Giant amphorae filled with multi-colored flowers greeted me upon entering the lobby of Hotel Cala Del Porto. Located amidst picturesque pine forests leading down to the Tyrrhenian Sea in the Maremma region of southern Tuscany, the hotel is an eclectic combination of rustic and modern furnishings with terracotta floors.
A member of Relais & Châteaux, the Art Deco Hotel Cala Del Porto—one of nine luxury properties in the Baglioni Collection—has 37 rooms. Our first-floor accommodation featured a private terracotta-tiled balcony bordered by red roses. It is furnished with soft-backed armchairs and overlooks the lagoon-style swimming pool, the marina and the rocky islands beyond. Light and airy, the room’s interior is dominated by a gleaming white-tiled floor with green and blue floral motif and lime and gray wallpaper.
Cala Del Porto is home to two restaurants in diverse settings, both offer fine views over the Bay of Follonica. The Belvedere, on the ground floor, offers a romantic setting on its terrace facing the sea with palm and pine trees swaying in the warm breeze. Under the guidance of Executive Chef Giuseppe Angelucci, it has both a daily special and an à la carte menu. While seafood items on the former were tempting, my companion and I opted for the latter and combined the epicurean pleasures of both land and sea.
The menu is heavily influenced by the Mediterranean, with fresh seafood aplenty. Our pasta dish came al dente with a generous mix of clams, tender and served in their shells. We enjoyed lamb steak enriched by artichokes, radishes and topped with a drizzled red wine sauce. Chocolate moelleaux can be a tricky dessert to get right, but luckily the pastry chef knew exactly what he was doing.
La Spiaggia restaurant located beside the hotel’s nearby private beach offers lunches and dinners, with both indoor and outdoor seating options. Cocktails are impressive here with selections such as the Shanty, consisting of gin, lime juice, ginger effusion and grapefruit liquor; and Panerosa, which contains a mix of lime juice, melon liquor, green apple liquor, curaçao and vodka. The menu is varied, ranging from ravioli with local pecorino cheese and potato dumplings to crispy fried fish, steamed mussels and clams.
Beside La Spiaggia is the hotel’s La Vela Beach Club, which features a 1,399-square-foot wellness area with solarium, Turkish bath, massage treatment rooms and an outdoor fitness center, with personal trainer and physiotherapist Enrico Pasquini offering his expertise. Activities in and around the hotel include tennis, horseback riding, sailing, wakeboarding and waterskiing. For golf aficionados, the property has preferred green fee rates at the local par 72, Punta Ala International Club, a mere five-minute’s drive away. The hotel can also arrange for boat excursions to the Formiche, Giglio, Giannutri and Elba islands, with scuba diving opportunities.
As Tuscany is well known for its thermal baths dating back to the ancient Etruscans, staff at the Cala del Porto also organize trips to several of them, including Calidario, Sasseta, Il Tombola and Saturnia. For wine and food lovers, visit the Rocca di Frassinello Le Mortelle or Petra vineyards and take a tour of the Tanda cheese factory powered by geothermal energy. Short, easy drives bring one to places such as Castiglione della Pescaia with its ancient Aragon castle; the hilltop Massa Marittima with its 13th century Palazzo Pretorio and its Fonte dell’ Abbondanza granting insights into Medieval life; as well as Roselle with its late Roman baths, amphitheater and Etruscan walls. Children are well catered to as well with two Kids’ Clubs.
Hotel Cala Del Porto epitomizes a quiet, elegant coastal retreat off the main Tuscany tourist trail. It is so quiet the magic of fireflies fills the evening sky outside, yet it is within easy reach of regional attractions and offers enough culinary choice to satisfy most palates.