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.
- 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