The phrase 'attention to detail' gets bandied around a lot in hotel-speak but if a masterclass on such a thing is ever required, one can now be found at HotelCastello di Reschio on the very edge of Umbria. Years in the making – and centuries in the shaping – this old Etruscan stronghold showcases hospitality of the highest order against a backdrop of beautiful bespoke furniture, convivial fine dining and, most literally, sublime scenery. And it might be a fortress, but it presides over the most peaceful of regimes: lose days to pine-shaded poolside idling, saddle up and explore on horseback, take strolls through olive groves and vineyards, tuck into local fare and gaze out over Tuscany across the border…
Get this when you book through us:
A locally focused wine-tasting of three regional blends
11am, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from £2040.15 (€2,400), including tax at 10 per cent.
Rates include a bountiful breakfast buffet.
Given the hotel's centuries-old foundations and hillside perch, those who are less mobile may need a little assistance up and down inclines. There are plenty of accessible public areas, though, and numerous specially-adapted rooms with either ground-floor or elevator access.
For the winter (from mid-November to mid-March).
At the hotel
On the vast estate you'll find olive groves, vineyards, lakes, an equestrian centre, a boutique stocked with Italian wares, an enoteca and two restaurants. In rooms: air conditioning, custom furniture, free minibar, Ortigia bath products, free WiFi.
Our favourite rooms
Talk about flour power, one ground floor room still sports centuries-old milling equipment at its centre (ask about it when booking). Then there's the castle's tower: a whole five-floor suite in itself with peerless panoramas, an open-air tub on top and, handily, a dumb waiter for hoisting up your sundowners. The beamed ceiling, bespoke furniture and generous dimensions of the Castello suite make for a pretty special stay, too.
There's a large heated oval pool shielded by pine trees just beyond the castle's eastern wall (it's supervised throughout the day so ideal if you're swimming con la familigia). Il Torrino is the pool bar on hand to keep you fed and watered and there are plenty of shady spots to spend a somnambulant afternoon between dips.
The cellars here were once meant for wine; now they're for unwinding. Tread the ancient stone steps down and you'll emerge into a warren of soothing spaces, including two treatment rooms, a sauna and a hammam. Among the caves is also a plunge pool of almost celestial calm lit, as it is, by beams of light from windows high above.
No need for bows and arrows here anymore, instead pack a pair of binoculars so you can make the most of your vantage point and look for wild boar, kingfishers, porcupines, partridges and other local residents.
That covetable furniture you'll find yourself fondly stroking during your stay all comes courtesy of the on-site design studio helmed by architect-owner, Count Benedikt, hailed as one of the 100 best working today by Architectural Digest, no less.
Bambini of all ages are warmly welcomed. There is an outdoor play area, cooking classes to try, ponies and horses to ride and grounds galore to roam. With two day's notice babysitting can be arranged for €25 an hour.
These lands laid in ruin before the current owners arrived. Through replanting and smart landscaping, though, they've seen native plants and flowers flourish and the likes of nightingales and butterflies return in their droves. Bees, too, have settled into the group of hives added in 2016 to help with pollination (and to make some pretty great honey). Food, as you'd expect in these parts, is exclusively organic, either grown on site or sourced from local suppliers.
A terrace seat for sunset al castello; a seat at the beauteous Centrale bar for aperitivo hour
Casual but classy. A dash of Ralph Lauren would nod nicely to the equestrian theme
Snacks and small plates are served down at the Palm Court and at Il Torrino by the pool. Otherwise there are two restaurants. In the western ramparts of the castello is a simple and styilsh restaurant with a sunset-perfect terrace dotted with fig trees. Then, a few minutes down the hill, is Ristorante Alle Scuderie which, as its name suggests, is by the old stables – an artful display of riding boots, stirrups and saddles hangs high on one wall in tribute – and it's an aesthete's delight. Huge double-height windows and patio doors let the Umbrian sun flood in and three giant ferns stand in natural contrast to its handsome mid-century furnishings. As for the substance, it's just as good as the style – the ever-changing menu uses ingredients that grow or graze in their abundant acres to craft traditional Umbrian fare with flair.
Bar Centrale is the stylish show pony of the scuderie: a sweeping marble bar with two giant cafetiere-esque display cabinets showcasing its finest bottles. It's the natural gathering point for pre- and post-dinner drinks (during the day you'll likely be tempted by the terrace and its territory surveying views) and its seven iron-hewn bar stools will be covetable perches. Behind the bar itself is a towering tableau of local wine; reading the list is as enjoyable as any literature. As for other drinks, it's an 'ask and you shall receive' sort of place.
They're still figuring the exact details out, but expect to linger long, long after sundown.
Hotel Castello di Reschio sits just inside the Umbrian borderline, peering back over Tuscan hills.
Perugia airport is the most convenient, just a 45 minute drive away. Florence airport, to the north, is about two hours by car. The hotel can arrange transfers from both (prices are still being worked out).
If you prefer a more genteel mode of transport, Terontola train station – about 35 minutes drive from the hotel – serves Milan, Rome, Venice and Turin.
We wouldn't blame you if you never left the estate, but if you are tempted by some Umbrian exploration, having a car is pretty useful. In contrast to some hideaways around here, you'll find Reschio reasonably well signposted on local roads. Parking is free on site.
Worth getting out of bed for
To be honest, it's worth getting out of bed just to survey your surroundings. You're in a castle. Overlooking the Umbrian hills. Everything is fine. But should you fancy strolling further than the shower you're as rightfully spoilt as a castle guest deserves to be. There are peaceful lakes to try your luck at fishing, truffle-hunting trails to follow with first-class foragers, genteel nature hikes through the woods with the head gamekeeper, clay-pigeon shooting, bikes to borrow, tennis courts (for relaxed knockabouts or for lessons with a pro), a cooking school in the cucina, an enoteca stocked with local wine and a bottega selling Italian-made curios and locally grown produce. Then, of course, are those famous horses. The estate unveiled a new state-of-the-art (and architechturally wowing) equestrian centre in 2019 and it's home to some of Europe's finest pure-bred Andalusians. You can watch dressage performances, hack through the wilds or, whatever your skill level, have lessons with expert instructors. If you've exhausted the estate, head out beyond the hills and you'll find Arezzo, Siena, Perugia, Assisi, Cortona and Gubbio all within an hour's drive. If you prefer your lakes on a larger scale, Lago Trasimeno is about half an hour away. It's good for a spot of wild swimming or a ferry trip to Isola Maggiore, a tiny fishing village with just 35 inhabitants. You're location is ripe for tasting tours of the Sangiovese wine region, too.
If you're in Perugia, Bottega del Vino is a favourite of the locals for its deliciously snackable small plates and winning wine list. To sample modern regional fare with a view, Restaurant del Sole rightly promises a 'terrace over Umbria'. Here, old favourites are inventively spruced and fish and seafood is thrust centre-stage. At €30, its tasting menu is extraordinarily good value, too. Slightly closer to your castle home is the Tuscan town of Cortona, home to Michelin-starred finery at Ristorante Falconiere and its moreish menu of traditional flavours.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this Umbrian escape, unpacked their wine bounty and rested their saddle-sore muscles, a full account of their rural retreat will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Hotel Castello di Reschio...
Some hotels floor you straight away; few manage to do so when they are still, essentialy, a building site. But so it was with Hotel Castello di Reschio which, to be fair, had the considerable advantage of having a thousand-year-old Etruscan castle as its starting point. The vast estate already contained a crop of envy-inducing villas but the last piece of the puzzle was to transform this focal-point fortress, put together in painstaking detail by architect-owner, Count Benedikt Bolza, and his wife, Donna Nencia. And they've created something truly special, pulling off that rare act of alchemy in blending high luxury with truly relaxed home-from-home hospitality. Once beyond the ramparts – wherever physically possible, original features have been left just as they are – you arrive in a peaceful grass-lined courtyard before being ferried to your room. Regardless of size, each is furnished in dapper detail with bespoke pieces from the Count's design studio and packed with character. Roam the vast estate and you'll stumble upon an embarrassment of riches (whether you're a casual stroller or a horse obsessive, there are suitable pursuits here); return to your quarters and you'll feel, for however long you're staying, like the king or queen of your very own castle.