Sulfur is the name of this game. The intoxicating, sweet, delicious, and simultaneously embarrassing oh no wait it’s just the sulfur smell kind of game.  Perched atop the highest hill in famed winemaking town of Montalcino, in the UNESCO protected Val d’Orcia, and just south of amorous Siena, primely placed Castello di Velona wasn’t always a thermal spa hotel.  As owner and our host Gianluca Fabiani informed us, it was only after planning an expansion of the castle on the vineyards that he struck gold, or as luck would have it, thermal water!

No matter what time of year, this pool's always hot!

No matter what time of year, this pool’s always hot!

Now drenched in the mineral rich, naturally hot volcanic springs, this luxurious and iconic landmark offers every comfort without leaving the property.  Let’s start with the thermal waters in your bathtub, yes the bathtub in your room of the Sunset Suite. Yes, the massive sunset from your aptly named grand suite with a glass of Brunello. Yes, the Brunello di Montalcino that they cultivate on premises.  Equipped with two outdoor pools, two indoor, a wide variety of spa treatments and lobbies of steam and sauna rooms, two fantastic restaurants stocked with house made wines and oils, and some of the most attentive maids in Italy, so much so that I’m still not sure if I entered the correct room for half of the visit!

Sunset from my suite? Yes, please!

Sunset from my suite? Yes, please!

Don't forget to bring your appetite!

Don’t forget to bring your appetite!

Castello di Velona truly offers a full service escape, as uncomplicated and endless as the winding Tuscan roads that lead to it.