Locanda Rossa, Capalbio

Living in London, we’re lucky that the rest of Europe is within easy reach. One of the main reasons we chose Locanda Rossa for our second holiday with Isabelle (now a toddler) is that the flight to Rome is just two and a half hours, and the hotel is only an hour’s drive north from there.

At the time of our holiday, Isabelle was still having two naps a day and had started walking. I don’t like to mess with her sleep if I can help it, since it’s so important to her mental and physical development. One day of disruption isn’t going to cause long-term problems but for our own sanity we haven’t taken her on any long-distance flights, just yet. The excitement and change to her routine and surroundings meant she managed just 10 minutes, just before we arrived.

We arrived at Locanda Rossa in the early afternoon and were checked-in within 20 minutes. The staff at the hotel bent over backwards to make sure we had everything we needed for Isabelle; including stair gates, a bottle warmer, bath mat and high-chair. They were professional, efficient and friendly; everything I needed to be able to quickly relax and get into holiday-mode. After we unpacked, there wasn’t time to get to the shops for food (plus it was a Sunday). We brought food for Isabelle with us and ordered room service to the villa for us; fresh pasta with a classic wild boar ragu and a delicious glass of Tuscan red for me.

The next day we woke to find the sun beaming through our bedroom curtains (there are shutters for those that prefer to/able to sleep in), casting the room in a warm glow; quite the contrast to the wet and overcast London we left the day before. We headed to the restaurant for breakfast, a 2 minute walk from our villa. Breakfast at Locanda Rossa is a continental buffet that includes fresh croissants, fresh fruit, a selection of dried nuts and fruit to add to yoghurt and granola, jams, fresh cakes, local hams and cheeses, as well as cooked eggs. Needless-to-say, we all ate well. It was a great opportunity to offer some different foods to Isabelle.

The hotel centres around a converted farm house, close to the west coast of Tuscany and the medieval hilltop town of Capalbio. It’s set in 21 hectares of rolling countryside, including ancient olive groves. The villas are well-suited to families, with large bedrooms over three floors, as well as a large open kitchen with dining table. My only concern was that Isabelle’s room was in the basement and (although firmly locked) could be accessed from the garden. I found it hard to sleep two floors above her, even with a monitor.

The grounds around the hotel and villas are fantastic for young children. Lots of open spaces with grass and trees for them to run around, with a playground, separate children’s pool (too cold to use in October) and a trampoline for slightly older children. There’s a donkey and goat to take younger ones to see. Tennis and padel courts are free to use and it’s also possible to hire bikes (with seats for little ones).

Midweek, I escaped to the spa for a couple of hours whilst Isabelle napped. I spent the first in the spa pool, steam room and sauna. I was given a mitten and black olive soap to finish with a good scrub. I then had a lovely facial to give my skin a little extra moisture.

We tried to get out as much as possible, taking Isabelle to the beach at Spiaggia Di Feniglia, wandering around the bright and surreal sculptures at Giardino die Tarocchi, and taking in the views from the hilltop town of Capalbio.

Before we flew out to Tuscany I was told by several people that Italy is a great place to visit if you have young children and that the Italians welcome them wherever you go. This was very much the case and there was always a high-chair and something suitable for her to eat wherever we went. Staff were always friendly and helpful.

We had a brilliant holiday and I would recommend Locanda Rossa to anyone with a young family in need of some rest and relaxation.

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