Luxury Travels in Italy: Part 2 Tuscany

Sunset in Tuscany
Sunset in Tuscany

We left Florence at 11:00 AM for our first stop at Castello della Paneretta for a tour, wine tasting and delicious lunch. A lovely place to learn about wine and view sixteenth century frescoes from the Florentine painter Bernardino Poccetti. The food was simple, fresh, and delicious. The hosts were gracious. A wonderful stop on your journey through Tuscany.

Our next stop was a quick stroll in San Giminiano, before heading to our hotel for the evening, The Grand Hotel Continental in Siena.

San Giminiano
San Giminiano

The Grand Hotel Continental is the nicest hotel located within the old walls of the city of Siena. It is a Virtuoso property, and includes the associated complimentary amenities. However, be cautious about your room category as some rooms are in desperate need of a refreshing.

Exclusively for Virtuoso guests:

For 2016

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Daily Buffet breakfast, for up to two in room guests
  • A complimentary lunch or dinner for up to two people per room once during stay, excluding alcohol, taxes and gratuities
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability

Our guided walking to of Siena was one of the highlights of our trip. This is a must-visit city when you are in Tuscany. It is truly like nowhere else on Earth. The historic city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

At the end of our walking tour we had a truly epic lunch of bruschetta, salad, and fresh pasta, finished with a double espessro and warm from the oven biscotti.

Our next destination was my most anticipated hotel stay of the trip, the Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco. It did not disappoint!

What can I say? I absolutely adored my stay at the Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco. The hard product with rooms and furnishings designed by Ferragamo are beyond stunning. I love that everything you see embodies not only great design, but also great function. It feels luxurious, but not fussy or pretentious. You will want for nothing.

Outdoor heated pools, a vineyard and golf course of property, stunning vistas, hiking trails, chef’s garden, and a lovely gift shop. The wine tasting and cooking class are not to be missed!

My clients also receive the following complimentary Virtuoso amenities:

Exclusively for Virtuoso guests:

For 2016

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Tuscan or American breakfast daily, already included in rates
  • $100 USD Equivalent Resort or Hotel credit, to be utilized during stay (not combinable, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
  • For guests staying in Villa, 1 ready-to-eat dinner delivered in Villa on the arrival day
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability

The remainder of our time in Tuscany was spent visiting the Tuscan jewels of Montalcino, Pienza, Montepuciano, and Orvieto.

There is so much to see and do in the area, including doing nothing at all and just soaking up the beautiful views or relaxing by the pool.

Ready to start making your Italian dream vacation a reality? Contact me via email or at 508-485-3061.

See also, Part 1 in the series which is my experience in Florence and Part 3 which highlights the best in luxury in Rome.


Five Hot Beach Hotels for 2015

These are my picks for the top five hot new beach hotels for 2015.

1. Condado Vanderbilt

Marabar-Condado Vanderbilt

What is not to love about a former grand dame of a hotel that has been lovingly and completely restored? Oh, and it’s super easy to get to from the Northeast. Did I mention no passport required? Perfect for long weekend getaways or week long vacations. A great location in San Juan for exploring or doing nothing at all.

2. Rosewood at Baha Mar


You know I love Rosewood. I also love that we have another new easy to get to property in the Caribbean that offers true luxury. Plus, a casino, duty free shopping, golf, and the creme de la creme room category – Beachfront Villas.

3. Four Seasons Manele Bay

Four Seasons Manele Bay

It is technically not a new hotel, but with the complete transformation of the room product, I feel it qualifies. Gorgeous new rooms. Nobu. A private complimentary airport lounge just for hotel guests. The best from the beach snorkeling out of all of the Hawaiian Four Seasons resorts. It’s Hawaii taken to a whole new level.

4. Mukul


Bored with the Mexico and Costa Rica? Looking for something exotic, yet close to home? Mukul is still new enough to qualify for the hot factor for 2015. Located on a gorgeous stretch of beach in Nicaragua this is the perfect place to find your inner surfer. Or perhaps you would rather soak away the afternoon in your private plunge pool on the patio of your Bohio. Whatever you choose, it is easy to slow down and soak up life on the Emerald Coast.

5. Ritz-Carlton Cancun

Rotz-Carlton Cancun Family Pool

Emerging refreshed from a multi-million dollar renovation, indulge in modern luxury on the hotel strip. A fun cooking school, an excellent spa, and all rooms with at least an ocean view make this hotel easy to love. Not to mention the breakfast buffet is one of the best in Mexico. Fifteen minutes from the airport and you are ready to hit the beach.

Of course, VIP treatments and extra amenities come standard at all of these hotels when you book through me. Give me a call at 508-485-3061 or send me an email. I look forward to seeing which one you choose!


Trip Report: Rosewood Little Dix Bay

Rosewood Little Dix Bay

For our annual pre-winter beach vacation, and my husband’s birthday, we decided to spend a week at Rosewood Little Dix Bay. Located in the British Virgin Islands on Virgin Gorda, Little Dix Bay truly is a timeless Caribbean retreat. Originally a Rockefeller Resort opened in 1964, it is located on a gorgeous half mile crescent shaped bay. Many guests have been coming every year for decades.

Little Dix Bay Beach

The rooms have been recently renovated and run the span from the traditional Tree House Suites to the modern Junior Suites, all with the amenities that you would expect at a luxury resort (except televisions in the rooms). The fitness and relaxation areas of the resort are exceptional. The fitness center is one of the best I have seen in the Caribbean, and it’s centrally located next to the tennis courts. The Sense Spa is gorgeous, and worth the trip up the hill, even if only to enjoy the view.

View from spa pool

The beach has plenty of lounge chairs and shade. It’s perfect for little ones because there really are not any waves. It is also great for anyone who wants to snorkel directly from the beach, or perhaps float away the afternoon on one of the many complimentary rafts. Since the bay is so large there is plenty of room for sailing and paddle-boarding, both of which are included in the room rate. Or if you are feeling more adventurous, sign up for one of the many beach drops and find your own little slice of paradise.

Beach drop

The complimentary Virtuoso amenities are as follows:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Daily buffet breakfast for up to two in room guests
  • A $100 USD spa service credit to be utilized during stay (not combinable, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full, excluding products)
  • Early check-in / late check-out, subject to availability

Don’t miss my complete photo tour!


Considering a stay at Rosewood Little dix Bay? Get in touch at 508-485-3061 or via email and I will help you plan the perfect vacation.