Italy is a great place to escape, and if you want to do it in style, the Monte Argentario region is a heavenly spot to get away from the masses. With a coastline dotted with crumbling forts and towers built by the Spanish kings who ruled the area 400 years ago, this hidden gem is located in the Maremma municipality, less than an hour and a half from Rome. Modest and serene, there is plenty to do should you wish to join the locals in their plentiful festivities, but not as flamboyant as other parts of the country; Porto Santo Stefano and Porto Ercole are the main cities, and both are easily accessible, should you wish to drag yourself away from the 5 star service you receive at the Argentario Golf & Wellness Resort.
Hidden in the Monte Argentario countryside, ninety minutes away from Rome’s Aeroporto Internazionale di Roma–Fiumicino (Leonardo da Vinci), you’ll be ready for an aperitif on the terrace once you’ve checked in. The resort, formerly known as the Argentario Golf Resort & Spa, is well known for the quality of its championship golf course, the property now wants to highlight its wide range of on-site services and amenities that help promote a healthy body and mind with its extensive full body wellness programme.
Along with the 18-hole championship golf course, the Espace Wellness Centre focuses on relaxation and pampering with its many massage and treatment rooms; whilst the MediSpa boasts a team of professionals who specialise in nutrition and naturopathy, fronted by Italian nutritionist Dr Luca Naitana. Guests who book a Wellness programme can indulge in the bio-sauna, Turkish bath, thalassotherapy, personalised massage, chromotherapy and the Kneipp circuit, whilst all guests can enjoy a saline indoor swimming pool. The resort focuses on The Wellbeing Method, a new concept of wellness that focuses on reaching a balanced and healthy physical and mental state, along with a range of mindful activities including yoga and pilates.
Foodie fans can indulge in the gastronomic delights of local chef, Emiliano Lombardelli in the stylish Dama Dama Restaurant, named after the fallow deer that occasionally roam the Resort. More informal, but equally delicious is the Mediterranean fare that’s available from lunch onwards at the Club house which overlooks the 18th hole. Both restaurants focus on the flavours and colours of the Maremma with healthy dishes using organic produce from small, carefully-selected local farms and, at certain times of the year, directly from the hotel’s vegetable garden and orchard.
The hotel itself offers a combination of old-world, retro glamour and seductive Tuscan charm set against a backdrop of modern design, state-of-the-art facilities and exceptional service. Its majestic, high-ceilinged entrance, a dramatic central spiral stairway and gigantic windows are in stunning contrast to the intense blue Tuscan sky and Mediterranean landscapes whilst the 73 rooms and suites, all with private decked terraces, offer sleek, contemporary interiors that are beautifully curated by Milan-based Andrea Fogli.
Aside from golf, there is plenty to keep you occupied, so don’t expect to be bogged down by golf talk and polo shirts! The resort is anything but stuffy, and you can enjoy olive oil tasting, nature spotting or just lounging beside the outdoors pool, with nothing to distract you but birdsong. The Spa is a must visit, and you can grab a racket to enjoy a game of tennis (or padel) or get some inspiration from a personal trainer at the gym. You’ll probably meet some like minded guests strolling through the stunning grounds admiring the olive trees and nature, which makes up this ancient 77-hectare estate, or you won’t look out of place behind a big pair of shades reading your novel on the terrace.
While the somewhat minimalist exterior of the hotel is camouflaged into the surrounding hills, the interior of the property is anything but boring. In fact it errs on the eclectic side, boasting huge shaggy bean bags in reception, contemporary art on the hotel’s walls and designer furniture in the bar.
The reception on the fourth floor boasts a dramatic central stairway and huge windows which contrast to the blue Tuscan sky and Mediterranean landscapes, whilst the 73 rooms and suites offer sleek, modern interiors that are beautifully appointed, all with private decked terraces. For families or small groups, you could also opt for one of the five luxury vacation villas, which sleep from six to ten and are located on the hillside near the main building. Fully furnished with large self-contained kitchens and private hot tubs or plunge pools, they are a private hideaway yet guests still benefit from all the resort amenities.
All rooms have private balconies and spacious contemporary bathrooms (most with freestanding tubs and rain showers). The rooms are large and homely, with each of the four floors of the topsy-turvy property (you enter the reception on the top/fourth floor) and each level boasts a different style of room category. First-floor rooms offer a minimalist contemporary design with white resin floors. On the second floor, rooms have hardwood floors with 1950s style furnishings. The third floor is home to the Travel Club suites, which elegantly combine dark parquet floors, safari-style furniture and freestanding stone tubs; whilst the Master and business Suites, wellness area and gym have a floor to themselves.
Food wise, starting with breakfast, which is included for every guest; you can enjoy a leisurely cappuccino and Mediterranean buffet, or if you need more substance order eggs your way from the chef. All dining leans towards wellness and the menus are overseen by nutritionist, Dr Luca Naitana. The Club House, with its stunning umbrella-d terrace overlooks the mountains and is open for lunch, late lunch and dinner, and the selection is pretty hearty. With choices ranging from the traditional Club Sandwich to Rainbow Salad to Double Salmon Burger and freshly made pasta, you will definitely feel refuelled.
Whilst the Dama Dama restaurant, is a more refined affair with a dress code of no shorts or t-shirts to complement the tasteful, minimalist decor. Expect fine dining options which focus on fresh seafood and reinterpretations of rustic Tuscan staples such as wild boar ragout and rabbit ravioli, which you can order a la carte or sample the chef’s selection from the Tasting Menu.
The impressively pretty 18-hole golf course, which includes a driving range and a golf academy, has been awarded the BioAgriCert environmental certification for its sustainable maintenance practices and is surrounded by olive groves, cork oaks and with views over the lagoon and if you’re not yet a player, you can have lessons from a pro. However, you can stroll the pathways and enjoy the wildlife, even if you’re not a golfer. Jogging trails also take you through the abundant nature should you wish to burn some extra calories. Whilst bouncy ball fans can grab some racquets for a game of tennis or football. The five -a- side pitch is great for mingling, or perhaps you’ve always fancied having a go at the latest craze, Padel.
The hotel is close to the picturesque Orbetello Lagoon, and Porto Ercole is a short drive away. Famous for its connection with Spanish painter, Caravaggio, who lived there in exile for the last part of his life, on the run from the law. The mystery surrounding his death has never been solved, as he was found on the beach on July 18, 1610, and was hospitalised in the Church of Sant’Erasmo. His remains – which were never identified – were buried in the old cemetery of San Sebastiano, where the centre of the new village stands today.
Elsewhere the Giglio/Giannutri Islands make up an intriguing beachside peninsula, which is famous for its spectacular coastline, secluded coves and the nature reserves. The nearest sandy beach is a car ride away, but the resort offers a shuttle bus in summer months, and reserves guest loungers at the Beach Club.
Porto Santo Stefano on the other hand, is the gateway to the islands of the Tuscan archipelago, and overlooks the northern side of the peninsula, boasting a promenade designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro; this bustling town has a port which offers trips to explore the nearby Giglio Island. The most iconic monument here are the remains of the Spanish Fortress, which is now home to the permanent exhibitions of Submerged Memories, with archaeological relics found in its seabed, along with Masters of the Axe, dedicated to the old manufacturers of ships and boats for fishermen.
Whether you want to fly n flop and soak up the culture, the Argentario Golf & Wellness Resort is a peaceful oasis of calm, yet its location setting is worth tearing yourself away from the green/pool/courts to investigate.
Argentario Golf & Wellness Resort is an Exclusive Autograph Collection – selected by Marriott International for its unique perspective on design, craftsmanship and hospitality, and for its exclusive and luxurious experiences.
Argentario Golf & Wellness Resort
Località Le Piane
58019 Porto Ercole GR