Rows of sentry-like olive trees shelter child-friendly boutique hotel Locanda Rossa – a striking russet-hued farmhouse and colourful presence in the Tuscan hinterland – with a resident donkey, Penelope, and an eco-friendly ethos. Bambini are warmly welcomed, with a pool and playground to themselves. Older Smiths can relax in the huge, urbane rooms hung with modern artwork, and linger over delicious dinners in the laid-back osteria.
Get this when you book through us:
A spa experience for two (includes Turkish bath, sauna and hydro-massage pool) and a 50 per cent discount on extra beds for little Smiths
10am, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm for rooms and 4pm for villas.
Double rooms from £341.77 (€387), including tax at 10 per cent.
Rates usually include a generous breakfast buffet (breakfast is not included in the rates for villas, but can be added for €18 an adult a day or €10 a child (aged 3-11 a day).
The hotel’s very accommodating: let them know about allergies – or request children’s extras, food or drink – in advance and they’ll do their utmost to tailor your stay. Hotel manager Barbara – a fount of local knowledge – is happy to step in as concierge.
Locanda Rossa will be closed for winter from 3 November, 2019, to early April 2020.
Annually over winter; dates vary.
At the hotel
Spa and Turkish bath, lounge, playground, football pitch, gym, boutique, free WiFi throughout. Electric bikes are available to hire on request. In-rooms: an LCD TV with satellite channels, minibar, kettle with tea and coffee, bathrobes, air-conditioning and Essenzialmente Laura bath products. Junior suites and suites also have a microwave, and suites and apartments each have a kitchen with an oven, microwave, fridge and freezer, toaster, utensils, crockery and cutlery.
Our favourite rooms
The Apartments are bigger than their name might suggest: these svelte modern residences are spread over three floors, sleeping up to six guests each. A full kitchen and laundry room will come in handy whether you’re in a couple or coming with family, and the private garden has a barbecue. Book early: they’re extremely popular. For smaller families, some Superior Rooms and Junior Suites can fit a baby cot.
The hotel has three pools: an outdoor pool for over-14s, heated by solar panels, close to the conservatory, with sunlounger-topped grassy banks and a small pavilion. A short stroll away, down a gravel path, is the open-air, unheated family pool, for under-14s (there are sunloungers to perch on, but little shade and no lifeguards). In the spa, there’s a 32-degree adults-only pool for over-16s.
The hotel’s ‘wellness path’ – a stress-melting journey through a Turkish bath, sauna, hydromassage pool, Argan oil black-soap scrub, and an chromotherapy shower – will compose even the most frazzled parents (the spa is for over-16s only, open 8am–8pm). If the babysitter’s on the clock, abscond to one of two treatment rooms set aside for holistic massages, facials, body scrubs and wraps, or mani-pedis. The small gym has treadmills, cycles and elliptical machines. Guests must pay an €18 entry fee (usually €25), which includes access to all facilities, slippers, a towel, water and tea; or, pay €20 for an additional bar of Argan soap and a loofah.
All the normal summer holiday fare will be useful here: cossies, kaftans and flip-flops, as well as light jumpers for chilly evenings. Bring a good pair of trainers too, for walks in the surrounding hills.
Overall, public areas are wheelchair (and pram) accessible, but a few stony paths in the grounds may prove challenging. There are a few rooms suitable for guests with mobility issues.
Children are warmly welcomed at Locanda Rossa, and there's lots for Italian-inclined little Smiths to get up to including a playground by the family pool.
Locanda caters to children of all ages.
Under-3s stay in cots (free), and single sofa beds (€25 a night for 4–6 year olds, €50 a night for over-6s) can be added to the junior suites and suites. In apartments, single sofa beds (for over-4s) are €35 a night.
A green is set aside for japery in the mini playground and kickabouts on the football pitch, or friendly games of foosball and table-tennis. Children can be let loose in the petite fenced-in playground – home to a slide, swing, trampoline and climbing frame – roam the extensive green grounds and groves, or gently pet Penelope, the resident donkey. Electric bikes, road bikes and mountain bikes can be hired for €10–€35 each (helmets can be hired too) and if you’re not a biker there’s a small selection of books and arts supplies.
A short stroll away, down a gravel path, is the open-air, unheated family pool, for under-14s.
There’s no kids menu, but portions and ingredients can be tweaked to children’s liking. Colouring books and pastels keep little ‘uns entertained between courses, and smiling serving staff can rustle up a high chair and pint-sized cutlery, or heat baby food and milk.
Local babysitters are available for €15 an hour; book more than two days in advance. None on-site. The farmhouse’s sizeable lounges and restaurants are better suited to a WiFi monitor, but a regular monitor can be used in the Apartments.
The hotel can organise birthday parties for little ones, with a cake, snacks and decorations.
Very much so; there’s an apiary in the hotel grounds, and olive and fruit groves all around for use in the kitchen and products sold in the shop. Ingredients not plucked from the hotel grounds are supplied by carefully vetted local farms, fisheries and butchers. The hotel has its own fleet of electric bikes and a bank of solar panels.
Bite into fresh-from-the-barbecue burgers in your private garden, pop another cork on the Osteria’s terrace, or share a romantic meal under the restaurant’s scarlet lights: there are no wrong choices.
Locanda is a relaxed place where guests can usually wear whatever they fancy.
Aperitivi are served in the sunny conservatory leading off from the restaurant. The hotel’s slow-food philosophy errs towards simple but delicious dishes crafted from whatever’s in season in Maremma: charcuterie platters, elegant pasta dishes and farm-reared meats alla griglia with estate vegetables. Accompany with the carefully sourced local wines: a pale, fruity Vermentino or rich red Sangiovese. Lunch and dinner are served in the beamed Osteria; in the morning, a feast of local cheese and ham, house-made ciambellone cake, pastries and breads, fresh fruit and juices, tea and coffee is laid out in the sunny breakfast room. Pick up souvenirs or ingredients for light dinners in the store where the house olive oil, honey, jams, preserves, sauces and dressings are sold.
Local wines are on display in the restaurant and bar; the list is a comprehensive sweep of the region and beyond (picks include a Montedonico Viognier, a robust Montauto and Morellino de Scansano, and bottles from famed vineyard Rocca di Frassinello). The open-air conservatory overlooks the adults’ pool, but guests are equally welcome in the lounges, and there’s no need to procure a babysitter – in homey Italian style, children are welcome at any time for a glass of fresh juice, milk or soft drink.
Breakfast is served 8.00am–10.30am, lunch 12.30pm–2.30pm, and dinner 7.30pm–10pm. Cheese and meat platters can be ordered throughout the day.
Anything from the restaurant menu can be delivered to your door while the kitchen’s open; there’s a 15 per cent tray charge.
The hotel’s deep in Maremma’s countryside with little around except acres of precisely arranged olive trees. Piccolo hilltop comune Capalbio is a five-minute drive away, and the coast’s peaceful beaches are 15 minutes’ drive away.
Fly into international hub Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino in Rome, an hour’s drive from the hotel; British Airways, Vueling, Alitalia and EasyJet all fly direct from London and major European cities; transatlantic flights usually stop in London, and flights across the Pacific connect via the Middle East. Alternatively, fly in to Ciampino (Ryanair flies direct from the UK), a 90-minute drive away. The hotel can arrange one-way transfers by private car for €170 from Fiumicino and €190 from Ciampino.
Trains run directly from Rome Termini, Pisa Centrale and Grosseto to Capalbio station, which is 15 minutes from the hotel by car. Tickets can be bought from Trenitalia (http://www.trenitalia.com) for around €6 from Grosseto, €9 from Rome and €17 from Pisa.
A hire car is essential for ferrying your family through Tuscany’s glorious greenery. From Rome, follow the A91 and E80 roads before turning off on to Strada Pescia Fiorentina Chiarone to reach the resort on Strada Capalbio Pescia Fiorentina. There’s an Avis car-hire booth at Fiumicino and free parking at the hotel; GPS might be the easiest way to pinpoint the hotel amid the groves (latitude 42.2646, longitude 11.2728).
Worth getting out of bed for
The living is easy in this Tuscan retreat; sip wine on the shaded terrace or lounge on the lawn. Separate pools for adults and children ensure both peace and playfulness, and the super spa is ideal for ensuring R’n’R and quality time in equal measure; there are also tennis padel courts. The hotel can arrange guided walks with varying levels of difficulty throughout the region, including the Lake of Burano, the villas of Etruscan city Vulci and the 16th-century fortress at Porte Ercole. Enchanting hilltop village Capalbio is a five-minute drive away, unspoilt beaches are half an hour from the hotel, and the province is dotted with olive mills and wineries. Neighbouring Chiantishire may be crowded with celeb vineyards, but Maremma is unsung as a Tuscan holiday hotspot.
Mediaeval hilltop village Capalbio is a charming cluster of red-roofed stone houses and turrets, a five-minute drive from Locanda Rossa. Peek into the Church of St Nicholas’ Oratory of Providence to see its well-preserved Renaissance frescoes. Dine at a garden-set table at Il Frantoio, a multi-purpose venue with a bookshop, gallery, and small library. Alternatively, low-key Trattoria Toscana (+39 5 64 89 60 28) on Via IV Novembre, which has simple fare made from high-quality local produce. A short drive away lies Ultima Spiaggia, a laid-back lunching spot on a stretch of volcanic sand. Its lavish seafood buffet is great value for money, but day-bed hire is pricy (around €50 an hour for two), so nearby beaches are better for prolonged lounging.
There are plentiful local vineyards to nab an evening bottle; the reds at Erik Banti in Scansano are renowned; generous tastings at Brancaia in Grosseto (€15 a person) include a sample of their wine, grappa and olive oil; and Rocca di Frassinello (+39 56 68 84 00) in Gavarrano, designed by Renzo Piano, has a dramatic amphitheatre-style barrel vault. Head coastwards for an apericena (a buffet of light snacks with a drink), and gigantic oysters and langoustines in the convivial surrounds of Ristorante Vivo.
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 their countryside break in this Italian farmhouse and unpacked their bottles of red wine and tins of grown-on-site olive oil, a full account of their laid-back, gourmet break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Locanda Rossa…
Locanda Rossa excels at first impressions: sweeping Tuscan greenery, infinitely regressing olive groves, glinting pools – one can’t fail to fall for its rural charms. However, beyond its rustic good looks, the rose-tinted agriturismo has many hidden talents to enhance your family holiday. Children can run wild and free within the safe, idyllic surrounds; and set aside from the main villa is a play area and pool just for them. Hotel-led guided tours through ruined castles and nature reserves introduce little ones to Tuscany in vivid fashion, and adults can experience the best of the region’s western frontier within the estate: home-grown cuisine, an intriguing list of local wines, a spot of culture in rooms hung with works by modern Italian artists, and a spa with highly effective de-stressing rituals. The Italian’s laid-back attitude to little ones is never more apparent than in the Maremma region; on day-trips children will be regarded affectionately and fussed over, and harmonious family meals, freedom from babysitter-requiring nights in the bar and oodles of quality time await back at your bucolic base.
Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel or villa, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Locanda Rossa’s Guestbook below.
The grounds are beautiful, with nice gardens and olive trees all over.
The hotel is not really in an ideal location in regards to Tuscany. There's not much around the hotel - the nearest town is small and sleepy, even though it's by the coast the beach is not that great, and the great wineries are further up north. Even with the hotel described as a relaxing retreat, it's honestly, for want of a better word, boring.
Stayed on 26 Sep 2019
The location, the ambience, the pool, the food and the service.
Night life or entertainment.
Stayed on 22 Sep 2019
Everything. The delicious food and wine, the friendly staff and our beautiful room (Alcova Suite). There is plenty to do within a 15-minute drive if you feel inclined to leave this Tuscan oasis. Our 7 month old baby was made very welcome.
To visit the local area without a car, or a daily changing menu at the restaurant. Saying that, we ate there every night and thoroughly enjoyed each meal.
Stayed on 7 Sep 2019
The pool, the hotel interiors and the surrounding landscape.
Stayed on 10 Jun 2019
We are in love with this spot and would like to forcibly drag everyone here on our next vacation. Words cannot describe the little oasis they have created in the midst of vineyards and farmland. And not only are children welcome, it's practically baby/toddler heaven. Comfortable rooms, beautiful landscape, vast grounds and phenomenal food add an air of luxury to the rugged comfort of locanda rossa. The staff is incredibly attentive and made us feel like no request was any trouble. Whoever planned this compound paid close attention to every last detail, including a variety of handicap-friendly facilities that make this an option for all.
Stayed on 23 Sep 2018
My wife and I stayed here for five days in the middle of our honeymoon and we couldn't be happier with the hospitality of the staff at Locanda Rossa. They were very helpful in making our stay the best it possibly could be. My wife and I will definitely be back to stay at this resort. Thank you very much for everything. Go to Capalbio and explore. Go to La Dogana beach club and enjoy the sunshine, get a tour of Monteverro Winery (10 minutes away). so much to do and see around there.