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Travel Giant TUI Goes Ultra Luxe In Tuscany

In the world of travel, TUI is a giant, with some 55,000 employees moving some 30 million travelers a year from some 30 countries to their vacations, often on charter flights. It is also a name elite travelers may want to now know.

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Located in the heart of Tuscany, Toscana Resort Castelfalfi is one of Italy’s most unique renovation and regeneration projects; an 800 year-old hamlet being “brought sensitively back to life” by none other than Crawley, the English behemoth.

The luxury development will feature renovated farmhouses across over 2,700 acres.  There will be apartments that have been refurbished to state-of-the-art standards and new construction villas, townhouses and apartments set around several villages.

TUI promises “Castelfalfi is set to become the ultimate residential destination for those seeking to own a slice of authentic Italian lifestyle.”

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Amenities include a 27-hole golf course and a myriad of leisure facilities, restaurants, bars, boutiques and shopping, all 40 minutes from Pisa and an hour from Florence.

An 800-year old Tuscan village, Castelfalfi has risen and fallen multiple times throughout its history. First inhabited by the Etruscans 2,500 years ago, Castelfalfi flourished with the rise of Florence in the 13th century when its castle and village were built. During the Florence-Siena war in 1554, the village was pillaged; Castelfalfi enjoyed another prosperous period in the 18th century as a municipality under the peaceful administration of Montaione.

The village also seemed fated for success at the beginning of the 20th century when a tobacco factory was built, resulting in the development of roads leading into the village. However, the rural exodus in the 1960s took with it all but five residents and in the early 1980s Castelfalfi was put up for sale by local authorities. Despite international interest, Castelfalfi remained a dormant ‘sleeping beauty’ until 2007, when TUI acquired it.

Below is a description of the accommodation options:

Hotel La Tabaccaia: The factory that dried tobacco for Tuscan cigars has been given new life as a three-star, 31-room boutique hotel and is the first of a trio of hotels planned for development.  Hotel La Tabaccaia is situated at the Pontedera entrance of the estate and was restored using traditional materials, colors and style of the region. Each of the charming rooms is Tuscan in design, boasting restored oak wood beams and tiled ceilings dating back to the building’s original construction.  A modern reflection of the hotel’s rich past, furnishings promise comfort and enhance the modest yet stylish décor. Rooms and suites feature complimentary Wi-Fi, a 32-inch LCD TV, air conditioning and marble bathrooms with rain-showers. The hotel also has three meeting rooms that can accommodate intimate groups of up to 12 persons.

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In the works: A 120-room, five-star property with a spa and rooftop restaurant is slated for completion in 2016. The new hotel will be fully integrated with the landscape and local materials such as stone, wood, terracotta will be utilized.

Restored apartments and villas on the market: Within the village, historic buildings house a total of 41 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments and villas located in three structures – La Terrazza 1, La Terrazza 2 and La Ghialla. The apartments feature large, open kitchens, dining and sitting areas. Many of the apartments have a private garden, roof terrace and sweeping vistas of the Tuscan hills. La Terraza, which is comprised of two connected historic houses, is located in the heart of the village between the 12th century Church of St Florian and the Castle. The 300-year-old La Ghialla, at the south end of the village, offers magnificent views of the golf course and the ancient hill town of Volterra.

Many special features and modern design elements have been added including:

• Natural stone, terracotta or oak flooring

• Underfloor heating and cooling

• Miele brand appliances in the kitchens

• Matt travertine marble, glass and Hans Groher rains showers in bathroom

Golf Villas: Seven villas along the edge of the fairways are under development and construction will begin after the real estate is sold. Two golf villas were completed in January 2014. Owners of the villas will become part of the Castelfalfi Estate, benefitting from management service and the estate’s facilities.

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The Casali: The 18 expansive country villas – traditional Tuscan Casali (farmhouses) – are available for purchase, resort stays and luxury rentals. Buyers will work with the developer to plan the renovation of their property, creating truly bespoke luxury homes tailored to each owner’s specifications. Nestled among rolling hills, extensive greens and wine-producing vineyards of the estate, the Casali range from 3,000 to 15,000 square feet in size, and each plot of land will include an outdoor swimming pool. One of the country villas will be divided into smaller residences/apartments with communal gardens and pool areas.

The website is www.castelfalfi.it