Locanda Rossa is something of a well-kept secret. Hidden among the olive groves of the Maremma, a part of Tuscany that is staggeringly bereft of English voices, it is hard to believe that Rome and Chiantishire are just under an hour away.
We love it for this reason. Plus, being so close to the sea means that unlike many of our other hotels nestled deeper into the heart of the Tuscan countryside, Locanda Rossa combines a beach holiday with everything one hopes to experience in Tuscany.
The medieval hill town of Capalbio is just a short bicycle ride away. Windy. cobbled lanes, fortified castle walls and some truly terrific restaurants and boutiques make it a mecca for the smartest Roman families and Italian politicians, who have been flocking here for decades.
The hotel itself consists of a terracotta building that embraces a beautiful sunken swimming pool, and a smattering of terribly chic cottages with private gardens which are nearly always full. In keeping with its name, the colour red runs as a continuous theme throughout, reflected in everything from the specially commissioned Ginori china to the burnt red sun loungers around the pool.
The kitchen extols the Slow Food Movement and menus change daily, reflecting the season and the best of local produce. The porters double up as gardeners ferrying pots of honey (they have their own hives), crates of zucchini flowers and the ripest of figs to the kitchen as well as making sure guests never have to lift a finger. Barbara, the delightful and brilliant GM, is from the nearby fishing town of Orbetello and makes guests feel as if they are part of a fun, stylish house party. Everyone looks terribly pleased to be here.