Italy’s Newest Luxury Resort Makes Tuscany Even More Attractive For 2012

Writer Larry Olmstead shares news about Tuscany on his Forbes.com blog, posted Dec. 20, 2011.

Just in case you needed yet another reason to visit Tuscany, one of the most fantastic vacation paradises on earth, I’ve got one: Hotel Castello di Casole.Tuscany's Hotel Castello di Casole will be one of the most notable luxury hotel openings on earth in 2012. There is no shortage of luxury lodging within Italy’s most desirable region, but even by Tuscan standards, the new Hotel Castello di Casole, slated to open in the spring, just in time for peak European travel season, is special.

I know because I stayed at Castello di Casole, a 4,200-acre private estate turned residential resort community, while the hotel was under construction – if you can call restoring an opulent 10th century castle construction. The entire project is the work of Colorado-based Timbers Resorts, known for developing luxury lifestyle residences, fractional ownership clubs, and semi-public resorts like One Steamboat Place and the Sebastian at Vail in Colorado, the Residences at Esperanza in Mexico, ownership cottages at Ireland’s Doonbeg golf resort, and many others.

Castello di Casole is comprised of more than two dozen incredibly stunning and meticulously restored and decadently modernized Italian villas, and has been open for few years, with over 100 acres of high-quality vineyards and olive groves, a game reserve, a state-of- the-art wellness center and an excellent restaurant, plus an entire Tuscan hill town within the estate. The only thing missing was a hotel, since it has taken five years to renovate the castle – once home to Italian nobility -with the same attention that was given to the villas, resulting in an all-suite 41-suite boutique hotel oozing rustic Tuscan charm and modern Tuscan luxury. Fourteen suites will feature large private gardens and terraces with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the vineyards and groves of lemon and olive trees.

In addition to the rooms, the castle will add several more eateries, including fine-dining venue Ristorante Tosca, focused on local Tuscan cuisine, homemade pasta, fresh local produce from the hotel’s gardens, and olive oil produced on site. Thanks to the game reserve, menus will seasonally feature wild boar, venison, pheasant, hare, and rabbit. There is also a gourmet pizzeria, espresso bar, gelateria, and bar featuring among many other things, the estate’s private label wines. The hotel has a large outdoor pool area with sweeping views of the Tuscan countryside, and a lavish spa in the castle’s former wine cellars, an homage to ancient Roman baths. For hopeless romantics, the resort also includes a restored 18th century chapel, perfect for weddings.

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