Magic of Miles in Italy: Hotel Review – Bagni di Pisa Palace & Spa

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Trip Report Index:

1. Introduction
2. Transit Notes
3. Hotel Review: Bagni di Pisa Palace & Spa
4. Visiting Pisa
5. Visiting Lucca
6. Hotel Review: Westin Excelsior, Florence
7. Room Service Review: Westin Excelsior, Florence
8. Day in Florence
9. Hotel Review: Hotel Laurin, Santa Margherita Ligure, Italy
10. Day in Santa Margherita/Portofino area
11. Hotel Review: Park Hyatt Milan
12. Day in Milan
13. Room Service Review: Park Hyatt Milan
14. Retrospect

Driving down the road and singing a jaunty tune, I was looking for the Bagni di Pisa Palace & Spa hotel while being charmed by the Apuan Alps in the background. Following the winding roads, the GPS announced just 10 minutes after leaving the Pisa airport that I had arrived at my destination. But had I? This was the building that I was in front of, and there was no sign over the door, or anything to indicate that I was in the right place.

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I went inside to ask, and was told that it was indeed the hotel but that the main entrance was around the corner across from the town square. I found the courtyard, and then went through the open gates to the hotel.

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What an impressive exterior. The property only has 61 rooms, of which 11 are Jr Suites and 9 are Suites, but it looked huge from this perspective. In 1743 the residence was that of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, who made it his summer spa home. Many years later, the property was restored and turned into a storybook hotel and spa, taking advantage of the natural thermal waters.

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Parking was easy, in the charming courtyard among the many fruit trees. A fountain stood in the middle of the courtyard, and I noticed that several of the buildings were connected by walkways. The air was quiet and still, with just the slightest breeze. It was warm, but since it was late afternoon the sun was starting to lessen its glare.

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Once inside (via the main door!), the decor alternated between cool marble flooring and Tuscan terracotta. Just inside the door there was a corridor to the left, and a flight of stairs to the right. I chose the corridor, and came upon a man dressed in spa robe and slippers. He led the way to reception through the maze of hallways, and I gratefully followed.

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Once I got to reception, I was told it was just the spa reception area and I’d need to go a different way to get to room check-in. There were robed people milling around, and it became clear that many people come to this hotel to experience the spa treatments. In fact, their extensive spa menu was posted up on a billboard like an In n Out restaurant menu. Can I have extra fries with that?

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After several more hallways I finally found the right place. Some of the suites at this hotel have frescoed ceilings from the 17th century, but at a starting price of 400EUR I decided a regular room would be just fine. I had booked a Superior room via Leading Hotels of the World’s website, when they were having a 30% off sale for all members. The Superior room was only 20EUR more than the basic Comfort rooms. During check-in I was told that I had been upgraded, and was given a key to my room on the first floor.

The receptionist whose delivery was precise and effortless led the way to the room, since there were lots of corridors to get lost in. Once in the room the bellman arrived shortly thereafter, placed the luggage in the wardrobe and wished us a wonderful stay. A very nice fruit plate and welcome letter were left on the desk.

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I was surprised to see a cream colored sitting room separate from the bedroom, but the pictures on the website didn’t match that of any of their suites. I guess somehow my Superior room had a separate bedroom which was just fine by me!

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In the bedroom I rushed to open the shuttered window, eager for a dreamy view of the hills or town. Instead, I had the view of a mechanical area. At least there were a couple lovely tiled roofs in the distance.

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Ducking back into the room, I realized it was quite warm. I turned on the air conditioner, but didn’t hear any sound. I called down to reception to ask about it, but was told that it would not be turned on until June, regardless of the outside temperature. They offered to send up an engineer. About 15 minutes later, the same bellman that had brought in the bags knocked on the door. He had a small personal fan in his hand, and a quizzical look on his face. I stifled a laugh, thanked him, and declined the offer.

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The bed was decorated in deep blue and gold tones, with good bedside lighting. It turned out to be two twin beds pushed together rather than a king, which was unexpected.

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There was an old-fashioned wardrobe complete with key.

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The bellman had left bags for us on the bed, stuffed with spa goodies for our use while at the hotel. Slippers, thick robe & towel, it almost made me want to call down and book an appointment.

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The bathroom was cooler than the bedroom, and had double sinks and a huge mirror. The layout had been thoughtfully arranged to include a towel warmer for the winter, magnifier, a hairdryer next to the mirror, and plenty of towels.

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I was pleased to find a clean, deep soaking tub, which offered a second set of amenities.

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I was impressed to see what was one of the few separate walk in showers I’ve had in Italy. It was clean and well designed. The water pressure was a little low but the temperature was nice and hot. The double shower doors both swung outwards, which was a surprise.

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Amenities were from the Fonteverde Collection, and were free of parabens and phthalate.

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There was a separate box of amenities for your spa needs, like hair ties, a shower cap, and paper undies.

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Breakfast the next morning was included in the rate. It featured several tables filled with selections. Yogurts, meats, breads, fruit, cereal, pastries, pies, and juices. I happily took an empty plate and headed to the buffet.

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Once my plate was full I noticed one peculiarity, no one had cleared away dishes from previous guests that morning so newly arriving folks had to find empty tables or stack used dishes off to the side to make room.

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I’d arrived at the buffet on the late side, around 10am, and nothing had been refilled once it was gone. I asked a waiter for some more pineapple and he was happy to bring me some, but I later noticed that none had been put in the bowl for the other guests.

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I had to chuckle when I realized that at a wellness based hotel, there were many more types of pie and pastries than I have seen at other hotel breakfasts. Many of them were already gone, which meant that the guests clearly enjoyed a little sweet treat in the morning!

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In conclusion, the location of this hotel was great. Close to the airport, close to sightseeing, and tucked away in a quiet, quaint town. The history of the building and the property itself is unique. The staff was helpful and kind. That said, I think this property would have been an even better value if I had been staying there for spa treatments instead of just sightseeing.

Bagni di Pisa Palace & Spa

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Good To Go

+ All attractions in Pisa are just a 10 minute drive away
+ Parking in the gated courtyard is secure and included in price
+ Breakfast buffet is ample but don't wait until the end to go
+ Location is just 10 minutes drive from Pisa airport

Good To Know

- Bed was hard, and King was actually two Twins
- Lack of signage turns hallways into a puzzling maze
- Air conditioning does not get turned on until June
- Pool has heated thermal water

How many Magic Stars did this hotel stay earn?

 4/5 Magic Stars

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