Set in splendid isolation in the heart of the Maremma countryside, L'Andana is a historic Tuscan villa with a spa and hammam, black-slate hot bath and indoor pool. Massage and beauty treatments are available. The outdoor pool and Jacuzzi overlooking the gardens and there is also a tennis court, a small golf course and mountain bikes. Cookery classes are given by the hotel's chef.
Double rooms from £239.70 (€272), including tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €2.00 per person per night on check-out.
Rates include breakfast.
Hop on one of the hotel’s mountain bikes and ride down the estate’s eponymous vineyard-side avenue, or pedal your way up and around the olive-tree lined hillside. After your exertions, arrange a tour of the 500-hectare estate’s wine production set-up and guided wine tasting of the fermented fruits of its labour.
At the hotel
Spa with hammam, mineral-rich heated pool and indoor pool, fitness centre, outdoor pool and Jacuzzi, tennis court, five-a-side football pitch, golf course, and mountain bikes to borrow. In rooms: gourmet minibar with treats from Enrico Bartolini.
Our favourite rooms
We love the panoramic views, including swooping swallows, from our spacious Junior Suite. The gargantuan cloud-like bed and rainfall shower were icing on the cake. For a swim-in-able in-room bath, book a Prestige Suite in the newest wing.
In the western garden, there’s a sunlounger-lined outdoor pool for families; in the spa you'll find a heated outdoor pool (adults only) that's big enough for laps; the final small pool is just outside the kids' club.
The Espa spa has two thermal spas, a mineral-rich heated Vitality Pool to coax weary muscles into relaxation, four treatment rooms, a Turkish bath and a thalassotherapy pool. Choose from a range of classic treatments, including body wraps and scrubs, massages, facials, and day-long holistic spa programmes.
Bring wide-brimmed sun hats and books for poolside lounging, and your clubs if you fancy a game of golf. When packing footwear, Mrs Smith should note that the path between the main building and the restaurant is less forgiving in heels, particularly if the estate’s wine is sampled with dinner.
Learn the art of Tuscan cooking. There is a shop selling luxury local products, from fine wool jumpers to the estate’s olive oil and wine.
Welcome. Baby cots can be added to all rooms, extra beds from the Deluxe with Mezzanine upwards, and 3–10 year olds can play in sister property Casa Badiola's kids club (€30 a day, from 9.30am–6.30pm with a break for lunch), snacks included.
3–10 year olds.
The Deluxe with Mezzanine category and up can fit an extra bed (€50 a day, for 3–6 year olds; €70 a day for over-6s). Prestige Suites have a sprawling 80sq m of space, fit two extra beds and have double bathrooms, so they're ideal for family stays.
There are acres of greenery to roam, and little Smiths can attend sister property Casa Badiola's kids club (3–10 year olds, €30 a day) has a pinball machine, ping-pong table and a shallow pool. The colourful club runs from 9.30am–12.30pm and 2pm–6.30pm), including snacks, and staff organise team games, arts and crafts and vegetable-and-flower-planting sessions in the garden.
There's a small shallow pool in the kids club, and a larger main pool at L'Andana; however, the latter is unsupervised, so parents will have to keep an eye on their water babies.
La Villa's elegant Italian fare can be simplified for little Smiths, and dishes from the grown-ups' menu can be tweaked on request. The chef will be happy to heat up baby food and milk on request. Highchairs, children's cutlery, beakers and weaning spoons are available.
A sitter can be booked for €35 an hour, for each child. Booking in advance is strongly recommended.
No need to pack
Baby monitors are available on request, for an additional charge. Changing mats, potties, toilet steps and buggies are available too.
Sit in the orange-tree ringed garden for breakfast at La Villa; for romantic dinners with vineyard views, go for a secluded window-side table.
Casual and breezy works best for breakfast and lunch, but fancy up a bit for dinner: a jacket for Mr Smith and a Sophia Loren-inspired dress for Mrs Smith wouldn’t go amiss.
The hotel's La Trattoria is set in the old granary and helmed by Tuscan-born chef Enrico Bartolini and is open to non-guests. Modern Mediterranean dishes are whipped up using fresh, local produce, including aromatic herbs, vegetables, wine and olive oil from the gardens and cellar of Tenuta La Badiola. It’s open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday from June to September; during the summer Monday’s dinner option is a fixed-price (€80 a person) barbecue in the gardens. In casual La Villa, you’ll find excellent breakfasts (freshly baked doughnuts, orange-flower brioches, currant buns and cheesecake, platters of local meats and cheeses) and light lunches such as pea risotto and salad-filled sandwiches. It’s also open for dinners from October to May.
There’s a bar discretely tucked away in the corner of the open-plan lounge area; it’s not always manned, but a friendly member of staff is always in the room, so just ask if you’re feeling parched. There’s a little bar hut by the pool, and you can also order drinks wherever you fancy in the gardens or on the grassed terrace until 11pm. There’s also an area for aperitifs just outside La Trattoria; order a ginger and lime infused Gin Bay or Cosmovita, which arrives in a bed of ice, to sip as the sun sets.
At La Villa, breakfast from 7.30am to 10.30am and lunch from 12.30pm to 2.30pm. La Trattoria is open for dinner from 7.30pm to 10pm, and the bar closes up shop at 11pm.
The nearest airports to L’Andana are Florence and Pisa, both roughly two hours away. Other possibilities include Perugia, Rome and Bologna, all between two and a half and three hours’ drive from the hotel.
The closest train station is Grosseto, 18km from the lodge. For information on train times and prices, see Trenitalia (www.trenitalia.com).
The hotel is in day-trip distance of several picturesque Tuscan towns; Volterra, San Gimignano, Montepulciano, Pisa and Siena are all between an hour and a half and two hours away. The nearest town, Grosseto, is a 25-minute drive, while the Renaissance glory of Florence can be reached in two and a half hours. Meanwhile, Rome is just over two hours away. Main local motorways are the E78 and the E80. There's free parking.
Worth getting out of bed for
The Maremma Nature Park stretches along the coast and is a wonderful area for walks. If you're looking for some energetic pastimes, the beach is only 15 minutes away and the hotel can arrange kitesurfing. For something a little more special, the hotel has a range of expert-led experiences: cycling with professional rider Mario Cipollini, football with world-champion Gianluca Zambrotta, fencing with Olympic-level swordswoman Giovanna Trillini and hip-hop dance lessons with masterful mover Alice Bellagamba. There are three separate wine experiences on the Petra estate, too
Ristorante da Antonietta on Via Colomo in Castiglione della Pescaia (+39 0564 933 661) is a small family-run restaurant with a terrace overlooking the boats in the port and ideal for lunch, 12.30–2pm. Try the fresh squid and the espeguetti alle sarde (sardine spaghetti). Osteria del Mare già Vòtapentole on Via IV Novembre (+39 0564 934 763) is an intimate bistro in the historic centre; it's certainly worth the climb up through the narrow streets for sundowners and tasty local specialities on the panoramic terrace. Pizzeria Da Anna in Strada delle Rocchette (+39 3510 109 854) in the centre of Castiglione della Pescaia, is also a favourite with the locals and serves traditional Tuscan dishes.
The flashiest way to get to the L’Andana hotel in Tuscany is by helicopter. As we drove down the same stretch of road for the third time we considered that this might also be the most practical. As boutique hideaways go, L’Andana is well and truly hidden, but once we swung the car up a long driveway lined with cypresses and pines, and pulled up in front of the only green lawn for miles, we knew this was it.
This hotel in the coastal Tuscan region of Maremma is the former summer residence of Duke Leopold II, and pardon the brochure-style speak, but the Medici-era villa really is set among some noteworthy olive- and vine-studded rolling hills. Clearly the nobleman wanted seclusion and privacy and had chosen this spot wisely; the chirping of the cicadas and the occasional hoot of a wood pigeon were the only interruptions to the peace.
After such a spectacular landscape, we found the hotel’s neutral tones and understated luxury to be the perfect blank canvas to continue our ease into relaxation mode. L’Andana itself was equally hushed and here the greatest distraction in the bright, conservatory-like reception was from butterflies that floated in from the lavender beds.
Our bedroom was in a new wing that blends seamlessly into the ancient lodge. Although I think we may have had the smallest of this boutique hotel’s 33 rooms it was still more than sufficient, with a cosy fireplace, sunset-hued fabrics and all the mod cons you’d expect in somewhere so exclusive. Still, no flatscreen TV could complete with the Tuscany view over the swimming pool and across the countryside, which as you can imagine was a picture-perfect scene that had this photographer swooning, especially when teamed with the captivating scent of pine and lavender from the garden.
We were convinced by now that if we were any more soothed we’d flatline. Then we discovered the bathroom. Almost as large as the bedroom, with a tub of swimming-pool dimensions, it was like overdosing on a jug of liquid yoga. I’m 6’4 and even when I laid diagonally in the ‘bath’ neither my head nor feet touched the sides – fabulously decadent. Unusually for a boutique hotel, L’Andana has a five-a-side football pitch, and to be honest you could probably fit both teams in there together. Thankfully just the two of us in that tub was perfect – well, you’d feel lonely in a bath like that on your own.
There was plenty to tempt us out of the comfort of our hotel room, but the gym, tennis court and golf course seemed a bit too demanding in the midday sun of Maremma. We opted for the main pool for some intensive lying around and strenuous soaking up of some rays. A word to the wise: in high seasons, the ratio of guest to sunlounger means some blatant bagsying can be required. Some of our fellow guests with children smartly left a nanny in the sun as a reservation marker.
Now those of you who like your romantic escapades sans ankle biters, will be relieved to hear that even the kids are affected by the tranquility of L’Andana; it’s fair to say we never heard a squeak. And when the pool was empty there was only the murmur of trickling water from classical Roman gargoyles; the only activity was swallows swooping for a drink.
The majority of people staying at this Tuscany hotel don’t venture far during the day, but as the sun dropped lower and took the edge off the heat, we decided to explore. L’Andana has mountain bikes that you can borrow. Despite it being Mrs Smith’s idea to go for a cycle, her eulogising about the joys of bike-riding quickly turned into a red-faced struggled of coughing and puffing. ‘I can’t go on,’ she declared; still, we’d made it a third of the way up a small mountain (at least it felt like that).
Fortunately it was a lot easier whizzing downhill through the olive groves, the cool breeze in our faces, squealing with delight. I glanced over my shoulder to see if my lover was keeping up and caught a glimpse of her as she careered off the road in a cloud of dust. I cycled back to find her among the foliage, slightly bruised but smiling, announcing that she wanted to go back uphill and try it again. We thought better of it when a friendly tortoise ambled across our path showing us the pace at which things around here should be done.
We decided to take it easy that evening with aperitifs in the garden next to the Jacuzzi followed by the main performance: a lazy supper in the hotel’s excellent trattoria. Here, world-famous Alain Ducasse is responsible for the delicious Tuscan food such as taccole noodles with a sauce of red spring onion and baby cuttlefish, delicious prosciutto and plates of poached salt cod. There's a slight French influence in the cuisine, as you would expect in a Ducasse restaurant, but essentially the dishes are traditional local delicacies made from the freshest seasonal ingredients.
By now fully indoctrinated in this sloth-like existence, we enjoyed a leisurely start to the day following a restful sleep aided by the soft, luxurious linens and the oh-so-comfy beds, as well as blackout shutters (closed every night when the maid turns down the room). It’s rare for anyone to appear for their morning cappuccino before 10h30 – this being a hotel that encourages even the most dedicated of sunlounger hoggers to enjoy a peaceful lie-in.
Eager for fresh air before returning to the big smoke, we reluctantly forsook L’Andana’s luxury spa and drove along the road between Marina di Grossetto and Catiglione della Pescaia, to the sea. In Maremma, you get the best of Tuscany and the Mediterranean: white sand, warm blue water, but scarcely a soul in sight. Heaven. We agreed that even the most highly-strung couldn’t fail to find their ‘peaceful centre’ during a trip to L’Andana. The only problem with a retreat as peaceful as this? It’s a struggle to convert from tortoise speed back to hare pace when you return to the day job. The legacy of all-day laid-back serenity is a hard habit to break.