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"The moment you enter Castel Monastero Retreat, you won’t want to leave. We enjoyed the spectacular vista of the Chianti vineyards and loved relaxing at the pool with a stunning view of the sunset. The exclusive detox programs, beauty treatments or yoga classes are also exceptional. Our tip is to try both of the restaurants which offer the best of Tuscan and Italian cuisine."
The collection of buildings which now house the Castel Monastero Retreat & Spa was once home to an 11th century monastery, and its current incarnation as a hotel only dates from 2009. The estate – a walled medieval hamlet atop a hill – previously belonged to a local winemaker, and before him, over a period of 900 years, to the aristocratic Chigi family.
Sitting in Chianti countryside half an hour from Siena, and 90km from Florence, Castel Monastero is surrounded by vineyards and rolling Tuscan hills. Seventy four rooms are set around a central piazza, or in the separate three-bedroom Villa Lavanda. Most have countryside views or overlook the central square, with its tables for al fresco dining.
Castel Monastero’s gourmet restaurant Contrada serves modern Tuscan cuisine and is overseen by British chef Gordon Ramsay. La Cantina is located in the vaulted wine cellar and is an atmospheric place for lunch or supper, with huge refectory tables lit by candles.
Castel Monastero is renowned as a wellness retreat, thanks to its peaceful rural location and its seriously good spa, featuring a sauna, hammam and two indoor pools, in addition to the three outdoor pools at the hotel.