Why We Love This Hotel
- This 19th-century hilltop "haven" (Condé Nast Traveller) doubles as a hotel and residency for artists
- The "design-conscious" (The Daily Telegraph) complex is surrounded by the Tuscan countryside, an hour's drive from San Gimignano
- There are two outdoor pools and a farm-to-table restaurant
- Accommodation includes rooms in converted stables and apartments in former hunting lodges
Secluded Villa Lena combines a "boho" (The Guardian) hotel with a not-for-profit artist's retreat, surrounded by the lush Tuscan countryside. Set on a 500-acre hilltop estate of woodland, olive groves and vineyards, Villa Lena is spread between a 19th-century neo-Renaissance villa and converted former farm buildings, within an hour's drive of medieval San Gimignano and Vinci, the birthplace of Leonardo. Lucca, encircled by imposing Renaissance walls, and both the cities of Siena and Florence are within a 90-minute drive of the hotel.
The hotel's design-led interiors have a rustic-chic feel and include a quirky reception area featuring a fireplace and classic Italian furniture. There are two outdoor pools, including one overlooking the valley, a kids' pool and a hot tub, as well as a yoga deck, a children's play area and a game room with table tennis, pool and a jukebox. Guests can dine on farm-to-table menus in the restaurant, where dishes are prepared by a rotating roster of chefs, using organic ingredients grown on site, and enjoy snacks, cocktails and post-dinner DJ sets at the poolside bar. Villa Lena also holds cookery classes and runs a seasonal residency programme for artists, who host workshops and events on site, and whose work is exhibited throughout the hotel.
A variety of "stylish, comfortable" (The Guardian) accommodation includes rooms in the main house with pastel-toned walls, raffia furnishing and tropical prints, grand quarters in the ancient stables with marble bathrooms and wooden floors, and apartments in the former hunting lodge offering kitchenettes and open-plan living areas. There's also a self-contained 3-bedroom house with a private pool. Wi-Fi is available.