By Alex Girda, Associate Editor
Tuscany, Italy—One of the most ambitious and audacious hospitality projects in recent years sparked up back in 2007 when German tourist brand TUI AG purchased a struggling settlement in the Italian region of Tuscany with the clear intention of turning it into a new type of attraction. The project calls for 250 million euros, or $328 million, and the development of a host of facilities as well as the improvement of existing venues, for the creation of the next type of resort on the European continent.
TUI AG was set to develop three hotel properties at Toscana Resort Castelfafli with the first project, La Tabaccaia, already completed and with a completion date of the third venue set for 2018. The estate has been operating since 2010 with the approval and support of local authorities from the City of Montaione. The resort’s existing golf courses provide some of the best opportunities for all tiers of players in the entire Mediterranean country: the nine-hole, 3,467-yard Lake Course and the 18-hole, 6,945-yard Mountain Course are already generating substantial interest for the location Trattoria Il Rosmarino, a 2011-openend restaurant handled by Executive Chef Francesco Ferretti, serves products made using locally-sourced ingredients.
The process’ first phase, completed during the summer of this year, called on Italian architects for the restoration of the village’s core. The result of that operation is 41 luxury apartments, nine shops in the La Terrazza 1, La Terrazza 2 and La Ghialla, a cluster of 300-year-old constructions, now ready for guest use. According to hotelnewsresource.com, 18 other old farmhouses are currently being restored and tailor-renovated to the buyer’s liking. A host of other types of accommodation are also being developed at Castelfalfi, with a series of small villages set to be developed on the estate depending on the success of the initial components.
The first hotel in the complex is completed with two more to follow. La Tabaccaia is a 31-key facility featuring a rustic ambiance with darkened bricks and visible wood beams contributing to that aesthetic. The hotel’s amenity package includes high-speed Wi-Fi, LCD TV with satellite channels, A/C, and rainfall showerheads in each bathroom. Along with the existing golf courses, the developers have recently opened a swimming complex dubbed Le Piscine offering a 30-meter long pool, gym, sauna and snack bar, an amenity package that is available to all resort guests.