Where to begin with Borgo? Do you only have a second to spare, and want to know if you should go? It has become my happy place. Yes, book it!
More time to spare?
Borgo is one of those hotels where upon pulling into the driveway, you instantly feel lucky to be there. The grounds will transport you back to another era in time, and the staff instantly makes you feel at home. In my book, that’s a sign of a great hotel.
Borgo Pignano hits it out of the ballpark in a few ways:
1. The grounds: You won’t feel like you missed out on a summer beach vacation once you visit the pool -- carved into the limestone rock, the pool overlooks the Tuscan valley and you will quickly want to make it your first stop for relaxation and rest. Continuing on gravel pathways that curve around the 11th century buildings, you'll find an overlook that features a veranda and dining area, and around every corner, is a new, beautiful "nook." The owners picked the perfect spot in Tuscany to set up an Italian retreat.
2. The food: The hotel features 2 restaurants: Al Fresca is the more casual restaurant, with home-made pasta and pizza. Villa Pignano is closer to a fine dining experience (but still baby friendly), with beautiful panoramic views of the valley. If you like the “farm to table” concept, you'll find it here. Most products and vegetables on the menu come directly from the hotel’s farm. My favorite homemade hotel condiments were the jams and honey featured at breakfast.
3. The service and rooms: The service at the hotel, in regards specifically to the front desk and housekeeping staff, put Borgo Pignano on the luxury map. Shout out to Serena, front house manager, for her incredibly kind, patient, and helpful demeanor. In fact, most of the managers and front desk staff went above and beyond in every way. The housekeeping staff were accommodating and friendly; they tried their best not to come when Claire was sleeping, cleaned every nook and cranny, and folded all of our clothes -- everyday! They left the room sparking and clean, while also paying attention to the small details to make our stay more comfortable.
The rooms at Borgo are each unique and it's worth researching each one before booking (the website has detailed pictures and descriptions, so that you can choose something that best fits your needs). I selected a maisonette (l’antica stalla), which included 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, kitchen and living/dining area
Upon entering, there was a direct view of the porch and countryside in the background (which sometimes looked like a painting itself). My mom used the porch everyday to paint, and she turned it into a mini art studio. The entryway led into the living and dining area, which then curved around into the kitchen. Each bedroom had a king bed, and its own bathroom; one room faced the countryside, and the other faced the inner courtyard. The maisonette was a great choice for those traveling with kids or family -- it gave us plenty of room and soon became our home away from home.
Borgo Pignano is a 5 star hotel, but they haven’t gotten too big for their britches -- the staff was eager to hear our feedback. For instance, we were not shy in expressing our shock upon entering the family pool. The song that instantly came to mind was: “Ice, ice, baby.” Claire (and my husband) were close to freezing. In an effort to accommodate, they allowed us to use the adult pool (as long as the baby was quiet), and did inform us that the family pool would be heated by summer 2020!
A few things-to-know:
- Italians have their own style when it comes to breakfast. Try to remember that you're on a working farm at Borgo Pignano, and it's part of the experience to taste what they produce on site. The homemade granola was outstanding, and don't forget to top it with honey from the farm's beehives. However, if you’re in the mood for a full American breakfast, you may have to wait for a pancake run back in the U.S.
- Eating out means taking your time: Sometimes we had to wait a long time for drinks to arrive, or service in between courses (which can feel like an eternity with a baby). However, we (especially me) learned to embrace the culture and we eventually got ourselves on “Italy eating time” (Claire just started sleeping in her food during longer dinners).
- Tuscan lodging means Tuscan interior touches throughout the rooms: While Borgo Pignano is a 5 star hotel, part of the hotel's charm is its ability to preserve the “Old World” look of the Tuscan countryside within each of its rooms. What does that mean exactly? You will find terracotta flooring, not wall to wall carpeting more typically found in chain hotels. There’s low, ambient lighting, not modern over-the-top motion sensored lights. The bedding, furniture, and fixtures reflect the look of an intimate inn, making the room feel like “our home,” instead of a cookie cutter accommodation. However, the “Old World” touches still translate to 5-star attention to detail. The beds are luxurious and comfortable (which is not always the case in European hotels), and you’ll find lavender scented soaps and lotions (made on the farm) in each bathroom.
And if you’re traveling with kids, you picked a great spot.
Borgo Pignano offers an on-site kids camp. Claire was too young to attend, but the counselor was really friendly, and the other children visiting the resort seemed to love her. But don’t fear -- there was still plenty to do on site for an infant or toddler. My three recommendations are:
- Check out the wildlife right on the farm.
- Go to the pool everyday and splash around.
- Get those baby legs working at the gym...the lawn gym that is! Claire practiced strength training on the wide grassy lawn, showing off her planks.
Would I Return?
I kind of already gave this one away at the beginning, but yes! We would go back in a heartbeat and look forward to hopefully returning one day. I recommend 5-6 days to fully experience the hotel and explore the surrounding areas.
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