An undiscovered pocket of lush Mediterranean greenery, surrounded by crystal-clear waters – the Monte Argentario peninsula is a real hidden gem on the Maremma coast in Tuscany. Augusto Orsini knows the area well, with fond memories of the childhood holidays he spent here with his siblings. It’s no surprise then that when he set out to create one of the finest golf resorts in Italy that he should return to Argentario. ’It’s very rural here, with lovely countryside and a beautiful landscape,’ Augusto tells us as we gaze out across a valley of cork-oak trees and ancient olive groves, with the Orbetello Lagoon shimmering in the distance like a disk of beaten silver.
Perched amongst this gorgeous scenery, Argentario Golf Resort and Spa offers a unique getaway, both for golfers and those who simply want to immerse themselves in nature. The landscape was foremost in the minds of the hotel’s designers. ‘The concept for this building was based around nature,’ Augusto explains, ‘all these windows and terraces mean that there is always a communication between inside and outside.’ Nowhere is this more evident than in the hotel’s magnificent entrance hall, where enormous glass windows create a sense that the cobalt-blue sky and emerald greenery is as much a part of the design as the bold limestone façade and natural stone paving. ‘The nature and the attention for the environment was very important,’ Augusto explains, ‘because the building is integrated with nature, we don’t use chemicals and everything is recycled.’ Equally important are the stylish, contemporary pieces that make up Milanese designer Andrea Fogli’s sophisticated interiors. ‘The concept was to recreate a place where people could feel at home,’ Augusto says, ‘It’s a bit untraditional, as we didn’t follow the usual hotel standards’. Pieces such as Marcel Wanders’ porcine-shaped tables in the lounge and Patricia Urquiola’s furry chairs in the main hall follow this playful, non-traditional approach, and all of the furnishings were personally chosen by Augusto himself.
The quirky, atypical nature of Argentario can perhaps be explained by the fact that Augusto first set out to create a world-class golf course, rather than a hotel. As Augusto explains, he and his father wanted to bring golfing to the region where they had spent so many happy holidays. The 18-hole golf course and driving range were designed by architect David Mezzacane, working together with professional golfer Baldovino Dassù. The course takes full advantage of the varied terrain of Monte Argentario, from the watery lagoon area to lush vegetation. Because of the peninsula’s microclimate, golfers can enjoy a temperate climate throughout the year and, in a demonstration of the hotel’s commitment to environmental sustainability, the course has been awarded an ‘Agri Cert’ certification for its eco-compatibility.
However, it’s not just about golf, Augusto tells us. ‘During the summer, we get a lot of families coming for their holidays because we have a beach club with beds and a restaurant. There’s also horse riding and biking, and so many other things to do in the area.’ The hotel’s position on the Monte Argentario peninsula makes for a unique beachside holiday, Augusto says. ‘There are so many natural beaches and little bays all around where you can go, with no one around. Because it’s a peninsula, on one side you have a lagoon with sandy beaches and then on the other side it’s the sea’. In the winter months, the hotel is popular for its Espace Spa, perfect for unwinding after an active day. The cavernous, monochromatic space features a mirror-like indoor pool, sauna, chromotherapy and a steam room. Take advantage of a range of pampering massages and treatments, including programmes organised by the hotel’s medically qualified MediSpa team.
Augusto and his team are eager to encourage guests to explore the surrounding countryside and villages. ‘Most of the staff are from here, so they know the area,’ Augusto explains, ‘They always share stories and local recommendations with the guests – the hidden places, a recipe or somewhere they simply shouldn’t miss.’ The region is well-known for its organic produce and fine wines, and much of this makes its way into the hotel’s Dam Dam Restaurant, named after a species of fallow deer that roams freely in the surrounding woodland. The restaurant believes in a ‘Kilometre Zero’ philosophy, a commitment to source all of the ingredients from the local area. ‘The area itself is famous for its organic produce,’ Augusto notes. ‘There are lots of small companies producing organic wine, vegetables, meat and fish nearby. All of the restaurant’s produce comes from the area, and we try to be as local as possible.’
It’s a testament to Augusto’s vision that Argentario Golf Resort and Spa attracts approbation from golfers and non-golfers alike. Running through every aspect of this extraordinary getaway is a commitment, first and foremost, the stunning natural beauty that so captivated Augusto and his family when he was younger, coupled with a laid-back, welcoming spirit. ‘Whilst it’s very much a luxury hotel in design, at the same time it is very authentic and that’s what people like,’ he tells us. ‘We get a lot of guests coming from the big cities who are stressed. When they arrive here, they can just enjoy being in the nature.’