The world's most exclusive travel bible heads to the hills of Tuscany to check out the luxurious new Castello di Casole hotel.
Welcome to the 1% Travel Guide, your bible of the most tricked-out, exclusive destinations that money can buy.
Since the news of your inheritance and trial run of the good life at the Rancho Las Palmas in Palm Springs a few months ago somehow found its way to your wife’s twenty-third second cousin twice-and-a-half removed and countless other gold-digging relatives and unregistered charities have come calling, you’ve decided to take a break from your wife and explore your options as a new man with a freshly minted outlook on life.
To literally escape it all, you’ve decided that your best option for the moment is either an unknown island, surrounded by hungry felines, or a country your relatives despise. Considering your Spanish roots and a certain EURO 2012 defeat last weekend, you decide a long vacation in Italy is in your best interests.
Your travel agent suggests a brand-new luxury hotel perched in Tuscany, where vineyards roll on for miles and luxury amenities await your every want. Located just over two hours from Rome, and a quick jaunt from Siena and Florence, you hastily sign the check and board first class for Italy. Next stop, the incomparable Castello di Casole — the next phase of your life.
Stepping out of your rented F12 Berlinetta Ferrari at the historic 4,200-acre estate, you experience the golden sun’s late-afternoon rays as they hit the glistening ruby bunches hanging from the never-ending rows of vines that form the backbone of this part of the world. As the concierge explains upon your entrance to the hotel, the Castello and the 30-odd farms that encompass the estate were once property of the noble family of Bargagli and have passed to the current owners via such notables as renowned filmmaker Luchino Visconti, who once called the Castello home.
As part of the current restoration, the hotel, which opened mere days ago on July 1st, joined the 28 restored farmhouses (the Casali), now immaculate mini-estates. From your first tour around the glamorous acres, it’s apparent that the architects and artisans responsible for the project have used traditional methods, showcasing the authentic exposed wood beams and stone construction, while seamlessly integrating such amenities as glass showers, the farmhouses’ infinity pools and Essere, the 5,400 square-foot spa and wellness center. After settling in to the 10th century castle, you freshen up and head to the Bar Visconti for a taste of the private-label vintage produced on the estate, where you catch the eye of a beautiful long-legged creature sipping a cocktail across the room. With nothing to lose, you wander over and strike up a conversation, which leads to sharing a wood-fired pizza at the hotel’s Pazzia Pizzeria, which quickly turns into an extended drink on the private terrace of your €2000-4500 a night Bargagli Penthouse Suite.
The rest of your weeklong stay at the Castello passes by faster than funds disappear from your wife’s newly enlarged bank account. Alongside your Italian beauty, a Milanese model no less, you partake in the joys of Tuscany, be it local culinary classes with olive oil and wine tastings, learning the language (your new “tutor” is especially good with this), or exploring the private game reserve on the property. As the week slips away, you ponder whether you’d like to stay permanently, as the Casali are being sold for the reasonable price of only €3.7-7.25 million each. Another glance across the vineyards convinces you this feels right, but you still have much more of the world to see before you can return. Hand-in-hand with the model, you trudge down the road toward your Ferrari. Where to next? No one knows; just another destination from the 1% Travel Guide.
Experience it for yourself: get four nights starting at just €2520 until August 15th. Check it out at www.castellodicasole.com