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“Two star accommodation in a five star palace”
Review of Relais dell'Ussero

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Relais dell'Ussero
London
Level 6 Contributor
92 reviews
79 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 103 helpful votes
“Two star accommodation in a five star palace”
Reviewed 11 June 2012

Describing a hotel is usually a straightforward affair but this is a place that quite defeats me because it doesn’t fit into Trip Advisors categories at all.

On the final night of my stay in Italy we drove in the direction of Pisa where we were catching our flight the next day, we had nowhere booked and were simply looking for a bed for the night so when I saw a sign for a hotel ahead we slowed down to take a look. What we saw was spectacular, a huge baroque villa set in lush countryside and when we entered the driveway it was more to take a better look than to stay at a place that at first glance looked out of our league. The shutters were all closed at the front of the building and there was no indication the place actually was a hotel so we drove around the back and parked in the impressive grounds. The French windows at the top of a short flight of steps were ajar so we investigated further. We were met by a non English speaking man I took to be the caretaker who seemed totally put out that someone might actually want to stay at the hotel, rather like Basil Fawlty who liked nothing less than his hotel actually having guests.

On stepping inside my jaw almost hit the floor as it was a bona fide palace with the walls and soaring ceilings covered with paintings of cavorting gods and goddesses, could we afford a night in a stately home? Surprisingly yes we could as we were offered a twin-bedded room for a mere seventy Euros a night. Our room was at the top of a great stone staircase also adorned by murals and ceiling paintings and down a couple of gloomy corridors. The room itself was high ceilinged with the main feature being an oversized armoire and the bathroom was a small cabin affair built into a corner with shower, toilet and basin but no bidet which is highly unusual in Italy. The window looked out onto the garden and the restaurant in the grounds.

We decided to give the restaurant a try and had an excellent meal with the charming young chef taking the trouble to come out of her kitchen to explain the menu to us in English; the waitress was also an attentive English speaker. Returning to our room through the seemingly deserted house was a bit spooky, but in the morning we were woken by birdsong and the cooing of a wood pigeon in the tree outside our window. Breakfast was taken in the basement and to be honest it was pretty basic, but in the morning we got to meet other members of staff who were delightful unlike miserable ‘Basil Fawlty’ of the night before.

This is without doubt the most palatial place I have ever stayed in in spite of the basic nature of the actual room. Sleep quality here is superb, so quiet you could hear a pin drop though it is worth noting that there is a train line nearby that echoes through the valley, though this shouldn’t be a problem as the trains don’t run at night. Do by all means stay here for the experience, just don’t expect the rooms to match the splendour of the rest of the buiding.

  • Stayed June 2012, travelled as a couple
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

27 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Polish first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
Edinburgh
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 May 2012

The rooms are tastefully decorated and the owners are charming. They really went out of their way to help my sister and I. If you want a taste of Italian history then you must stay here! Look out for Dodi the dog, he is very cute.

I would recommend a hire car if staying here although there is a bus stop outside. Must sees are of course Pisa, Lucca, Forte Dei Marmi (upmarket seaside resort-Tuscan Rivier) and Florence. It is a great base to explore tuscany. The restaurant is great too. I can't wait to get married here! I will update..........

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled with friends
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
UK
1 review
Reviewed 14 November 2010

The Villa di Corliano is set in gorgeous countryside and it's a stunning building. We got a taxi there from the airport for around 30 euros. Being able to drive probably would have made this location better, but we had to rely on buses.

We weren't sure how the buses worked initially - I think you're supposed to buy tickets before you catch the bus, but we found we could buy tickets on board for a couple of euros. The bus company that runs along on the main route to Pisa is called Lazzi or VAIBUS, and runs around once an hour. We found out on the last day that the little village of Orzignano has a CPT bus stop. All the places we found that sold tickets seemed to be for CPT buses and all the other buses from Pisa seem to be run by CPT so if we'd been able to get a weekly ticket for CPT buses this would have been good. We also walked to the train station in Rigoli but it was deserted. What looked like it could have been a ticket machine was not working, so we gave up on that idea and went back to the bus stop! Not doing enough research beforehand, and not being able to speak much Italian made this a bit hard for us too!

We found the restaurant to be nice but didnt find a meal we really loved. The waitress was very friendly and spoke some English. The owner speaks english well but other members of staff don't. We ordered a well done steak one night though and it came out RAW, the chef was furious when I sent back into the kitchen and I heard the chef and the waitress arguing in whispers after that and couldn't stand to stay.

The room we stayed in was large, the en suite was good, the views from the windows were lovely. The "double bed" was two singles next to each other and the mattresses kept separating in the night which was awful. The bedding was blankets in between sheets rather than the quilt we're used to in the UK. There was a basic TV which we could only get two channels on.

Breakfast was lovely, when you go down into the breakfast room you get a nice warm croissant which I put a ton of Nutella in!! Plenty of bread, cheese, ham, some cake, coffee, and pomegranate juice I think. The toast came in small packets like biscuits do, good for a laugh as your friend tries to butter it and it crumbles to pieces!

On your way to breakfast you walk through rooms full of antiques - I think they have auctions there, interesting to see the items they have. The frescos on the walls are incredible, you could spend hours looking at all the detail in them.

The village of San Guiliano down the road had a couple of places to eat, a good pasticcherie (sorry for the spelling) but the village was very quiet. Orzignano had a couple of places too but we didn't know about them until the last day.

Overall a beautiful place, but not very comfortable, and not for people who aren't driving, or cant speak much Italian! Definitely didn't do enough research before our trip!

  • Stayed October 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Phoenix, Arizona
Level 4 Contributor
27 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 October 2010

We arrived at 9:30 p.m. while a wedding reception was going on. Welcome to Italy! Our room overlooked the beautiful 'park' or grounds. This is an old palazzo built by a wealthy Pisa merchant in the 1300s, turned B&B in 2005 by the family that has owned it since the 1500s. We stayed six nights in the suite. Rosanna, the owner, was a corporate lawyer that quit to run it with her husband. Delightful Orianna will serve you breakfast either al fresco or in the breakfast room. Best cappuccino ever! She also is the maid and at the front desk when Rosanna is gone. They are very helpful with information. Pisa is 15 minutes away. Cinque Terre, about an hour, Florence 1.5 hours, Lucca a half hour, Sienna two hours. The restaurant on the grounds is very good (serves dinner only), we only had the chance to eat there once though. This is a gem of a find if you value charm; if you prefer state of the art ammentities, go find a Five Seasons or the like. We would take this any day! (they spell the place Villa di Corliano, google it!)

  • Stayed August 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cambride
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 September 2008

We stayed for 2 nights in one of their cheaper rooms (with shared bathroom, 70Eur/night). We actually had the bathroom in the hallway for ourselves and found it to be very clean and modern.

The building is very, very nice. An old palace in Tuscany which conserved its charm. We had a great view from our room (typical Tuscan countryside).

The service was very friendly. We arrived around midnight and had to wake up the night porter, but he was very friendly and checked us in quickly. The rooms are not cleaned every day, unless you pay 10 Euros extra per day, but that doesn't really matter for a short stay. The breakfast was a typical European breakfast buffet with croissant, bread, cheese etc. It wasn't amazing, but quite OK.

You definitely need a car if you want to stay there. It's a 15-20 minute drive to the historical center of Pisa, but hotels in Pisa are quite a bit more expensive and you will often have to pay extra for parking if you stay in Pisa.

  • Liked — charm
  • Disliked — no internet
  • Stayed September 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Check-in / front desk
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
nelson, new zealand
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 January 2008

We were originally attracted by the very reasonable room rate of E80 including continental breakfast and the neat pictures we found on the web. What could be more romantic than a palace in Tuscany?

We did not realise just how lucky we were to choose this accommodation. It was clean, private and oozing with history and grandeur of past centuries. The bed was OK, the room was basic but acceptable and our hosts were friendly and spoke very good english.

The location is perfect for day trips to florence, pisa, livorgno etc and at the end of each day, you relax back to your private palace. The on-site restaurant is a separate business and we only had dessert there - it was fabulous. After our disappointments trying to find great food in Pisa, we should have eaten there instead.

All in all, our 3 day mini holiday at the Villa was absolutely perfect. We dream about returning before too long ...

  • Liked — the feeling of being in an historical environment
  • Disliked — rooms could use some fresh decoration.
  • Stayed May 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Manchester
Level 1 Contributor
1 review
Reviewed 23 October 2007

I booked the hotel on a whim, after finding no reviews on here I went on the website alone, and a very good rate on the internet.

On finding the hotel it took your breath away! A long gravel driveway leads through beautiful gardens and out buildings to the main hotel which stands in grandure!

The staff know very little english (so take your phrase book and have a giggle) although he seemed to understand 4 beers and Chianti so we were ok. On entering the hotel you will find frescoes and pictures covering the walls and ceilings of the lobby and downstairs dining room which are indescribable!

We had a suite and the other pair with us had a twin room. The rooms were lovely with amazing views over the hills all the way to Pisa. The only thing missing from the room was tea and coffee making facilities so would definately take a travel kettle next stay.

Breakfast is served downstairs which takes you through more rooms and atmosphere. Breakfast is basic but enough and includes cereals, yoghurts, bread, ham and cake. Dinner can be had in the restaurant on site which offers a typical italian menu of seafood and boar! worth a try for the adventurous who want more than pizza and lasagne. If you dont fancy that we were recommended a lovely, cheap restaurant a 20 minute walk down the road. Turn right and keep walking and you will find it on you right.

The history and atmosphere of the villa seeps out of every wall and the friendlieness of the staff makes it feel like a real home from home! We will definately return as was simply amazing!

  • Liked — The Atmosphere, warmth and friendliness
  • Disliked — No tea/coffee in room
  • Stayed October 2007, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Relais dell'Ussero

Property: Relais dell'Ussero
Address: Via Dell'Abetone E del Brennero 50 | Rigoli, 56017, San Giuliano Terme, Italy
Region: Italy > Tuscany > Province of Pisa > San Giuliano Terme
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 10 Speciality Lodging in San Giuliano Terme
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Relais is on the road which runs along the foot of the hills from Pisa to Lucca, passing through the small town of San Giuliano Terme. The Villa is an historical fifteenth-century mansion surrounded by a centuries old park. The Villa della Seta is very conveniently located near the village of Corliano only 2 Km along the road from the health spa of San Giuliano Terme, and halfway between the historical cities of Pisa and Lucca. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Relais Dell'Ussero Province Of Pisa, Italy

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