A TUSCAN TREASURE
was not by accident that I discovered this elegant
four-star hotel, formerly the 19th century
villa of the Italian poet, Giuseppe Giusti. I had
planned a trip to Europe and wanting to return to
Tuscany for Spring, I decided to catch up on some
much-needed spa time too. Like any switched on 21st
century grandmother, I researched European spas on the
Internet and discovered this jewel…in the heart of
Tuscany. Online response was courteous, informative and
immediate…a sign of the excellent service to come.
Oh joy!! aroma-therapy massages AND day trips to
famous Tuscan wineries and villages…what could be
Arriving on a lovely April
day, my joy meter went up just experiencing the trees
and hills covered in Spring green, poppies and daisies
dancing everywhere. I had rented a car in Florence, so
the drive west to Monsummano Terme was brief and scenic.
I was greeted by Anna, one of the very capable concierge
staff, and given a tour of the hotel and facilities:
pool, dining room, spa, lounges. State of the art
technology opened my door and invited me into a
beautiful and spacious room with a sunny view of the
garden and a bathroom, which included in its tub fresh
water as well as special thermal waters from the grotto.
settled easily into the room, walked around the grounds,
checked in to book some spa treatments…then was taken
to the grotto. This is where it all began over a hundred
and fifty years ago…the deep caverns and waters of the
natural thermal springs. Taken from level I to level II
as the body gradually heated up, I finally relaxed into
a lounge chair in the deepest part and let the magic of
the soft, moist heat infuse my bones. I was in a deeply
meditative state when someone gently guided me back to
terra firma. Time for hydrotherapy, a blast from a water
hose that both rejuvenates and makes for
‘squeaky-clean’. I was ready for a week of this!
a week I did…enjoying a vast array of therapies: aqua
gym, various massages, lymph drainage, anti-aging and
de-stressing techniques, masks, anti-cellulite
toning, skin balancing, rehydrating, inhalation.
I also met with Dr. Giacomelli, a staff dermatologist
for a skin evaluation and recommendations. I was
particularly interested in erasing some facial scars and
years of tropical sun damage. The peel,
microdermabrasion, vitamin C and hydrating follow-up
treatments were remarkably effective. To say I am happy
with the results is an understatement! My personal spa
attendant, Rafaella, was an angel in assisting me with
every question and treatment, and just to see her
beautiful face each morning brightened my days.
consist of spa only or half and full meal plans at the
four star hotel. I had opted for the latter in order to
do lunches and picnics in the Tuscan countryside with my
grown son, who accompanied me from Venice. He enjoyed
golf, tennis, hiking and hanging at the pool, sunning,
but also took advantage of many of the grotto therapies.
now eagerly awaited our first dinner at the hotel
restaurant, La Veranda. It was pure Italian gourmet!
The maitre d', waiters and chefs dazzled us with
fresh, beautifully plated and presented cuisine…and a
wonderful wine list of Italy’s finest. Our first meal
included an appetizer of fresh grilled salmon over
asparagus with raspberry/dill vinaigrette, risotto with
Brunello wine and fois gras, and a stuffed veal filet
with wild herbs and mushrooms. Fresh berry charlotte
with crème and a lovely cappuccino finished us. Still
we slept like babies.
one think it is all calories, options exist for every
palate or discipline… vegetarian, low fat, and special
dietary needs. The casualness of breakfast is
appreciated as some are coming in from a jog or hike on
the training trail or off to spa appointments after
breakfast, so running outfits and spa robes are dress
code. Breakfast is an abundant buffet, or one may order
cooked foods from the waiters. ...Italian hunks, all.
purchased and upgraded by a wealthy Italian
industrialist, the hotel has undergone extensive
renovations, and additions are being made to the spa
facilities as well. A new swimming pool is under
construction at the far end of the spa, though
one already floats in the gardens on the other
side, and a thermal pool is used in the spa for water
aerobics and other therapies. “He’s a nut for
spas”, I’m told, hence his purchase of another in
Northern Italy, the goal being to improve each to set
the standard for world-class spas and
have these become the number one and two spas in Europe.
I have no doubt he’ll reach this goal.
Italians, but more and more Europeans and Americans are
finding their way to Grota Giusti, lured by its famous
grotto, the superb hotel and employees who know the
meaning of true Tuscan hospitality. A staff of over one
hundred is tuned to each guest, giving warm, personal
service, which goes beyond the call. During my stay Anna
and Laura provided directions and suggestions for day
trips and evening events around the Tuscan region, took
care of laundry, train tickets and further reservations,
and looked after my every need.
trend is evident in the number of men availing
themselves of the treatments and anti-stress programs.
Tennis courts and hiking trails and a nearby golf course
increase the fun during a longer stay. Golf is
discounted for spa guests, and a Courtesy Card, given at
arrival, also offers savings on purchases at nearby
shops in the charming Monsummano and Montecaterme towns.
as profound as the spa, the cuisine and the warm
professionalism of each employee is the sheer beauty of
the hotel and its surrounding countryside. To immerse in
spring wisteria, dripping lilac color off old stone
walls, green pathways and sunny flowers, is healing.
Delicious sleep fell each night, surrounded by silence.
Deep deep sleep, healing sleep, invigorating sleep. Then
there was the day trip to the seaside town of
Portovenere, and another to the medieval town of Lucca.
Tuscan hillsides, alive with wildflowers and pampered
service which nurtured well-being from the heart
…treasures from Tuscany…oh Joy!!
a virtual tour and contact information at:
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