Set on a hillside below the town of La Morra in northwest Italy’s Piedmont region, Arborina Relais is a stunningly modern and luxurious hotel in a region that’s otherwise fairly traditional and rustic. The contrast makes the hotel all the more unique, and an ideal base for those who want to experience the “dolce vita” of a less-visited area of Italy—without sacrificing comfort and style.
From above, the hotel seems to come out of nowhere; as you round a curve, suddenly there are its black polished concrete gate and high walls. You wonder what awaits behind them, and as the gate slowly slides open, you see: a cobblestone courtyard framed by sleek brick, wood, and steel buildings covered in ivy, the hint of grapevines in the distance.
Guests are welcomed with a glass of sparkling wine and then shown to their rooms. There are only a dozen, and they’re all located on two levels of the building on the right; each one has a patio or balcony that looks over the vineyards or the rolling hills below. In addition to those private outdoor spaces attached to each room, there are several communal outdoor spaces: lounge chairs among the vines, and expansive decks with plush couches and sun umbrellas.
The building also contains a small spa, sauna, and a wine bar—a large communal table surrounded by vintage bottles where guests can schedule private tasting sessions.
Across the courtyard, there’s a two story building that houses the Michelin-starred Osteria Aborina restaurant and a more casual grill. It’s also where the daily breakfast—which includes pastries, meats, cheeses, and eggs cooked to order—is served. Behind the restaurant building, there’s a modestly sized pool that’s bordered on one side by grapevines.
While the grounds of the hotel are beautiful, the rooms themselves are equally inviting, with a sleek black-and-grey color palate, double beds with Simmons mattresses; a mini-kitchen with sink, coffee and tea maker, and minibar; and a well-equipped bathroom with rain shower.
There was ample closet space, a flat-screen TV, and a box that contained a plush robe, supersoft slippers,and large pool towels.
And of course, there were spectacular views over the rolling hills and vineyards of Piedmont’s Langhe wine region. The hotel offers plenty of services, too: they’ll arrange weddings, babysitting, wine tastings, picnics, yoga lessons, cooking classes, wine tours, and bike and car rentals. And when it’s time to leave, it’s just a 5-10 minute drive to several of the regions top restaurants, wineries, and towns like Barolo, Barbaresco, and Novello.
For romantic wine-centric trip to Piedmont, Arborina Relais is a perfect base. With superb service, ultra-stylish design, and an excellent location, it delivers style and luxury in the heart of northern Italy’s wine country.
If you go: Room rates start at 260 euros per night and include breakfast and on-site covered parking. You can also compare rates and book through Expedia.