Sumptuous décor, fabulous location, and attentive service are all to be found at Tuscany’s top hotels. If you’re lucky enough to stay at one of these rarefied properties, don’t be surprised if you find yourself cooking up schemes to extend your sojourn (or return again next year); these are the kinds of places you’ll never want to leave. Some of the luxurious properties here have the same opulent amenities you’d expect to find at top-tier chains like Four Seasons or St. Regis—decadent spas, high-end dining, solicitous staffers catering to your every whim. What’s special about the best hotels here, though, is that many of them are set in places that are truly singular; for example, a 16th-century Florentine palace, a former nobleman’s wine estate, or a spa resort with bubbling natural geothermal pools. The biggest risk of staying at these places isn’t that you’ll be spoiled rotten (though that might happen); it’s that you might get too comfortable to set foot off the property. Make sure to pre-arrange a few wine tours and excursions, just in case.
My all-time favorite hotel in Florence is this property in the historic heart of the city. The property, surrounded by 1,500-year-old Byzantine walls on a quiet piazza, has its own onsite museum, and some truly showstopping views—especially from the Duomo Suite and Pool Suite, both of which look right over the Duomo and Campanile tower. If you’ve always imagined living like royalty, staying here will give you a taste.
Principe Forte dei Marmi
A favorite of Russian oligarchs (who certainly know their luxury), the seaside town of Forte dei Marmi occupies a prime spot on the Tuscan Riviera. This hotel embodies the sort of slick, modern aesthetic that you might find in South Beach, with airy, minimalist rooms and suites, swanky bars and eateries, a concierge who can arrange your private yacht charter, and a spa called Egoista.
Castello Banfi Il Borgo
Set in a centuries-old hilltop stone castle, surrounded by the rolling hills and grapevines of Montalcino, this onetime nobleman’s estate lets you live out your vintner fantasies in supreme comfort. The property includes cavernous, sumptuously furnished rooms and suites, a wine tasting cellar, a swimming pool surrounded by gardens, and fine dining in a hushed, vaulted subterranean dining room.
Hotel Adler Thermae Spa & Relax Resort
If Tuscan wines aren’t quite enough to cure what ails you, the healing waters at this this sprawling spa resort, set in Bagno Vignoni outside Siena, may do the trick. While the property has many modern luxuries—expansive modern suites, a roster of outdoor activities like hiking excursions and vintage-car driving tours—the main draw here is an ancient one: a spa built around natural mineral springs. Several indoor and outdoor thermal pools—one just for kids—let you soak and steam; the expansive spa menu here includes detox and weight-loss packages, massages, ayurvedic and vinotherapy treatments.
Villa Le Maschere
A Renaissance country villa set in the hills of the Mugello near Florence, Villa Le Maschere is a classically elegant resort situated close to Bilancino Lake. Between the hotel and the glittering waters of the lake lie 44 acres of parklike gardens, with walking and jogging trails for guests; two swimming pools, three fine dining restaurants, a spa, and cooking classes round out the offerings.