After the hustle and bustle of Rome it was a welcome relief to step into the historic village of Pienza in southern Tuscany. La Bandita Townhouse is the new sister property of the well established country house, La Bandita. This luxury boutique hotel is a former convent which blends easily into the narrow street, it blends so well in fact that we managed to walk straight past it but thankfully the local Carabinieri were on hand to show us the way.
A warmer welcome I cannot imagine, both Martina and Francesca are delightful and a glass of Prosecco found its way into our hands very quickly. The hotel has been sympathetically restored and the attention to detail can be seen everywhere, from the stunning exposed stone entrance corridor to the communal library where you can help yourself to the honesty bar while admiring the owner's awards from his earlier life at Sony. Brightly coloured gerbera abound both in the public areas and the bedrooms.
Taking the lift up to the top floor, we were staying in room twelve which has lovely views over the streets of Pienza and the surrounding valley. Spacious and light, the room does not disappoint. The contemporary decor exudes quality: a wood beam ceiling, interior pieces of orange and grey hues and a wide boarded floor. And then you walk into the bathroom. Wow, there is a huge walk in shower and freestanding bath with a plentiful supply of toiletries by Ortigia. On closer inspection I find a proper hairdryer which is always a priority on my list and luxurious bath robes. Subtle lighting only adds to the overall ambience. Complimentary water, soft drinks and beer are waiting in the fridge as well as a coffee machine. A good wi-fi signal is also included. An excellent information booklet provides tips on where to eat, shop and what to do in Pienza and the surrounding area. Obviously a couple of these needed testing and from the beautiful leather bag I brought home it did indeed prove very successful. As did the newly opened in house restaurant. Sitting on tall chairs overlooking the open kitchen we ate from the set menu featuring delicious Tuscan classics and were provided with an excellent wine recommendation. Mikey looked after us extremely well and by he end of the night we had also made firm friends with chef Dario. At breakfast the next morning we met Virginia who again made us very welcome.
This is a truly luxurious property but what sets it apart is the warmth of the staff who create a relaxing and unstuffy atmosphere where nothing is too much trouble. This is not a surprise however when you meet the owner, John Voigtmann, who is himself a gracious host. Highly recommended.