GETAWAYS TUSCAN SPLENDOUR HOTEL LE FONTANELLE HAVE YOU EVER BEEN SOMEWHERE YOU’VE SEEN IN PHOTOS, ONLY TO GO THERE AND FIND THAT THE REAL-LIFE EXPERIENCE ISN’T WHAT YOU IMAGINED IT WOULD BE? I THINK WE’VE ALL HAD ONE OR TWO OF THOSE TRIPS; GOOD OL’ HOLIDAY DISAPPOINTMENT. ON THE OTHER HAND, HAVE YOU EVER ARRIVED AT A GETAWAY DESTINATION TO FIND THAT NOTHING – NOT A PHOTO, VIDEO OR EVEN A VIRTUAL REALITY HEADSET – COULD HAVE PREPARED YOU FOR THE IN-PERSON MAGNIFICENCE? IT DOESN’T HAPPEN OFTEN, SO I CONSIDER MYSELF LUCKY TO HAVE EXPERIENCED THE TRUE MEANING OF SPLENDOUR AT MY RECENT VISIT TO HOTEL LE FONTANELLE IN TUSCANY. by Donna Martin Tuscany has always been towards the top of my travel list, but the opportunity had never presented itself; for whatever reason, city breaks always seemed to take priority. Now that I’ve finally crossed Tuscany off my list, I wonder why I didn’t make it happen sooner. I flew into Pisa, which is a decent trek from Hotel Le Fontanelle (a 2.5-hour drive) – firstly because I wanted to keep Florence (the closest airport) and all its bustling glory for another trip, but also because it gave me an excuse to check out the Leaning Tower on my last day. But that’s another story… 142 the grounds of the hotel (honestly, there’s probably no better place to be). After driving through the double-gated entry and continuing up the steep incline to the hotel, the other-worldly feeling really sets in. You’re quite literally on top of the world (well, the world that you can visually see), and there are no words to describe the views. Spectacular, magnificent, breathtaking – they don’t do it justice. The drive from Pisa is part of the adventure, and in my humble opinion, a must-do. Rent a car on site and take off at your own pace. Enjoy the winding country roads. Stop to be proper tourists, giant camera in tow, and take pictures of the breathtaking views. Park up and eat at one of the many bistros along the way. Relax and breathe in the fresh Italian air. When resorts have a natural amenity such as an awe-inspiring view, many times other details are left, shall we say, unchecked. For example, when a hotel has a to-die-for location, quite often you’ll find the bathrooms are slightly out of date, or the leaves haven’t been tidied up in the grounds – I mean, why worry when you have that location to impress? At Hotel Le Fontanelle, not a single, itty bitty detail has been forgotten. Not a single blade of grass is out of place. The wonderful thing about Hotel Le Fontanelle is it feels like the middle of nowhere, but it’s only about 20 minutes from the picturesque city of Siena, right in the heart of the Chianti region. It’s the perfect hub to explore Tuscany – take a day trip to Florence, go on a bicycle wine tour, hire Vespas and explore on scooter- back, or just keep your feet planted firmly on One of my first stops after arriving was a stroll around that perfectly manicured grass – there are lounge chairs dotted around the grounds, some out in the open with jaw-dropping views, others a bit more private under the shade of a tree, but all there for one purpose: to make you feel like you have not a care in the world.