BOUTIQUE HOTELS IN PIEDMONT
It’s no surprise to learn that Piedmont, which means ‘foot of the mountain’, is surrounded on 3 sides by the Alps and some of the highest peaks in Italy. Picturesque sweeping valleys and rolling countryside make up the landscape, with old farmhouses and hill top towns dotted about. Lulu has personally selected the best small boutique hotels and luxury B&Bs in Piedmont - all you need to do is pick your favourite.
Fly into Turin airport (you could always stay the night at the adorable new boutique hotel Le Due Matote Turin) and before you leave town, take some time to see the baroque architecture; visit Museo Egizio, one of the largest Egyptian museums in the world, and admire the famous Mole Antonelliana, whose dome and tall spire dominate the skyline. Today it houses the National Museum of China but there’s also a panoramic elevator that offers excellent views of the city. Many of the big name designer fashion labels are clustered around Via Roma and if you’re interested in antiques don’t miss the market on the second Sunday of the month.
Ca Alfieri al Trenta, just an hour from Turin (and only a little further from Milan), is a renovated 18th-century mansion house turned 4 bedroom boutique hotel in Piedmont with a garden that overlooks the Langhe and Roero hills. It’s located in the village of Govone, which is centred round a medieval, UNESCO World Heritage castle. In the 18th-century it was rebuilt as the royal family Savoys’ summer residence and is surrounded by a vast park and scenic Italian garden (it opens to visitors every Sunday from March to October). There is a huge concentration of gourmet restaurants in Piedmont serving up local treats such as sought after cheeses, the renowned white truffle and some of Italy’s finest wines. In Govone, try restaurants Il Centro and Trattoria Pautassi where typical dishes include white truffle over handmade pasta and veal with tuna sauce. Not far away is 13 suite boutique hotel Villa Pattono which boasts stunning views across the countryside and the estate's vineyards. Truffle hunting and wine tasting as well as guided tours at surrounding vineyards and estates can be organised, but a day by the pool soaking up the views is a must.
South east of Govone in Casalotto (a suburb of Mombaruzzo) is La Villa Hotel, the original and possibly the best Piedmont boutique hotel with a swimming pool that has views along the valley. This superbly run luxury hotel in Piedmont offers cooking courses and the owners can also arrange wine and grappa tastings. Activities within easy reach include golf (there are 4 courses within half an hours’ drive of the hotel), lots of hiking trails and the Roman spa town of Acqui Terme which is renowned for its thermal waters. See the steam rising from the hot water springs in Piazza Bollente before morning coffee at one of the pavement cafes.
If you want to be based further south, the 6-room Le Due Matote Piedmont is an 18th-century Piedmont farmhouse and pretty boutique hotel in the historic town of Bossolasco (known as the ‘pearl of Langhe’ for its beauty). This charming Chic Retreat produces its own wine and gems such as Barolo, Barbaresco and Roero are all kept down in the cellar. At night, eat at Trattoria da Fabiana, a Sardinian-owned restaurant and one of Yotam Ottolenghi’s favourite restaurants (he has raved about the 10 course Friday night fish supper). The town is only a few kilometres from Alba, which every year from mid October to November, holds one of the best white truffle fairs in Italy.