L’Albereta, Relais & Chateaux
What We Love
- World class medi-spa designed by the editor-in-chief of Architectural Digest Italy, with treatments from French wellness master Henri Chenot
- The 19th-century villa’s hilltop setting, surrounded by vineyards and overlooking untouristed Lake Iseo
What To Know
- Access to the Henri Chenot spa costs $33 per person
- While the hotel can arrange bike rental and car service, if you really want to explore the area, you’re probably best off renting a car
- Except for the spa, the decor, while charming and frequently refreshed, does tend toward the traditional
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
- Room Service
This ivy-covered, salmon-hued, terra-cotta-tiled villa exudes rural-chic charm. A conservatory-like entrance hall, all glass walls and botanical prints and paintings, gives way to an open-hearthed lounge and a cream-colored breakfast room filled with natural light. Beyond, the cozy Library Lounge bar and Music Room are done up in shades of deep orange and burgundy, with gently vaulted whitewashed beam ceilings and endless views all the way to Lake Iseo, six miles away.
Bed and Bath
The designer daughter of the villa’s owner has decorated all 57 rooms and suites individually, and many have recently been updated. Nearly all have balconies. Flowing curtains, antique furniture, hardwood floors, marble inlays, hand-painted wall details and prints, stripes and plaids combine to create a comfortable blend of traditional styles. In the marble-decked bathrooms, amenities from the fashion brand Etro await, as do separate soaking tubs and showers in most rooms.
The oenophile offerings at the Library Lounge, include reds, whites and bubblies from the owner’s wineries here and in southern Tuscany (some of the grapes can be seen growing in the vineyards right around the hotel). The spa, meanwhile, combines methods Western and Eastern, medical and therapeutic, dietary and aesthetic, according to the designs of Henri Chenot, a French wellness innovator who has a handful of outlets around the world.
How to Get There
The hotel is in a beautiful setting. The room, for the most part, was quite nice. The spa services were good, and the pool area very relaxing. That said, the service was not what I expect from a hotel of this caliber. Was the service less than expected since I was a single female traveler, since I was American, since I booked via a third party site when a direct email to the property about rates, etc, was not answered, or just 'luck of the draw'? I'm not sure. But, regardless of the reason, the service was less than expected.
I didn't find the staff rude, but they were fairly 'cold and businesslike' which was not my experience at any other hotel I stayed in in Italy, and those were nice hotels as well. Staff everywhere else were warm, inviting and very personable.
My room was meant to have a balcony and it did, but it also had a high wall (probably chest height and I'm 5'9") so there was no view at all from the balcony which defeats the purpose.
My room on the first afternoon was very noisy - lots of clattering and banging and non stop water running noises from somewhere. When I inquired at the front desk, they told me my room was next to the 'housekeeping office' but that they never get complaints. To their credit it was slightly less noisy after I mentioned the noise. However it was not an office, it was a working room for housekeeping so why put that kind of room right next to a guest room? The staff at the front desk never offered to move me, or anything. The room also had a closet that had a very low ceiling, as if it was under a stairwell. This could have been a result of each room being unique and tucked into nooks and crannies which for the most part was charming.
When I got back to my room after the first day 'out and about' the housekeeping service was spotty at best. A towel that was dirty that I had left where they would know I was expecting a replacement vs. willing to use it again (there were towels I did reuse, this one was dirty) was hung up again for me dirty, and a cleaning rag was left on the sink counter. From the time I checked in, there were cobwebs hanging in a corner of the room, and the shelf in the closet had debris/dirt on it none of which 'disappeared' after the room was supposedly cleaned during my stay.
Since it was August, there was only one restaurant at the hotel open, which would have been fine, but it didn't seem like the restaurant was large enough to accommodate all guests. I asked for dinner in the restaurant both nights of my stay well in advance on my arrival. I dressed for dinner (i.e. was nicely not casually dressed) so was quite surprised the first night to be told by the maitre d' that he "had a lovely table reserved for me in the bar area". When I expressed surprise/disappointment, his response was that it was the same food, which is all well and good, but a hotel like this, part of the meal is the experience so sitting in the bar, where ice is clattering, drinks are being made, detracted a bit from my experience. So imagine my even greater surprise when I came down the second night and he proudly announced he had the same table for me. In fairness, other diners were seated in the bar area, not the restaurant, but most seemed to be either walk ins, and/or people very casually dressed and while not all were Americans, most were non Italians. Again, was this because I was a single and he wanted to save tables in the restaurant for couples/groups?
Were any of these dealbreakers? No. But given how this hotel is marketed, and the prices charged, I expected better service.
And, as to booking via a third party. The rate for the same room was slightly lower on Booking.com. But, rather than booking that I wrote to the hotel to let them know that I was happy to book directly with them if they would match the rate. I assumed this would be better for them not to have to pay a commission to Booking.com. The response I got back, never addressed my question, explained why room rates change during the season (not my question) so if the hotel service was the way it was because I didn't book direct, I would suggest the hotel might want to have staff respond more directly when people inquire about things.
Just not up to expectations unfortunately.
I wanted a total relax spa and Italian sun and the l’albereta was everything and more. The wonderful bio lite diet which was so imaginative and so well done it has given me a new lease of life with regard to how I eat vegetables! The treatments hydrotherapy and mud wraps and then the fantastic meridian massage.
All the staff without exception were very helpful and the treatments were heavenly. I left feeling glowing.
I could have had all the treatments and eaten in the other fantastic restaurant had I not wished for the healthy eating option.
The hotel is in the middle of the Bella Vista winery which we walked round as part of our daily exercise . The gardens around the hotel were beautiful and there were lots of little seats dotted around where you could sit during the day in between treatments.
I will definitely be back. WiFi was good in the hotel but maybe a charging place in the rooms would be a great addition.
Until check-out we had a beautiful one-night stay at one of the most stunning hotels we have ever been to. There are no words to describe how magnificently designed both the exteriors and interiors are. From the ivy climbing walls to the eclectic furnishings, we were overwhelmed by the artistic design of the property. The surrounding vineyards are breathtaking, and we were lucky enough to have a room which looked out onto them.
We were impressed by the newly built pool, (though note that it has scattered sunshine until about 12:30).
Breakfast was good. Our dinner at the gourmet pizza restaurant was excellent.
We encountered mainly positives with the customer service. We received an efficient welcome, and found that the staff were helpful and polite, especially in dealing with the weak air con in our room and arranging to move us to a cooler spot late in the evening, without requiring us to remove our cases.
However, we unfortunately left with a slight bitter taste on check-out. We had been offered the hotels shuttle service to the connected Bellavista vineyard (what would have been a 5 minute walk). We were only told, nonetheless, on checking the bill that it incurred a €25 charge for the round trip. When questioning this charge and explaining that it had not been communicated as a supplemental charge (not what we would expect from a 3 minute journey and a hotel of this calibre), the front desk was completely unhelpful and unwilling to admit error on their part. A real shame, as until that moment we had thoroughly enjoyed our stay. L’Albereta needs to be clearer on supplement charges and take responsibility when at fault.