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Castello Banfi - Il Borgo 4.5

Montalcino, Province of Siena, Tuscany

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Charming location by a high-quality wine producer
  • Free wines in the rooms, and a wine shop with sommelier tasting
  • Just 14 charming rooms, with historical touches such as wood beams and terra-cotta tiles
  • Chic pool with a view of the vineyards
  • Two restaurants with different menus for lunch and dinner
  • Glass museum
  • Free Wi-Fi

Cons

  • Not all rooms have impressive views
  • Small fitness center
  • No spa
  • Far from big town centers
  • No visits allowed inside the castle

Bottom Line

Castello Banfi Il Borgo is an 18th-century farmers village that was born around the medieval Banfi Castle. The village (in Italian “Il Borgo”) has been restored and transformed into a luxury resort, and is part of a 7,100-acre property where high-quality red wines are produced. The hotel's 14 rooms and suites reflect this heritage, and each is named after one of the bottles produced by Banfi. Expect plenty of charming historical character throughout the property; picturesque stone buildings have wood beams, bricked archways, and terra-cotta tiles inside. The chic pool has stunning views of the vineyards, and there are also two restaurants, a wine shop, and a glass museum. Those looking to explore the region should note that destinations such as Siena and Montepulciano are nearly an hour away by car.

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Scene

A historic village turned scenic luxury resort, with rich wine heritage

Castello Banfi - Il Borgo was once a farmers village, and the historic stone buildings located next to the medieval Banfi castle have been transformed into a modern luxury resort. The property is a 20-minute drive from Montalcino, home to internationally well-known red wines, and is very much a part of that heritage: There are vineyards in the valley surrounding this complex, and red wines such as Brunello and other Super Tuscans are produced here. The property takes full advantage of this fact, offering free wines in the guest rooms and sommelier tastings in the wine shop. The property attracts visitors who aren't guests, especially wine enthusiasts that come to visit the wine shop, the cellars, and the glass museum (though the castle itself can't be visited). The hotel's guests have private access and their own areas, such as the gardens, the pool, an internal yard, the library, a private parking. Because the rooms are housed in a cluster of stone buildings, many have direct access to the village's courtyards or streets. 

Those looking for historic charm will certainly find it here -- expect stone and brick pathways, cyprus trees, terra-cotta flower pots, ivy crawling over stone walls, a charming rose garden, and stunning views of the vineyards and countryside below. Inside, the buildings are packed with cozy details, from vaulted wood-beam ceilings to antique furniture to bricked archways. 

Location

In the homeland of Tuscan red wines

The hilltop hotel is surrounded by picturesque countryside, and is a 20-minute drive from Montalcino, the closest center. The views from the property are of vineyards, olive groves, and rolling hills. The entire area is globally renowned for its top-quality red wines, and wine enthusiasts from all over the world come here to taste and buy. Banfi is considered one of the main Tuscan wine producers in the area. The Banfi winery, a five-minute drive away, offers tours. Those looking to explore the region should expect to do some driving, as destinations such as Siena and Montepulciano are both nearly an hour away.

Rooms

Big, luxurious rooms with charming, rustic details such as wood-beam ceilings and terra-cotta tile floors 

The historic buildings of Il Borgo are made of stones and bricks. Suites have rustic-chic appeal, with Tuscan terra-cotta tiles, wooden beams, and classic furniture. They were curated by Federico Forquet, a famous Italian interior designer. Bed linens have the hotel's logo embroidered, and bed drapery behind the headboards sports attractive country-style patterns. Flat-screen TVs are available; in the Classic Suite, we saw one hidden behind faux bookshelves. The larger suites have writing desks as well as sofas and armchairs. Bathrooms, which incorporate marble, ceramics terra-cotta, and wood, are large, with big rainfall showers and, often, separate whirlpool tubs. Only some rooms have views of the countryside; others face the village or have ancient gratings. All rooms are very spacious -- the smallest, the Double Room Classic, is 430 square feet.

Wine is the focus of the entire hotel, and this extends to the rooms. Guests will find three free small bottles waiting for them, which may include a red (a Brunello di Montalcino), one of two sparkling wines, a white, and a rosé (a Banfi Brut or a Rosa Regale). Other free extras include cakes and chocolate products. Even bathroom products -- shampoos, conditioners, bath gels, and body lotions -- are made with Sangiovese grapes. One of the rooms, the Poggio All’Oro Suite -- named after the wine produced by Banfi only in the best vintages -- has a refrigerated safe with bottles of this rare wine (not free).

Features

A chic pool and massage services -- but no spa

The highlight of the hotel is the chic pool, which has jaw-dropping views of the vineyards below. A few lounge chairs line the edge, and more are located on a grassy strip right above the pool. The hotel can arrange scenic balloon rides or massages, but the hotel has no full spa.

Food

A Tuscan menu at lunch, and gourmet dinners

Together with wine, food plays an important role at Castello Banfi. The lunch of typical Tuscan dishes is served at La Taverna restaurant, an elegant room with brick arches and a rustic counter with wines. Dinner has a gourmet menu with top wines, served in another, more formal, hall with rustic grape decorations on the walls and the option of a candlelit dinner outside, just in front of the castle walls. Next to the restaurants, there is the big wine shop and the Balsameria, a cellar where balsamic vinegar is produced. A visit to the wine cellars (a five-minutes drive from the hotel) is possible as well. Cooking classes with special hotel packages are available.

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Address

Poggio Alle Mura, Sant'Angelo Scalo, Montalcino 53024, Italy

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