We booked this small hotel ( I think there are 9 rooms/suites in the main building and possibly some apartments nearby) last year on the strength of its excellent TA reviews. We had planned to stay for 3 nights on a half board basis towards the end of a 2 week holiday in Liguria and Tuscany.
The hotel is situated in a quaint tiny hilltop village, not far from Montepulciano and Pienza - there is only one street which winds it way up the hill to the hotel , a church, a small shop and a small bar and strangely, a terracotta museum. We were greeted on our arrival in mid/late afternoon by Ousmane, the hotel manager. Unfortunately he had lost our booking and whilst he was expecting us at the end of July/August, he didn't know when. On sight of our hard copy e-mail confirmation which he had inadvertently deleted, he showed us to our room - the Leonardo suite. This was very spacious with a separate sitting room and a small toilet/washroom as well as an en-suite bathroom with a jacuzzi. Unfortunately, the room was dusty as clearly it hadn't been cleaned for some time - pity, as it was tastefully furnished and decorated.
The outside terrace with umbrellas, dining tables and furniture, also had a look of a lack of use and maintenance. The views from the terrace and some of the hotel rooms over the Tuscan countryside are lovely.
Ousmane explained that it had been a 'disastrous' Summer in terms of bookings and he had no other guests when we arrived. He brought a welcome drink of Prosecco, informed us about the wifi codes (different passwords for certain areas of the hotel but the Wifi did have a good strength) and explored what our plans were our stay etc. He explained that he was the only person at the hotel and would also be cooking our dinner that evening.
We enjoyed a very nice meal - mushroom crepes, pumpkin soup, rabbit and panacotta - in the dining room - cooked and served by Ousmane - with a nice bottle of Rosso di Montipulciano. Sadly there was little atmosphere as there were only two of us, although two further guests (on honeymoon) arrived quite late that evening.
We didn't sleep very well as we couldn't regulate the air conditioning and the pillows were too soft. Ousmane sorted both of these issues when we told him in the morning.
I went down for breakfast and overheard what was clearly quite a serious argument in the kitchen between Ousmane and an assistant. Breakfast was very nice with a good choice of cereals, fresh fruit, juice, pastries, meat, cheese, bread and cake and fresh coffee.
Before we left the hotel that morning, Ousmane explained that he had no cook for the evening (or the following night) and that he would make a reservation for us nearby (in Montisi, about 4km away) and reduce our bill accordingly (by 80 euros). This was disappointing for us as the key reason for choosing this hotel was being able to relax in the evening, enjoy a good dinner with wine and not have to drive, having been driving during the day visiting some of the hill towns nearby etc. Ousmane had arranged a wine tasting on our request at a Tuscan farm about 15km away and kindly took his own car and allowed us to follow him so we didn't get lost in the countryside.
We enjoyed our wine tasting and also visited Montepulciano, which is beautiful, and enjoyed a good dinner in Montisi, but decided to cut short our stay and move on to Florence, one night earlier than planned. More guests arrived on our second day but unfortunately they were staying in the room above us, woke early to go cycling (c. 6am) and walked about in their cycling shoes on the tiled floor above us for quite some time!
My overall feeling is that this place is getting a little tired - apparently the property was acquired, refurbished and opened about 8/9 years ago. In my opinion, the hotel now needs a 'sparkle' and if it is to survive, then it needs to provide an excellent dining experience as well as high quality accommodation. The room rates are not cheap and for the price we paid, given its remote location, it was certainly not good value for money.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Palazzo Brandano's beautiful suites, spacious rooms and charming apartments are all luxuriously and comfortably furnished with handcrafted frescos by famous Italian Renaissance artists. Each air-conditioned accommodation boasts a flat screen satellite television, DVD player, HIFI stereo equipment, mini bar, safety deposit box and internet access. Bathrooms are equipped with either luxury massage showers or Jacuzzi bath tubs. Il Brandano restaurant with its stunning terrace serves modern Tuscan cuisine and an extensive selection of wines. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Palazzo Brandano Petroio
- Palazzo Brandano Hotel Petroio