MAREMMA, Italy – Although at this point nothing along the Italian coastline can count as a secret anymore, there are pockets that are more frequented by Italians than foreigners. Like Punta Ala, the Tuscan beach town in Maremma, just over two hours from Florence and three from Rome. It's a little tip of land that juts into the sea, surrounded on the north, west, and south by the sea and to the east by pine trees as far as the eye can see. That island you see on the horizon? It's Elba.
I visited the area in the off-season as a guest of Baglioni Resort Cala del Porto in Punta Ala and was immediately charmed. I love a trip where everything seems to be reduced to a few elements, in this case colors: blue (sea and sky), green (forests, forests, and more forests), and white (all those gleaming sailboats in the harbor).
My time here was a whistle-stop visit on a week-long media visit to select Baglioni Hotels — Hotel Regina in Rome, Relais Santa Croce in Florence, and Hotel Carlton in Milan. And we packed it in: We toured the stunning Renzo Piano-designed Rocca di Frassinello winery, ate great meals at the hotel's restaurant and beach club, and spent a sunny day on a boat exploring the coast line.
Rates change seasonally and typically start at £276 per night for rooms and go up for suites. It's best to book directly with the hotel to get the best rates and service, or if you want to leave the planning to us, contact the Fathom Travel Desk and you won't have to lift a finger planning your trip.
Punta Ala is a seaside resort area in Maremma on the Tuscan coast. I say “town,” though there's really not much around. A boat ride along the coast confirms that but for a few hotels, there are more trees than people around here. And I have no problem with that.
If Milan and Nantucket had a love child, it would look like this hotel: Italian preppy with a nautical overlay. The textiles, in warm pastels of seafoam greens and lilacs, appear primarily in striped and floral patterns. The lobby living room is filled with sofas and armchairs to sink into. The terrific pool is rimmed by dramatic trees and overlooks the marina and the sea. This may be a luxury hotel, but it's comfortable and easy-going. Sophisticated, yes. Uptight, no.
This Place Is Perfect For
Frequent visitors to Italy who want to try something new, families, boat lovers who want easy access to a day at sea, active travelers who want to explore the surrounding parks and trails by bike or by hike.
But Not So Perfect For
Travelers who want a bustling scene.
What's on Site
The hotel sits on a hill overlooking the harbor and all those pretty sailboats. A large pool has the same view. The hotel's La Vela Beach Club is two kilometers away and accessible via hotel shuttle. La Vela (“the sail”) is shaped like a sailboat inside and out, a detail kids will love. Downstairs is the well-equipped gym with cardio machines and weights, floor-to-ceiling windows onto the beach, and an adjoining spa area with two treatment rooms. Upstairs, La Spiaggia restaurant serves an elegant or casual menu with indoor and outdoor seating. The long beach, like all good beaches in Italy, has sunbeds and umbrellas.
Food + Drink
Ristorante Belvedere, the hotel's excellent on-site restaurant, serves Mediterreanean cuisine. La Spaiggia at the beach club serves pastas and pizzas.
In the Room
My room was in the hotel's Gran Classic Room Garden View class. It had a small living room with a sofa and a desk, a generously sized bedroom and a large bathroom with a tub. There were not many bells and whistles in the room, but I didn't need any. The WiFi is excellent.
It's not necessarily a negative, but there weren't many intellectual activities, like museums, in the area. Then again, it's the beach, and you probably already had your fill of museums in Florence and Rome anyway.
My mind keeps returning to the image of trees silhouetted against the masts of the boats in the harbor.
At risk of belaboring the point, if you're not looking at the sea, you're surrounded by parks and forest areas.
What to Do Nearby
Get out into nature! The hotel can arrange boat trips, horseback riding, bike trips, hikes, and golf at nearby Golf Club Punta Ala.
We visited Rocca di Frassinello winery, notable not only for its wines, but also for the Renzo Piano-designed building, the dramatic barrel-filled amphitheater where lucky guests can occasionally attend concerts, and an interesting display of the Etruscan ruins the owners have unearthed on their land.
Good to Know
Like many Italian beach hotels, Punta Ala is only open seasonally, from May to September.