I have found a little paradise on a peninsula on the Tuscan coast – Hotel Il Pellicano in Porto Ercole. To reach the hotel you will first cross the bridge over to the Monte Argentario peninsula, and then follow the breathtaking Via Panoramica coastal road winding along the cliffside with amazing views to the sea and overlooked by a network of fortresesses perched high on the hills around the pensinsula. The last drop down to the hotel is on a narrow road and even upon arrival to the hotel it’s hard to imagine the magnificent view that is about to open up when you walk through the entrance of the hotel, and step out onto the terraces beyond.
There was a time in my life when the hotels I stayed in on my road trips were ‘the best I could afford’ and that wasn’t much – and mainly because of that thrifty budget I have some experiences when things didn’t go as planned, such as being left completely on my own in a big bed & breakfast in Romania (it was out of season, and the owners didn’t live there themselves, so I had a huge empty house for myself… in the middle of nowhere), or arriving at a hotel in the evening after check-in hours and being forced to sleep in the car.
Times change. Now if given the choice I’d rather stay at home than go and stay in an ‘alright’ hotel, unless it’s for a very good reason – an event, a remote mountain hotel with spectacular scenery, or just a beautiful place where there are no decent hotels – because those places do exist too. You won’t run into that problem in Tuscany though, because Tuscany is the home to some of Italy’s most beautiful and exclusive luxury hotels, and one of them – probably now my favourite one – is sitting on a cliff overlooking the Tyrrhenian sea.
In a sapphire blue Porsche 911 Carrera that Porsche delivered to us from Germany for a road trip, our adventure through Italy began. First, we wanted to spend a few days in Tuscany, and after that a few days in the French Alps – the perfect blend of enjoying the fine things in life such as nice hotels and good food, as well as conquering mountain passes because, well, that’s what you do if you have the keys to a 911. I had two five star hotels booked in Italy that I wanted us to stay in – both of them now our recommended and very popular hotels on Colcorsa‘s Tuscany & Porto Ercole luxury driving holiday – and our first stop in the itinerary was this almost hidden seaside gem.
Few places leave me speechless, but the view from Il Pellicano did exactly that. Sometimes you stay in a hotel and think ‘if I had a hotel, I’d want it to be like this’ – well if I had a hotel, I wish it could be in a place like Il Pellicano. In the evening we sat on the terrace in the candlelight overlooking the sea, eating some of the most amazing food I’ve ever had, browsing through a winelist that looked more like a bible to me – page after page of some of the world’s most coveted bottles and even wine from places as unusual as Israel. If you don’t think you can spend a fortune on wine I recommend a visit to the restaurant at Il Pellicano – it looks easy, really easy. The staff were very professional and friendly – as a nice touch the ladies wore beautiful uniforms with a blue satin bow, designed by the hotel’s CEO and creative director Marie-Louise Scio – and Il Pellicano had a very homely feeling to it. You’re in someone else’s place, yet it feels like it could be your home.
Before sunrise we were already down on the hotel´s private beach that can be reached by sinuous steps or by an elevator carved out of the rocks – how James Bond is that? – to capture the golden hour, and it was just as breathtaking as I imagined it would be. Rarely are our sunrise photo shoots followed by a dip in the pool and an amazing breakfast – usually we’re freezing up on a high mountain, and can’t wait to get back to the car so we can put the heating on full and drive straight back to the hotel – but this morning we were able to indulge in leisure, eat way too much chocolate from the breakfast buffet, and grab a glass of wine down to the beach for one last moment of complete relaxation before it was time to hit the road again.
We did not want to leave – if we wouldn’t have had the next hotel booked I’m sure we would have extended our stay – and we absolutely cannot wait to return to explore the area more. I want to visit the other town on Monte Argentario – Porto Santo Stefano, the fortresses, take a boat trip to the Cala dei Santi cove and the nearby small island Isola del Giglio in the Tuscan archipelago, paddle board in the bay with crystal clear water, watch many sunrises and sunsets – the list goes on.
In my opinion you haven’t seen the best of Tuscany if you haven’t been to Il Pellicano yet – it’s just as beautiful as in the pictures, if not better.