Vacation treat

July 13, 2008

A few months ago, (Easter season in particular) as is the custom of Italians they usually go out of town briefly to relax and recharge. We were blessed to be treated by Franco to a 5 day all expenses paid get-away,we stayed in a splendid hotel called Hotel Santa Caterina which is right in the center of this small Tuscan town Chianciano terme (about 2 hours from Rome center)..I`ve been to several hotels in my lifetime, including some 5 star hotels in Las Vegas Nevada , or modest small hotel in Los Angeles. But I`ve never experienced a peculiar treatment like that of Hotel Santa Caterina Franco knows personally the family that manages this hotel(he even brought a box of artichokes as gift), and I had that impression that for this reason we were treated as special guests so to speak (Maybe it`s one of the reasons). They had a ready gift for my little daughter-a beautiful doll But then some other guests started coming, and they were welcomed in the same way we were welcomed with warm smiles,, cheerful handshakes and even hugs. I thought they must be special friends too of the hotel owners.The next few days saw additional guests being treated in the like manner and it seemed that either they were longtime friends relatives or part of the family. Eventually the hotel was fully occupied during our stay As it is a very splendid bed and beyond-breakfast holel, the stay is inclusive of meals (voluptuous, healthy and very delightful) which leaves each guest always both satisfied and full (maybe curious also for the recipe).Each meal course consists of special delectable Italian delicacies which vary from day from to day, from seafoods menu to meats and pasta, sweets or salads, fruits and vegetables. They have a corkboard at the dining room entrance displaying the menu for the next day and, if for some reason a guest would like to alter his meal they generously concede to the guest`s request (as what we have done for the sake of my little daughter for whom some food is not yet advisable considering her young age). Not once, have I heard compliments for the cooks (who are the hotel owners` son and daughter inlaw) who also come out of the kitchen every now and then to greet the guests or know the feedback---which always turns out to be positive. Also Andrea the other (hotel owners`) son shuffles between waiting (serving tables) and reception. On another night they also held bingo and we (my husband won almost three prizes in a row (he won, a set of truck toys , a steam iron and a bulky electric oven. For those who are fond of card games (without money bets) there are cards available. The hotel`s mother-owner has a cowgirl character with all the elegance and sweetness, she let us meet her beloved furry cat Ilaria who is a snob. She takes time to talk to each guest. She shared with us that she rises at 5am to do her housechores.take care of her husband. The father Amlet (Or Hamlet of Shakespeare) seemed to portray a house detective and Guest Relations Officer both rolled in one, nonetheless corteous and gentle. When the grandchildren (who are equally corteous and very beautiful physically or I might add characterially) dropped by they willingly introduced them to us, They willingly inform us of the peculiarities of the day`s itinerary like if there`s a scheduled sightseeing trip to nearby thermal baths turned-tourist attraction, or a brief trip to the nearby shoppingmall. They also conduct ballroom dancing with live band music, to the delight of everybody. Even my little child enjoyed it notwithstanding the lateness of the night. Furthermore, even the guests (almost everybody) seemed to be a part of the same circle of friends or, a part of the same family. Everyone greets everyone whether they are just sitting on the lobby, or entering or leaving the hotel.

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