I checked out a couple of days ago and I am now travelling in Tuscany before flying back to NY... I wish I was still there, the setting of the villa are one of a kind! When coming on TripAdvisor and reading the review below I was extremely surprised to read the comment from beenthere281 and I, as well as my husband, feel the need to state the opposite. We cannot say how much we are looking forward to go back next year (hopefully for 3 weeks this time!). It is certainly not a standard air-conditioned villa in the US, if this is what you are looking for then do not choose this property. This place is pure bliss! The house is as pictured in the photos, extremely elegant and the interiors of an incredible taste. The views are, as stated in the previous comment, breathtaking, the pool refreshing, beautiful, and well kept. The house is fabulous to walk around, the bedrooms and bathrooms very spacious.
Salogi staff supported me during our stay with local tips, wine tours suggestions and the organisation of various sightseeing. While the local cook made us incredible Tuscan meals at night. Highly suggested!
If you've seen the movie, you'll understand the "title's" analogy. Let me begin by saying, we are a first generation, Italian American family. My bothers and I planned this once in a life time, family vacation...to treat our spouses, adult children ...and their spouses. There were 13 of us, in a Villa that advertises "Luxury"...and can accommodate up to 16. We rented it for 1 week. We are all well travelled, especially thru Italy, but many other parts of the EU, as well. All of our children have studied abroad, and many have lived in Europe. I say all of this, as we are very aware of certain limitations of being abroad, vs. everyday things we take for granted in the U.S. I am also a Hotel owner in South Florida, and understand the challenges of good customer service. You not only have to provide the best service to your customers when everything goes right, but you have to be ready, when things go wrong...to rebound with timely, and and efficient service recovery. Unfortunately, the Villa owner, and the agency we used (Salogi SRL) both dropped the ball with this one.
The Villa we rented, Villa Fontanelle, is located in a stunning region of Tuscany, just outside the quaint town of Montalcino. The views were breathtaking, the pool refreshing, beautiful, and well kept. The Villa itself, in it's heyday, I'm sure was spectacular. It has been featured in several magazines, and is touted as a Luxury Villa. It certainly has the potential to be special. Unfortunately, in its' current condition, it did not live up to the hype.
We had booked the 5 bedroom Villa, along with it's 3 bedroom guesthouse, located a few yards away. When we arrived, we were told, we couldn't have the 3rd bedroom, in the guesthouse (the entire 2nd floor) as the bed was broken. This particular bedroom was discussed with the agency thoroughly before arrival, as it was very airy...and a lovely room...and we had designated it to one of our children (and her husband) who were recently married. After some complaining to the Management Company, the bed was miraculously fixed, but then the room had to be cleaned, which took a couple of hours. Not a big issue, but it was pretty obvious the housekeeper just didn't want to clean that unit to begin with.
The main Villa needs a thorough cleaning. It had certainly not been done prior to our arrival. There were cobwebs everywhere, missed trash behind bathroom sinks from previous guests, the area rugs in the bedrooms were dirty and worn. Much of the upholstered furniture thru out was ripped and tattered. Some of the bedroom windows have screens, but some do not. I say this, as you are in the country, and there were bats in all of the bedrooms, especially in the evenings. This could have been alleviated, with proper screening in all of the windows. The availability of running water is spotty at best. It had nothing to do with the number of people taking showers...it would literally stop running at any given time...day or night. There is no AC, so I had asked if there would be fans in each bedroom. I was assured there would be...but 3 bedrooms had no fans, and we didn't get those until our 4th night in...and after much complaining. It's hot there in July, and the air is still...you need fans at night!
On our 3rd night, there was a horrendous storm, no one's fault, but it hit quickly...and while we were sleeping. It brought with it, an enormous amount of rain, lightning, and heavy hail. We also lost power, and by the time we were able get acclimated (in complete darkness) and able to close all the doors and windows, there was water everywhere. The floors and beds were soaked. Not once, (when the storm subsided) did the housekeeper, who lives 100 yards away, nor the property manager (who lives next door) come to check on us. In the morning, with light, we were able to find the breaker box on our own, and flip on the electricity. Later that day, we found a detailed house manual (printed by Salogi...the Management Co.), buried under the table top books in the living room. It gave a heads up about things to expect in the Villa. It talked about storms, losing electricity, and where the breaker box was located. If only someone had pointed this survival guide to us when we checked in!
Our biggest issue was the refrigerator. From late in the evening, on Day 1...it didn't work. We had arrived with hundreds of euro worth of food. We lost most of it. After complaining to the agency (Salogi) they finally sent a technician. He told us it wasn't ventilated properly, and that because it was sitting in a stone cutout wall...it had to be moved away from the wall...so now we had a refrigerator in the middle of the kitchen floor. But he promised it was now working properly, so we shopped again. Early the next morning, we woke up to it beeping...and not working. Again, everything was spoiled. It was Sunday, and when I called our representative at the agency (Salogi), I was told it was impossible to get anyone there on a weekend, but that the next morning, the owner of the Villa would come to correct the issue. Monday passed, no owner showed up. By Monday evening, I had had it. So much had gone wrong, and this agency pretty much thru everything back in our face. "We were expecting too much, it's a weekend, their offices were several hours away", and there was nothing they could do. To add insult to injury, they kept insinuating we were lying about all that was going wrong. Finally, late Tuesday, (Day 4) they brought a new refrigerator, which they placed in the middle of the pantry...but at least it worked.
Salogi SRL (the agency) was nothing less than defensive the entire week, and there was very little oversight when anything went wrong...just a lot of excuses. Neither the housekeeper, nor the property manager speak any English, so you are on your own.
This Villa did not come cheap. I expected, at the very least, a working refrigerator, and some consistency in availability of running water. I would not recommend Villa Fontanelle to anyone, unless there are serious improvements made. It needs a refurbishing by the owner, a responsible agency to represent it, and a real good scrubbing! Yes...we experienced our very own "Under the Tuscan Sun'!