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TREKKING DI UN GIORNO
Con merenda sinoira in cantina
VISITE DI CITTA' E CASTELLI
Con guide turistiche professionali
LA RICERCA DEL TARTUFO
Segui un vero "trifolao" ed il suo cane
TOUR GASTRONOMICI
Botteghe tradizionali, mercati e produttori
TOUR GUIDATI DEL VINO
Storie del territorio, cantine, degustazioni
QUAD, E-BIKES E VESPE
Immersi nei paesaggi collinari UNESCO
TOUR DEL PALIO DI ASTI
Visita esclusiva dietro le quinte di un Rione
LEZIONI DI CUCINA
Impara a fare la pasta e altre ricette tipiche
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As the New York Times has just included Turin on the "52 places to go in 2016" list (click here to read the NYTimes article) , Piemonte has some charming and exclusive five star hotels to choose from. From Relais&Châteaux to The Leading Hotels of the World, each hotel reflects the history of the area and the atmosphere of the surroundings, pampering guests with state-of-the-art suites, spas, restaurants and gardens.
Here you'll find properties that obtained the five star classification. There are many other luxury villas and hotels providing an excellent level of service but officially are not considered five star. In fact, hotel classification or simply the capability to call a property "hotel" or "resort" or "dimora storica" (literally a "historical mansion") depends on a labyrinth of rules and requirements (typical of the Italian bureaucracy) including, for instance, the minimum number of rooms and their surface, the location and the historical background, the number of amenities and services offered and much else.

In Turin

The capital of Piemonte, at time of writing (January 2016) has two 5 star hotels both conveniently located in the heart of the city centre, minutes away from the elegant "piazzas", baroque buildings and historical café of the vibrant heart of Turin. As the first capital of Italy and one of the liveliest cultural point of reference in the Country, Turin can be the perfect base for a longer stay in the region, experiencing everyday a different corner of the countryside: from the famous Barolo wine district to the peaceful UNESCO area of the Monferrato hills, to the Alpine valleys just to mention the closest ones.

 

PRINCIPI PIEMONTE

The Principi di Piemonte is within less than 10 minute walking from Porta Nuova railroad station and between two of the busiest shopping streets of Turin, Via Roma and via Lagrange.

Address: Via Piero Gobetti, 15, 10100 Torino, Italy.
Click here to access the hotel's website

Principi di Piemonte main entrance

The historical building

The tall imposing tower was conceived since the beginning as a hotel. It is a typical example of rationalist architecture, built in the years 1935-36 by one of the busiest architect of that time, Vittorio Bonade' Bottino, one of the Agnelli protégé (the family owner of the FIAT car factory and financial rulers of the city for over a century). In those years the entire Via Roma was redesigned giving more importance and sense of opulence to one of the main city's gate, welcoming visitors coming by train. The long axis of Via Roma linking the two central Piazza San Carlo and Piazza Castello is still today entirely covered by convenient and large "portici" (arcades). Right in the middle of these two squares stands the 11 floors high parallelepiped hotel, covered in marble, that it was, and still is, one of the highest building of Turin, offering, from the top floors, 360 degree views. Diplomats, businessmen, artists and now tourists are guests at the Principi di Piemonte, that reopened in occasion of the 2006 Winter Olympic Games, event that signed the end of Turin's industrial era and the beginning of a new life.

From the hotel's website

"...This is a luxury hotel immersed in a charming atmosphere where class and style greet sophisticated and demanding guests. The building has 99 rooms, divided in deluxe, junior suite, suite, diplomatic suite, executive suite, and presidential suite. Elegant, modern, carefully designed, the hotel rooms are elegantly decorated and have all of the comforts necessary to make a stay in the hotel unforgettable. (...) Most of the rooms enjoy a magnificent view of the roofs of the homes in the city and of its historical buildings. All of the luxuriously decorated rooms feature essential 1930's architecture and cutting-edge technology."

Other amenities

The hotel is featuring a brand new Spa with a covered heated swimming pool, a relaxation room finely decorated with precious mosaics, emotional showers and magnificent colorful baths, Turkish bath and Finnish sauna. While the central location makes the Principi di Piemonte ideal to explore Turin and its large food's scene, the hotel offers as well a refined and exclusive restaurant with soft, private ambiance and an American bar with outdoor seating.

Principi Piemonte room

 

GOLDEN PALACE HOTEL

Located in the quiet Via dell'Arcivescovado, the Golden Palace Hotel is minutes away from Turin's main shopping district of Via Roma and within a short taxi ride from the two main train stations: Porta Nuova and Porta Susa.

Address: Via dell’Arcivescovado 18, 10121 Torino, Italy.
Click here to access the hotel's website

Golden Palace hall

The hotel was opened in occasion of the 2006 Winter Olympic Games, after a detailed restoration of two buildings. Thought for a refined and sophisticated clientele, the hotel perfectly embodies the zest of the “new” cosmopolitan Turin, welcoming visitors with design, art, velvets and marble.

Room For Art

New artists are welcome in this hotel which is aiming to promote art by offering to painters, sculptors, photographers, dancers the opportunity to stay at the Golden Palace at preferential rates and to reach a more vast audience.

Chocolate Suite

The chocolate Suite has been created in collaboration with Guido Gobino, one of the most well-known chocolate masters of Turin. The innovative space delivers a sensory experience of authentic mouth-watering Italian hospitality.

From the hotel's website

"...All rooms feature sophisticated wooden furniture with elegant details in burnished brass and black lacquer, fine fabrics and surfaces played on color scales ranging from ivory to dark brown, from gleaming metals to black gloss. Five aesthetic and chromatic types. Gold, Silver and Bronze provide the color tones of the curtains, of the carpeting, of the polished heads of the beds with their light sprinkling of gold dust, of the upholstery of chairs and writing desks, of the luminaries."

Amenities and services for pets!

While more and more hotels welcome guests traveling with their pets, in Italy this can still be a difficult topic. The Golden Palace not only opens doors to pets but they actually created a real menu of amenities and services available to this niche.

"...In the room you reserved, there will be an area with all the amenities that your beloved friend may need. We thought of a sleeping area where the puppy can rest on a comfortable sofa, and make use of products of certified quality. In addition to the sleeping area, we have equipped an eating corner for the puppy, where you will find two bowls, one for water and one for the meal. In particular, it will be possible to let your friends taste some dishes prepared by our chef: we have planned a menu to suit both canine and feline nutrition. It will be at its disposal a wide range of dry food of the best international brands. (...) You can choose from a wide range of services including: toiletries, nail trimming, cleaning eyes and ears, hair cutting, shampoo therapy, stripping or trimming depending on the season. To pamper your fellow travelers during your absence we can rely on a team of experienced dog sitters who will take care of your animals all the time in which you will be out. They will take care of them and take them out for a nice walk in the green areas of our city..."

Golden Palace dog amenities

 

In the countryside

Langhe Roero and Monferrato are the names of the three hill districts recently recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site for the beauty and the historical value of the landscape. This is the area where the three "B" wines are produced and aged: Barolo, Barbaresco and Barbera. Located about one hour driving from Turin and two from Milan, the peace of the countryside makes the stay ideal for those who are looking for relaxation combined with culinary experiences, tours around medieval castle and hill-top hamlets, truffle hunting, outdoor activities.

 

RELAIS SAN MAURIZIO

Member of Relais&Châteaux, this exclusive and elegant old monastery lays on an idyllic and privileged position, on top of a hill overlooking the town of Santo Stefano Belbo and surrounded by moscato vineyards.

Address: Località San Maurizio 39, 12058 Stefano Belbo CN, Italy.
Click here to access the hotel's website

The exclusive location of Relais San Maurizio

The historical building

In 1619 a group of Cistercian monks following the old Salt Road, decided to build a monastery on the ruins of a chapel built a century before their arrival. Soon, the fertile hill of San Maurizio turned to be perfect for the cultivation of a variety of crops, from vines to ancient cereal grains, wheat, corn, officinal herbs and spices imported from the nearby Mediterranean. In 1862, the monastery was bought by the Incisa Counts, a noble family of the surrounding areas who transformed the complex in a private house. After a long period of abandonment and four years of conservative restoration that preserved to the best the left patrimony, Relais San Maurizio was finally open in 2002 as the first and still the only Relais&Châteaux in Piemonte.

From the hotel's website

"...the dining hall becomes a jubilation of grotesque paintings, trompe l’oeil, hidden anecdotes and landscapes on the limits of reality. Nature becomes an ornament and the cloister is transformed in an Italian garden which fades over the belvedere on the horizon of the hills to the sea. Austerity is a memory softened by the colors of the fabrics, the heat of the furnishings, from the fireplaces and by a more gentle nature. San Maurizio becomes a home for the first time, an oasis of privacy. (...) Our home is one of the few in the world to offer 36 rooms and suites, each one with different characteristics, largely drawn from the ancient cells of monks and equipped to offer maximum comfort, mixing original details, classic lines and refined technology."

Not many hotels give the opportunity to see on their own website a detailed floor's plan with room numbers well displayed. Since each room is unique for size, sun exposure, shape and decoration, guests can review in details before the reservation process the kind of accommodation they wish booking. While the hotel understandably states " the availability of the type of room will be guaranteed but you will not be given the room number as this might be changed for reasons related to maintenance or cause majeure" , this system allows not only a better room choice but it gives to returning guests the chance to book (ahead of time) "that particular Room".

Relais San Maurizio room

The salt grotto

In memory of the ancient Salt Road that used to cross the Langhe hills bringing on mule's back the precious good from the Mediterranean coast toward the mainland, the beneficial effects of the salt on the human body are the main focus in the Spa of Relais San Maurizio. A picturesque cave carved in the sandstone and three different pools are used for a cycle of purifying and detoxifying treatments in perfect symbiosis with the innovative medical center specialized in wellness. Below a picture of the wine therapy.

Wine therapy Relais San Maurizio

 

BOSCARETO RESORT

A new modern building takes the name from the Barolo single-vineyard that surrounds the property, on the gentle flanks of Serralunga d'Alba hills, in the heart of the production area of the famous wine.

Address: via Roddino 21, 12050 Serralunga D'Alba CN, Italy.
Click here to access the hotel's website

Boscareto Resort

The hotel has been built from scratch following one main theme: the strong relation between the surrounding vineyards and the building itself. Large modern windows help bringing the color, light and atmosphere of the Langhe hills straight inside.

From the hotel's website

"... 38 rooms and suites, the silk textile on the walls is offered in 5 diverse tones, the furnishings in each of our rooms have all been hand crafted where the colors resemble the tones of wine. Our bathing rooms offer both bathtub and shower and our Suites offer whirlpool baths, our sinks all in crystal."

Spa

Following the main philosophy to connect the outside with the inside, the large spa's windows retract with an ingenious system allowing guests to step onto the lawn. Distributed on two floors, the so-called water room is located upstairs featuring a heated pool and a whirlpool bath. Massages, sauna, Turkish bath along with a relaxing area by a fireplace are located downstairs.

Food

Restaurant La Rei awarded with one Michelin star offer excellent service in a modern dining room. The Piedmontese tradition expected in a restaurant of the Langhe hills is enriched by the Mediterranean flavor of Southern Italy from where the young but experienced executive chef Pasquale Laera comes from. Same roots of his mentor and supervisor Antonino Cannavaccioulo who oversee the food management at the Boscareto hotel (having his own two stars restaurant at Villa Crespi on Lake Orta).

Boscareto Resort indoor pool

 

On lake Maggiore

Lake Maggiore is one of three largest Italian lakes. Located at the foot of the Alps, its northern shores cross the Swiss border all the way up to the city of Locarno. Since the end of the XIX century the town of Stresa, has been connected by railway, through the Simplon tunnel, to London, Paris, Geneva and Munich. Luxury hotels and villas where built to welcome visitors who were looking for the Mediterranean climate, lavish vegetation and relaxing atmosphere that the lake's mass of water generates.

 

GRAND HOTEL DES ILES BORROMEES

A stay in this hotel is a journey back in time, with all the flavor and the ambience of the end of the 1800s, when the hotel was built and furnished in Italian Art Nouveau style. Located along the beautiful and quiet lakefront promenade, the hotel is about 15 minutes walking distance from Stresa main ferry dock.

Address: C.so Umberto I, 67, 28838 Stresa VB Italy.
Click here to access the hotel's website

Gran Hotel lake view facade

Some history

In the second half of the 1800s, just before Italy was unified, the Omarini family owned a small hotel quoted in Stendhal’s Italian guidebook. This hotel was on Isola Bella, the small island located in front of Stresa which was transformed, two centuries earlier, by the noble Borromeo from a rocky tiny piece of land into a Baroque Royal Palace with magnificent gardens.  Soon after the younger Omarini brothers started conceiving the idea to build a grand hotel on the mainland's lakeshores in front of the Borromean islands, strong of the fact more international clientele started sightseeing the area. The construction of the Grand Hotel des Iles Borromées started in winter 1861, the same year of the proclamation of the reign of Italy, and the opening day turned to be two years later, on March 21st 1863. Guests, coming mostly from England, Germany and France, increased when Stresa started to become one of the stops of the famous Orient Express, the luxury train running from London and Calais to Paris, Milan, Venice and Istanbul. In the meanwhile a whole new wing was added to the hotel as well as more floors.

Hemingway stayed here

In September 1918, the American writer Ernest Hemingway arrived in Stresa for the first time at the age of 19, recovering from a war wound.  Reminiscing about the beauty of the place, Hemingway, set part of his novel “Farewell to arms” in the hotel. The name of the Grand Hotel des Iles Borromées then became known worldwide. Today, one of the largest suites of the hotel is named after him. The Suite is composed by three bedrooms, one living room, a studio and four bathrooms, the original fireplace in Carrara Marble, for a total of 240 square meters (about 2580 SqFt) plus the terrace, another 160 square meters.

Grand Hotel Borromees Suite

Opulence and elegance

Six of the hotel corridors have been transformed into miniature art galleries, with a collection of reproduction of works of art dating back to the 15th century. The themed galleries were inspired by historical periods, namely the Florentine Renaissance, the Roman Baroque and Ancient Greece. Standards room can either have garden or lake view and most of them have balconies. Decorations of the rooms, both standards and suites, are the equivalent of a Royal Palace: panels in yellow Siena marble, stuccos and trompe l’oeil paintings, round frescos on the ceiling, Murano glass chandeliers, tapestry with real gold inserts, carved wooden panels and doors enriched with copper and brass.

Gardens

The graceful park features mosaics, statues and meandering paths that lead to hidden corners embellished with mosaic pebbles, polychrome marble and classical sculptures. A spectacular reproduction of a marble fountain features granite stairs, multi-coloured arabesques and mosaic walls. A quiet atmosphere that prepares visitors enjoying some of relaxing treatments of the spa featuring indoor and outdoor pools.

 

VILLA AMINTA

Villa & Palazzo Aminta, member of The Leading Hotels of the World, lays on a small promontory just outside Stresa on the lakefront road toward Baveno. It is a typical example of how a local Villa should be, in this case turned into a luxury hotel.

Address: Via Sempione Nord, 123, 28838 Stresa VB, Italy.
Click here to access the hotel's website

Villa Aminta pool on lakeshore

From the hotel's website

"It was the Admiral of the Italian Navy Francesco Capece, Knight of the Order of S. Maurizio and Lazzaro, Knight of the Order of the Crown of Italy, Medal to memory of the campaigns of Africa, Cross of gold with crown for 40 years of military service, silver Medal to the valor military, to buy the Villa at his retirement from the Royal Navy in July of 1918, and named it like his beloved wife Aminta. In those times it was a wonderful private residence with only seven rooms and a bathroom. The Zanetta family, owners of Villa Aminta since 2000, have restored it to its original splendor with a fairy tale feeling. After having conducted accurate historical research, the remodeling was done with elegance and taste, offering high standards and technology at the same time. "

Villa Aminta

Celebrities favorite spot

In 1918 Pavel Troubetzkoy, the great artist from a noble Russian family born in Intra, realized a sculpture for the Irish comedy writer and friend George Bernard Shaw that in 1926 came on Lake Maggiore and was the guest of the Admiral. In the most recent years, in 1966 Liz Taylor and Richard Burton picked Villa Aminta for one of their secret shortbreak. In fact, the first glimpse one get at Villa Aminta is the unique atmosphere, much closer to the intimacy of a private home rather than a hotel. The details ornating rooms and pubblic spaces are precious, antique and with an Oriental flavor, reminding of the importance of the Venetian Republic that for centuries kept relations and trades with the Middle and the Far East.

Liz Taylor suite at Villa Aminta

 

More five stars hotels

NOVESSENTIA

Address: Via Sempione Nord, 123, 28838 Stresa VB, Italy.
Click here to access the hotel's website

CASTELLO DAL POZZO

Address: Via dal Pozzo, 24, Oleggio Castello NO, Italy.
Click here to access the hotel's website

Written by Marco Scaglione.

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