Eremito Hotel (hermit in Italian), has only twin beds within its 14 rooms and is described as luxury for the solo travelers. The hotel was designed to look just the original Umbrian monasteries that date back 800 years ago. The property was designed for getting away, losing stress, reflecting and meditating, the way the monks did.
Marcello Murzilli, the visionary who spent four years designing and building Eremito, spent two years sailing around the ocean during a time when he was said to have been retired. Upon his return, he had a dream to build a new prototype for luxury on Mexico’s Costa Alegre. His first venture was Hotelito Desconocido, an environmentally-sensitive resort which means “little unknown hotel.” He then returned home to do something similar in the Umbrian hills.
The property is reached via a nine-mile dirt road. On the journey, your loss of cellphone service is an early indication of the type of experience that awaits at Eremito. Original Italian masonry from the 13th century was used to create the monastery hotel which includes a tiny chapel on the third floor. In the mornings, guests can even attend a Bible reading at 7:30 a.m. each day.
Carefully designed touches such as the figure of St. Francis in a lighted nook in one of the stone stairway walls, carved birds sitting on tree branches outside the windows and plaques with the names and paintings of actual monks who lived in this area over each bed decorate the property. A Gregorian chant rings throughout the hotel, making for a mood of reflection and calm.
Children are not permitted at Eremito because of the rules of silence, and couples can visit if they book separate rooms (although there are no nightly bed checks). My cell was named after St. Celestino, who lived from 1215 to 1296, and my husband’s was St. Bernardino, born in 1090 and died in 1153. Inside guestrooms there are no televisions or telephones, instead an LED light sits on nightstands for reading, and bathrobes resemble a hooded monk’s robe
The first floor is home to a spa, yoga room, steam room and hot tub. While candlelight and moonlight are the main sources of finding your way around the hotel at night, the environmentally-conscious, zero-footprint property uses a set of photovoltaic cells to heat the hot tub and warm up those floor stones from underneath. When it comes to meals, Eremito follows a healthy and moderate diet, only serving vegetarian dishes. The menu items highlight seasonal produce and homemade pastas and jams, and dinners are taken in silence.
The property sits alone in the midst of an enormous private reserve, so walking is a favorite activity here. Umbria is called the Land of Shadows, and in the evening it feels magically mysterious. It is as silent outside its walls as it is in. If you want to hang out in a hotel bar, you’ll have to make your way back to Rome; it’s doubtful that the nearest town of Fabbro-Ficulle, has anything resembling a pub.
Murzilli describes his venture as “Franciscan minimalism.” It certainly represents a new kind of experiential, mindful approach to luxury travel. Rates begin at $158 a night which includes three meals daily, wine and snacks.