News & Reviews Europe Italy Review: Castello di Reschio, Italy

Reschio, Italy
Room type: Grand Suite
Duration: 23 > 25th June, 2021

When reviewing a property enriched by history, it seems customary to write an extensive backstory that sprinkles in some dates of yore from an era so far ago that you begin to picture velociraptors talking to men in togas.  Then, having set the scene, you must throw in some flimsy links of the prior families to some national hero, ideally with a Latin phrase or two.  Now you’re half-way to writing a review without saying anything.

Let me save you some time and abbreviate, on the basis of my extensive notes.  Something something old castle.  Got it.  Some reviews like to give you a history lesson; me, I prefer to deal in the present.  The present being a time where I don’t need to read this superfluous odyssey to know whether a hotel is worth staying.

Instead, let me tell you about every single plant in this picture

Reschio is another property that seems to have hit the attention of the press in abundance.  Hotel golden lists are flooded with dingy pictures that Reschio’s PR department must have decided was the way to attract people.  Evidently it worked.  In the weeks leading to our stay I started to see them featured everywhere.  Even that tiny fly on the urinal was replaced by a Reschio advert of a room where Buffalo Bill would need his night vision goggles to walk around. Not going was not an option.

So go we did – a three hour car journey from Rome.  Our first interaction was to be told the room was not available until 3pm, when we arrived at 2:45.  Ok, they’re probably just busy.  Our second interaction was to take us on a 5 minute steep walk with a baby in 36C heat, to their restaurant, only to find they weren’t serving lunch.  Ok, they’re probably just a bit confused.  Our third interaction was coming back at 4pm, not having the room available and watching them faff about with our passports and figuring out how computers work.  Ok, they’re probably just useless.  Reschio had the same feel as a brand new car, just in reverse – when you smell a new vehicle you know everything will work flawlessly.

We only booked it the night before, so I have to tip my hat that they did a pretty good job of setting up the room, although it was the only hotel on this trip that did nothing at all for Isabelle, our 5 month old baby.  Then again, the average age of the staff here was so low that Isabelle staying might have increased it.  I doubt most of them have ever seen a child outside of Tiktok clips.  They also chose to say they’ll do everything, then ignore some of it and just not say anything, so it’s a pretttty good ala Larry David, rather than an actual good.

I didn’t even ask for a sex mask but they included it

Turns out all those dark pictures of rooms were a good warning sign.  I’m all for blocking the light out, just not during the day.  The room is so dark that it looked like it was designed for the children in The Others.  My wife has tried her best to convince me it wasn’t that bad, but I don’t trust her eyesight as she married me.

Other than the free minibar, there was not a single thing I liked about the room.  I do not follow the logic behind the additional room you receive with a Grand Suite – it’s a pointless space next to a walk-in wardrobe, which only contains some sofa that looks like a midgets bed and isn’t even comfortable to lay on.  Our views offered the courtyard in front and the hills behind, but neither you can see without directly sitting next to the windows; there’s no TV as apparently there’s so many activities to do around here you don’t need one and the room is so dark, yet somehow not dark enough to keep light out in the morning.  You just know the architect was off sick during the lessons on how to use natural light. I consider myself reasonably more intelligent than a dog, but if you asked a Labrador and myself how to use the light switches, we’d both get about as far as each other.  The only difference is the Labrador can see in the dark, so I have to take back my last statement: I’d actually lose.

The design is just not for me; I expected so much more.  Yet the biggest issue was the Air Conditioning, with it being so close to useless that it should have been put in charge of the UK.  We mentioned it over and over, yet each time we were told someone was looking at it and nothing was ever fixed.  You could stand next to it and feel it pumping out cold air, but stand more than 1m away and it was like it didn’t exist.  I’ll repeat: 36C.  And that is not going to be an unusual temperature around these parts. Having a deeply uncomfortable sleep is not what luxury consistutes.

The facilities, on the other hand, are awesome: the reception and bar blended into one; an atrium that houses a piano, played professionally every evening; the stunning equestrian facilities that surpass anything I have ever seen in a hotel.  Ok, they desperately need to invest in a proper gym, as some outdoor equipment on a small hill that looks like it was built from recycled turnips isn’t up to much.  It’s so hot there that just starring at it during the middle of the day will give you sunburn.  Yet the spa and pool make up for it.  The pool is amongst my all time favourites, with its ideal setting within the gardens, the huge range of seating, the absolute perfect temperature and its vast size.  There will never be an issue finding somewhere to sit, but there may be an issue getting some food as the menu contains less variety than a 2010s pop song.
The spa is even more awesome, more gorgeous and more underground.  With current Covid rules you have to book the sauna/steam/cold showers/Roman bath for 45 minutes, and I think they should keep this in place, as it’s so intimate to just be there knowing no one else is coming.  I could have easily spent 45 hours down here, as could Lucie as her spa treatment was world class.
Sadly we never got to experience any of the activities, due to the Death Star, AKA Isabelle, not being in her finest moods or their being any baby friendly activities.  They offer electric bikes, equestrian galore, and I think waiting around on staff is also on the activity list.  You could also dress up as a beekeeper and play a game of “you’re it” with the bees, or something like that.  If you’re into horse riding, the facilities are so incredible that it’s worth considering coming here just for that.

The food is good quality, and certainly better than Hotel Caruso.  The GM mentioned that all the food is locally handpicked but the portions are so small I assume a wildfire wiped most of it out.  In fact, the food orders come so fast that the chicken was still breathing.  We had to send it back as it so bloody it looked like it was stabbed by one of the knights that used to live here.

The limitations may be that of a new hotel opening that’s finding its feet, which makes sense, and I certainly hope it’s not a permanent thing, as breakfast is a small buffet and 5 a la carte options; room service is 3 items; there’s only 1 restaurant open for lunch and the pool menu practically doesn’t exist.

An alternative food source if the guests start an uprising

That the GM left just weeks before opening does make you wonder what was going on behind the scenes.  You could feel the newness and see the headless chicken panic taking place most of the time and I could quickly see errors creeping in and decisions not well thought through.

The service suffered many a brain fart, but most of it common sense stupidity.  Their heart is in the right place but there were frustrations: ask for a lemon and they bring a drink of squeezed lemons; ask for water to be frozen and they bought some chilled water from the cellar; call to maintenance to fix the fridge and get told they’re on the way three times; turn up at reception with a baby, pram and carseat to go into town and they send you a Fiat 500 a car, a car so small you can’t fit more than two humans and a chihuahua – it went as well as you’d think, if you’re not thinking of getting clowns into a car.  They put our luggage in the wrong car that almost drove off; they knocked on our doors at 10pm to deliver room service we didn’t order.  Most impressively, they managed to shrink my socks. The staff are very young, and they do try, yet you don’t get that warmth like in Hotel Caruso, where their experience makes it clear this is a career choice, rather than a Summer of work experience.

There appeared a defensive attitude at times, like we’re making it up.  Two days into our stay, they didn’t even want to send maintenance to resolve the broken AC, claiming the room temperature was based on what we requested.  We have AC at home, so we’re fully aware of how it works and how 18C should feel feel like, even when it’s 36C outside.  Thanks, Global Warming.

Then on departure, we…..well……I don’t even know.  Apparently they told our driver (not from the hotel) he had to go buy a car seat and they refused to check with us first whether we need one.  He then shows up 45 minute late with a car seat we didn’t need.  None of the concierge bothered to tell us the driver was already there, and let us believe he just never showed up.

There is nothing good about the service, but nor is there anything so bad that it would put me off returning – that’s the job of the rooms.

Happy memories – it’s not a room

The Good

  • Reschio is so obviously in the Italian countryside that it’s almost a stereotype.  It’s undeniable that area you’re in – those Italian fields, the hills, the buildings, the trees.  You can practically see Russell Crowe walking through a field, looking for his dead wife.

The Bad

  • The room is so dark that it must have inspired the Season 8 Game of Thrones production crew.  The room is my single issue with the hard product.
  • It’s a new hotel, so I’m legally obliged at this stage to mention the service

The Luxurious

  • Setting
  • Spa
  • Pool
  • Equestrian facilities

Conclusion

I arrived at Reschio and believed I was entering a Castiglioni del Bosco competitor; I departed happy that they’re so different that we, the consumers, are the winners.  What they share is both being stunning, unique and proudly Italian.  Reschio is the new kid on the block, with all the potential, even though a huge amount of money has already been spent.

I am often weary of owner managed properties, as sometimes they feel they know best.  The only way I felt that at Reschio is in their pricing – they set them high, meaning they set the expectations there too, and at this stage they fell short.  I didn’t feel a great sense of value for money.  If you’re in a base room it’s going to be too small with no view, so then you have to upgrade but receive so little for it.

The only way you would get me back is into their Tower Suite or one of the houses, but I’m already complaining that it’s not great value for money.  So I dunno, is that an endorsement?  Maybe I’ll flip a coin/penalty shootout?  But if you do decide to go, make it next year, when maybe the staff have reached puberty.

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Tom Cahalan

Written by Tom Cahalan on 14th Jul '21

Dorsia Travel’s co-founder Tom Cahalan’s take on travel is reliably candid. Here’s his take on what’s good, bad, and luxurious.

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