How many times have you heard “X is the new Tuscany”? Too many, that’s for sure. And why? What’s wrong with the old Tuscany? “Too many Brits/Americans/Germans (delete where appropriate)”, “been there, done that”, “too touristy” they say. Well, you’re not looking hard enough people. Maremma is the old Tuscany, and it’s not in need of being replaced by a newer model anytime soon. Nestled in the south-western corner of Tuscany, Maremma is the charming, unspoilt beauty that they’re looking for; and they say that the hardest thing to see is that which is right under your nose.
Located a hop, skip and a jump away from idyllic little towns like Orbetello, Porto Ercole and Porto Santo Stefano, Argentario Resort Golf & Spa is an all-encompassing luxury retreat with design at its heart. Old world glamour is given a contemporary makeover, as state-of-the-art facilities meet the seductive charm of a movie star’s decadent Tuscan retreat – not least in the hotel’s most recent addition; the Locker Private Cottage, a private 3-room villa that offers an elegant juxtaposition to some of the main resort’s more hi-tech offerings.
And it’s juxtapositions that continue to add interest to the Argentario Resort; contemporary photography sits side-by-side with classic Italian furnishings, decidedly modern free-standing bathtubs are dotted around rooms that carry the air of a stately home, and film-set props bring life to rooms defined by clean, modern lines. Owner Augusto Orsini wanted to “show the region’s most progressive side” and, with the help of interior designer Andrea Fogli, that’s exactly what he’s achieved; rustic Tuscan charm has not been trampled by unsympathetic modernism, merely upgraded to first class.
The contemporary side of classic Tuscany can also be seen at the Dama Dama Restaurant, with executive chef Emiliano Lombardelli offering a creative interpretation of local classics – expect wild boar and ribollita, but plenty of the unexpected too. As for the spa and wellness centre, there’s little in the way of rustic to be seen here; facilities and treatments are of the highest order – we won’t blind you with science (mainly as it’s all a little over our heads), but suffice to say you could easily lose days in here.
There’s tennis courts, jogging paths and even a football pitch, and we haven’t even got started on outdoor pools, terraces and panoramic views – and yes, for those that way inclined, there’s an 18-hole championship golf course to boot. But let’s leave the walking to someone else, we’ll be inside lusting over all of that delightful design.