Terme di Saturnia Hotel, Tuscany, Italy (West London Living)

The Credentials:

Fringing the entrance of the five-star Terme di Sarturnia Spa & Golf Resort is an army of shining Ferraris complete with immaculately preened, designer-clad owners. This hotel is elegantly Italian and totally luxurious, but it is not just popular with those seeking romantic weekends away in the Tuscan hills. The hotel is built on a rich thermal spring, and the tranquil hotel pool is the actual source making it a mecca for those seeking out its therapeutic qualities. Naturally heated at a blissful 37 degrees, it is like stepping into a relaxing bath… Once you have got over the smell of rotting eggs that is! Rich in sulphur and mineral salts, the pool is said to aid aching limbs, asthma, arthritis and even fertility problems. After just 20 minutes in the bubbling waters we peacefully collapsed in the Italian sun.

Dine:

Tuscany is renowned for its superb robust, regional cuisine featuring beans, bread and game. This hotel has two restaurants; one overlooking the steaming sulphur pool which is home to the impressive self-service buffet. Hotel buffets often fill me with dread with visions of cold, limp chips and bland, flavourless cuisine. Terme di Saturnia’s daily feasts however were a triumph, with giant platters of creative salads such as char-grilled asparagus and walnut, tuna and white beans and fresh mozzarella with orange and salmon. Mains included roasted marinated rabbit, a creamy homemade ricotta and spinach lasagna and baked, locally caught fish. They also have an a la carte restaurant where the attentive waiters flood you with delicious amuse bouches between courses. Each morning we indulged in succulent, fresh apricots, nectarines and blueberries as well as freshly squeezed juices and naturally the restaurants have fantastic, typically Italian wine lists catering all budgets. While in the Tuscan hills it would be a crime not to wet the palate with spicy, floral Chianti.

Sleep:

Our room was spacious and well appointed, with incredibly comfortable beds and an enormous bath. We loved the hotel’s beauty range which we were delighted to find in our rooms on arrival. The hotel dress code is casual with fluffy hotel dressing gown and slippers normal until 7pm; the glad rags come out for dinner.

Who Goes There?:

The hotel is popular with affluent Italian lovers seeking a romantic countryside retreat, golfers keen to try their hand on the 18-hole golf course and those seeking out the thermal waters for medicinal reasons.

Out & About:

You can borrow a bicycle and head off in to the hills to explore the nearby spa town of Saturnia. Crowned by a grand stone castle, the medieval village is a (steep!) 20-minute cycle along the winding hillside roads. Although fringed with olive groves, sunflower fields and rustic farmhouses, it is more like 40 minutes after the essential photo-stops! The hilltop village has a traditional gelateria, a lovely trattoria and cafes as well as commanding views over the surrounding countryside.

If you hire a car don’t miss the nearby walled town of Montemerano. After coffee in the centre, stroll to the Piazza del Castello to capture a Kodak moment.

Once back at the hotel ease your aching muscles at the hotel’s enormous, hi-tech spa. On my visit I was beautifully blinged-up with a 24-carat gold facial. My skin was cleansed and hydrated before being gold-plated, leaving me looking like a rather expensive futuristic robot. The gold was then rinsed away (I know?!) and my face was left silky soft and glowing.

The Best Thing:

During summer weekends you can float in the warm waters by candlelight, when the hotels public baths (next door) are open until 1am with live music.

The Worst Thing:

The hotel is bliss for those looking for total seclusion and relaxation. However for those keen to explore Tuscany car hire is essential.

The Details:

Terme di Saturnia Spa & Golf Resort is a 1.5-hour drive from Rome. Transfers can be arranged with the hotel.

Prices start from around £200 per person per night. Check the website for offers, including a four-night stay on B&B basis with one dinner at Restaurant Aqualuce and full use of the pool and facilities from €550pp (valid until Monday 8 August 2011).

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