Sextantio Albergo Diffuso

Sextantio Albergo Diffuso

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WINNER: THE ECO AWARD – SMITH HOTEL AWARDS 2013

Sextantio Albergo Diffuso is a brand new boutique concept: bits of the hotel are spread around a micro-village in the Italian Apennines. It’s a throw-back to the Middle Ages, with craftwork made by villagers, restoration-revived traditions and rustic simplicity maintaining the hilly hamlet’s mediaeval charm, but with modern luxury seamlessly incorporated.

Highlights:

  • Remote, restored village-hotel high in the Apennines

  • Local craftwork, including handmade rosemary soaps

  • 17th-century reclaimed wood and original mediaeval texts

Smith extra

Wine tasting on arrival; a tour of the village; and free mountain-bike and snowshoe hire. Members staying three nights or more also get dinner for two: a four-course tasting menu, including wine, water and coffee

In the know

Also need to know:

For the less mobile, some of this rustic site's cobbled steps and grassy slopes might be tricky to navigate.Stake out the library: a place of wooden beams and painted ceilings, where you can browse the odd ancient tome over afternoon tea.

Packing tips:

Dante and Petrarch verses to recite when the mediaeval mood takes over; mountain-friendly shoes and layers.

Dress code:

Humble hemp and cotton to match the ancient earthen surroundings.

Mr and Mrs Smith reviews

Two or three times a month I create a romantic meal for Mrs Smith – a few candles, a more-than-decent bottle of wine, and the best I can muster in the kitchen. It’s a way of shrugging off our day-to-day familiarity – but it has never worked this well before. As I arrange the culatello di Zibello on a platter, Mrs Smith stands close, clutching her glass with a mischievous grin. ‘Now, tell me,’ she says, once we’re seated and clinking glasses to our impending trip. ‘What’s this Tantric sex hotel you’re taking me to?’

‘Oh, it’s a surprise darling,’ I mutter. Taking a long sip of wine, I begin r

Accommodation details

Address:

Via Principe Umberto, Santo Stefano Sessanio, Abruzzo, 67020
Santo Stefano Sessanio
Italy

Location:

67.0 mi / 108.1 km from city centre

Dining information

Restaurant:

The hotel's private dining room, Locanda Sotto gli Archi, serves Abruzzese cuisine in a rustic 16th-century building. Lunch and dinner must be arranged with the hotel in advance, but it's worth thinking ahead if you want to try their traditional antipasti such as pork liver salami, prosciutto and the freshest ricotta. The speciality pasta of the area is also rustled up in the kitchens: strips of chitarrini are made using a guitar-shaped tool to shape the pasta sheets. A breakfast spread of home-made pastries, tarts and cakes is laid out in the bar every morning.

Top table:

Close to the huge fireplace when the mountain temperature drops.

Last orders:

Breakfast from 8am until 10.30am. Lunch and dinner are available in the hotel's private dining room, but must be arranged in advance with the hotel. The bar shuts at 11pm.

Room service:

None.

Hotel bar:

Head to La Cantinone in the cosy wine cellar for aperitifs and antipasti. If the local red doesn’t take your fancy, the digestifs will: try the bitter herb-based genziana, or the sweet cherry ratafia. There’s also the Liquorificio, where a selection of local liqueurs are offered, as well as benches with digestifs dotted around the communal areas.

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