of wine from the impressive list curated by the owner. (Meanwhile, the sous chef was making cotton candy with the two young daughters of our fellow guests who had patiently waited on us.) Dinner was world-class--tagliatelle al tartufo, braised pork knuckle, chocolate mousse--and served effortlessly.

Our suite was in the back of the farmhouse, off the kitchen, with a king-sized canopy bed and oversized bathtub resting on a wooden platform, and a desk and lounge on marble floors. The bathroom was spacious, with a stunning open rainshower. French doors lead onto a private terrace overlooking the valley, and we ate our breakfast--generous portions of yogurt, muesli, croissants, juice, fresh fruit, and espresso--outdoors each morning. Each member of the staff--Elena, Simone, David, Mikey, and others--were the perfect balance of relaxed but attentive (we didn’t finish our bottle of wine with dinner, so Mikey corked it and put it in the refrigerator with our names on it, with an invitation to pop in the kitchen and retrieve it--and a snack--whenever we wanted).

The hill towns of Tuscany are all within easy reach (Sienna is about an hour, San Gimignano an hour 30, Montepulciano, Monticchiello, Bagno a Vignoni all around half an hour). The staff at La Bandita is helpful in setting up tastings at the standouts among the dozens of local farms that specialize in cheese, wine, olive oil and more--upon arrival, you’ll be given an extremely helpful guide to region that includes recommendations for best restaurants.

We visited during the off-season, so the pool and other outdoor amenities weren’t available, but with the view, the lovely room, the staff, and the location, we didn’t miss them a bit. There are countless ways to experience the Tuscan countryside--but La Bandita is an experience in itself. In a landscape where everything is beautiful and every place special, La Bandita is truly exceptional.

  • Stayed: March 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank JasonAshlock
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 March 2013

I'm one of those terrible TripAdvisor users - savor and treasure all the advice and reviews, and then rarely if ever make time to post my own reviews, though I know better. That, and I almost don't want everyone else to know about this amazing place, god forbid I can't come back and get my room back. But I had to make time to write about La Bandita, because praise is so richly deserved.

Briefly about me: When it comes to travel, I'm relatively spoiled and like nice things (there, I said it). It not just about how much money one is willing to spend, b/c as we all know, you can book a room at the Four Seasons and it'll be nice...but maybe that's about it. As a hardworking professional, I treasure my time off and more than anything want to end up at a place that is gorgeous and will leave a long-lasting memory, a place that you're REALLY sad to leave, that you long to come back to. Well, if the Four Seasons was a stunningly-decorated old stone house on the top of a picturesque Tuscan Hill with an infinity pool, wine cellar, and pizza oven, then JACKPOT!

This property: My partner and I spent several days here as a mid-point in our travels from Rome to Florence. Pienza was advised my many as the perfect place to park in Tuscany, so we searched for a great place to stay and found La Bandita. Honestly and truly, there are only a handful of places in all my travels that I can say this about: PERFECTION. What you've read in the other posts is true -- magical, majestic, warm, cool, sleek, inviting, stunning, delicious...vacation. You'll wish you lived here. But you don't. So the best you can do is settle in, savor it, revel in how approachable, kind, caring, and smart the owners/staff are, and realize that you can come back.

From the moment we arrived, we knew we found something special. We stared, dumbfounded, at Elena, our gorgeous host, when she welcomed us in the golden afternoon Tuscan sun with two Spritz cocktails (Prosecco, Aperol, splash of Pellegrino and an orange slice) and led us to a hilltop bench overlooking all of Tuscany. She told us to take our time and enjoy! The infinity pool and slick orange bed-loungers off to our left, neighboring stone farmhouses and grazing cows across the hills in front of us, cypress tree trails and the beautiful inn to our right...it was a sight to behold.

Over the next few days, we slept like babies. We took lingering baths, we took long showers in the oversized rain shower. We had beautiful breakfasts outside, an espresso maker at our disposal. Personal concierge service. An all-day bike trip was arranged. One afternoon, we painted with watercolors under the poolside gazebo (graciously stocked with cold drinks). One evening, we dined with some of the other guests on delicious food prepared by the resident chef, David, and then all sat around the outdoor firepit. Another evening, owner Jon Voigtman led a mouthwatering education through a tasting of Brunellos that featured a huge selection of local gems, many quite expensive and not what you'd usually see at a tasting. Oh, that was good! Jon is so smart and well-versed in Brunellos; Italian wine in general. We live in San Francisco/Bay area with constant access to Napa/Sonoma wine-country, and we learned SO much from Jon that night. Reflective of his love of wine, he keeps a large selection of curated wines sitting in the Inn's living room, available for the taking on an honor-system: just write down what you took to your room or outside by the fire, and "enjoy!"

Then, there was our other host, Simone (who happens to be Elena's boyfriend) - an amazingly gracious, kind, and energetic guy who along with Elena dispensed priceless advice when helping us plan our days and drives around Tuscany. One night, Simone led pizza night, executed through the traditional brick pizza built just outside the kitchen. He prepared the dough the morning before and the smell of yeasty rising dough filled the Inn's main floor. He fired up the oven early in the day and by early evening's purple and orange sunset -- between the perfectly risen dough, the ashes flying through the chimney, the freshly uncorked bottles of Brunello breathing, and the Spritz aperitifs in our hand -- we realized that we had a problem. We could get used to this. We don't want to leave, ever.

Turns out Simone used to run an authentic pizzeria, and really knows what he's doing (and frankly, he could/should give a class). I was in heaven: Simone was willing to teach me, and before I knew it, I was kneading, flinging Semolina and discs of yeasty dough across the farm table and ripping up chunks of fresh cheese like a pro. He taught me the art of how to use the pizza peel to perfectly deposit and snatch up the squash blossom and ricotta pie in just 60 seconds of searing, wood-burning heat. Seriously...I couldn't have booked a better, more authentic cooking lesson if I tried -- and I'm a foodie, and I tried. We were in Tuscany, after all.

I'll wrap it up, because, really, I could go on and on, as this was one of the most magical and perfect places we've ever stayed. Thank you Elena and Simone, and owners Jon Voigtman and the fabulous Ondine Cohan (who, fittingly, is a brilliant travel writer) for making our stay truly amazing. Thank you for creating this place, for sharing it, and for continuing to expand your vision (the owners just opened an amazing-looking second place in the heart of town, La Bandita Townhouse, a former ancient nunnery). We feel so lucky to have found a place we find ourselves thinking about all year, that we know we'll come back tom and recommend without reservation. Just don't take my room! :-)

Room Tip: The rooms are truly all terrific; larger rooms are just that -- larger -- but they're all similar in style and fantastic.
  • Stayed: October 2012, travelled as a couple
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8  Thank Larry R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 January 2013

I was at La Bandita after Christmas and left the first day of 2013.
My wife and two kids had a wonderful time. The scenery is of a dreamlike quality and the stay was pleasant due to the excellent cares of Simone Elena David and the kind polish lady who's name I don't remember, I'm sorry! Too much Vino Nobile I guess.
Everybody was very kind and helpful and so nice to the kids. Simone went out of his way to feed the children when they didn't like a dish and made them something else. Simone gave great tips about the area and made reservations for the restaurants, and he draws beautiful maps of the area. He was such a great help and was always upbeat. I loved the concept of a hotel/livingroom and the abscence of formality was delightful. I felt right at home and relaxed and not just because I am a Tuscan by origin, because my wife felt the same. I'm already dreaming of going back!!!

Bruno Giuntoli, Rotterdam.

Room Tip: It really doesn't matter i think.
  • Stayed: December 2012, travelled with family
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2  Thank Giuntology
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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