Properties / Hotels

Italy’s Palazzo Seneca is titled Hotel of the Year in 2017

Set in the tranquil countryside of Norcia, the restored 16th-century palace boasts elegant accommodations, authentic local cuisine and sincere hospitality.

Aug 29, 2017 | By Pameyla Cambe

Image courtesy of Palazzo Seneca’s official Instagram.

The next time you’re in the countryside of Umbria to sample some of Italy’s finest black truffles, you might want to check into the Palazzo Seneca. Take it from the folks at luxury travel network Virtuoso, who have just named the quaint boutique hotel its Hotel of the Year in 2017.

The luxury villa sits in the historical centre of Norcia, with an unassuming façade of old stone that masks all the modern elegance that lies behind its doors. The contemporary interior that greets unsuspecting guests is just one of the many transformations that the restored 16th-century palace has undergone since its acquisition by the Bianconi family in 2002. Now, the luxury boutique hotel boasts 24 rooms, composed primarily of impeccable marble bathrooms, hand-carved four-poster beds and gorgeous wood furnishings fashioned by local artisans.

The palazzo still bears traces of its royal past, however, with charming features such as flagstone and terracotta-tiled floors and beamed ceilings left intact. (That is only to be expected of any member of the Relais & Chateaux, an exclusive club of independent properties that includes historic landmarks, castles and manors in bucolic settings.)

The in-house Vespasia restaurant serves a polished take on Italian cuisine, offering the finest of the local culinary heritage (truffles, hams and porcini mushrooms) with gourmet twists such as foie gras and caviar.

The grandeur of the hotel is complemented by the friendly, personal service of the hotel staff, most of which have worked for the Bianconi family for years. Perhaps it was this that solidified Palazzo Seneca’s position in the eyes of the industry leaders and travel professionals who had cast their votes at Virtuoso’s 11th annual Best of the Best awards held in Las Vegas on August 16.

During the 29th edition of Virtuoso Travel Week, a panel of some 16,000 travel advisors also declared the famous Bar Hemingway at the Ritz Paris as the Best Bar, a title that puts the bar on par with the legendary novelist that it is named after. Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown also got off to a good start by snagging the title of Best Virtuoso Newcomer.

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