We loved the hotel, our room with balcony and the place. Thank you so much for your suggestion and recommendation
Fantastic service and support throughout adding a sense of security to the trip. I received friendly advice and back up from Jay some years back and also from Jessica
Thanks to Marie Mckeown for putting together a stress free and memorable holiday to Iceland
Noah was very helpful and knowledgeable
Very personal service from all the team
I had issues when checking in online to allow our group of four to sit together.
You are all brilliant! I already knew this, but I can confirm it again. Nicole's support as always continues to be fantastic!
Thanks Billy, we had a wonderful time. Hotel was wonderful, great staff, comfortable rooms and great food at their restaurants.
A great holiday if a little tiring
When we did find problems checking in these were quickly renedied by Manny.
Everything went to plan
All went very well: excellent apartment in a lovely city. A great antidote to the English winter…
Amazing experience from start to finish. Ivor and his colleagues are simply exceptional. Keep up the good work.
Scandic Hotel recommended and was great. Flight connection on return was a rush but made it.
We had a BA City break ruined by a bomb - and needed to find a break for the same price within 20 hours. Ian as always came up trumps.
From first phone call to every arrangement requested. Everything happened perfectly with Sean and Oliver guiding the process. Thank you for making it happen and giving me assurance when concerned, you are brilliant!
Have already recommended
Unfortunately our flight was delayed 8 hours at Heathrow termimal 5 because of fog - all very frustrating but no one's fault. It's a risk one takes when flying
Big thanks once again to Jack and his team. Five star service - wouldn't book anywhere else.
Always a great service from Samuel
Always very helpful and fast to respond - Colin Barlow very helpful in particular.
Everything went smoothly and as expected.
As always brilliant!
Howard suggested a wonderful holiday within our means. The accommodation was good with loads of activities and places to go.
Thank you Troy. Would highly recommend
It was a shame that our flight was cancelled by British Airways coming home. But Des sorted it out. We had a lovely time in Copenhagen and we are all looking forward to booking our next trip
All went very well. Jonathan always looks after us
Appreciate the help and confidence you gave me booking this holiday….have used many times in the past
Up to the usual high standard.
Here's a game to play on the plane. You have one last holiday and it's for a month. It won't cost you a thing but you have to go somewhere you've been before. That honeymoon hotel in Sri Lanka might loom large, perhaps the beach resort in Jamaica would be perfect, or the heavenly spot in the Maldives could do the trick.
My wife and I play the game on the way home from Tuscany - and are hard-pressed to think beyond the place we've just left. We stayed at the Castello di Casole hotel, a ravishing hill-top converted castle within striking distance of Siena, San Gimignano and Florence. In other words, culture of the highest order on your doorstep, where going nowhere at all is also a tantalising option.
We're talking Tuscany Classico: lush undulating countryside, a patchwork of greens, ochres and violets broken up by thick hedges and narrow tracks lined with immaculate cypress trees.
Many of the tracks you can see from the castle's terrace - with its fabulous infinity swimming pool and huge terracotta pots laden with olive trees - lead to villas that are part of the hotel's 4,200-acre estate, now owned and run by Belmond.
An American firm acquired it in 2005 and set about a massive restoration.
There are 41 suites (plus a two-storey penthouse) in the main building and dotted about what amounts to a private hamlet, with its own church and crypt built by the Bargagli family in the 19th century. The spa is in the granary, with treatment rooms in the former cellars. At one time, the castle was owned by Italian director Luchino Visconti (Death In Venice). Perhaps he, like us, spent hours staring into the distance - front row seats in the Ritzy Naturale.
It's truly special at night, when the main courtyard becomes a village square, complete with fountain, stone benches and al fresco dining. Children play hide and seek while their parents pile plates with some of the best cooking in the region.
What you forget about Tuscany is that the Etruscans were here long before the Romans. Hence the exquisite hilltop towns that once were fortresses designed to repel outsiders and are now communities keen to welcome visitors armed with euros.
On our second night, we ask the concierge to book us dinner somewhere cheap and cheerful nearby. He chooses Osteria del Borgo in the tiny village of Mensano, which, as it happens, we could see from our room.
Slow-cooked wild boar is the speciality here, but it's the sort of restaurant where you let the waiter (in this case the brother of the chef) decide what you should eat. A triumph.
We visited the dramatic hilltop town of San Gimignano, with its skyline of medieval towers, including the stone Torre Grossa and the 12th century Duomo di San Gimignano with famous frescoes by Ghirlandaio. But be warned, the walled town is one of Tuscany's biggest draws and it can get extremely busy - it's well worth a visit but try to avoid peak times. The priority of those medieval town planners wasn't car parking spaces.
We enjoyed a venture to beautiful Arezzo, where on the first Sunday of the month, the town centre becomes one huge antiques market. We buy a heavy marble font that raises eyebrows as we check in for the flight home at Pisa airport.
We also make the pilgrimage to Siena, where, because it is a few weeks before the annual Palio (the bareback horse race around the plaza), medieval pageantry is brewing nicely, including a hostile-looking marching band that drums its way through the narrow streets carrying heavy flags.
Most of all, we love sleepy Casole d'Elsa, which you can also see from the hotel. It has a butcher and grocer - and manages a perfect balance between visitors and full-time residents.
What strikes us about Tuscany in peak season is how if you avoid the superstar towns, there's space for everyone and, with fierce planning laws governing development, it's remarkably unspoilt.
First published in the Daily Mail - March 2020
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