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This story was published before Summer 2021, when we launched our new digital experience.

Europe’s Best One-Room Spa

At Borgo Santo Pietro, a 35-minute drive from Siena, Italy, small is beautiful. The new 11-room hotel, owned by Danish fashion designer Jeanette Thottrup and her husband, Claus, is impeccable: Thirteen acres of lush gardens are filled with flower-laden pergolas, box hedging, and fountains. Inside the 13th-century villa, tables draped in fine linens groan under the weight of jars of homemade jams. A world-class wine cellar complements artful cuisine by Thomas Brieghel, a 28-year-old Dane whom Thottrup snapped up from the small town of Svendborg.

But it’s the one-room spa here that hits the highest note. Occupying a light-filled garden room overlooking the lawn and open countryside, the spa has been a work of passion. It offers a vast panoply of treatments, from Ayurveda to shiatsu to cellulite therapies using the Mediterranean-inspired Italian brand Comfort Zone—in other words, the menu here feels as if it belongs to a full-service destination spa in Arizona or Thailand. Two therapists are available, each with a specific area of expertise. Masseuse Samantha Pindo Macario previously worked at Courmayeur ski resort in northern Italy and shares the owner’s predilection for all-natural antiaging facials. The treatments here cost about 15 percent less than the five-star average, which makes a full day of meaningful pampering seem all the more acceptable. “There’s nothing that annoys me more than some of the prices spas now charge,” says Thottrup.

Chef Brieghel’s cuisine, while hardly for the calorie-conscious, features garden-fresh vegetables, homemade pastas, soups, and seafood. “It’s about tasting foods again,” he says, “simple, clean flavors. To me healthy meals aren’t about deprivation; they’re about what makes your mouth water and helps you feel alive again.” Because of the relatively tiny number of guests at Borgo Santo Pietro, Brieghel caters to food intolerances, rethinking dishes as they’re requested. For travelers tired of megalithic spa resorts, cookie-cutter salads, and the same old monobrands, this is a great place to book a quiet, health-focused, and characterful Italian holiday. Rooms, from $400; spa treatments, from $65; 39-0577/751-222;


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