Last month, I put up my OOO for my two-week honeymoon. First stop: Tuscany. Is a Tuscan honeymoon a total cliche? Indeed. But as my new legal spouse and I drove up the winding dirt road to Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco amid a fleet of vintage convertibles, my insecurities grew distant fast. If this place is good enough for the weddings of Kate Upton and Justin Verlander as well as Caroline Wozniacki and David Lee, it is 1000% good enough for me. I may not have entered holy matrimony at this famed, celebrity-loved estate, but I’d heard tale that Castiglion del Bosco, owned by the Ferragamo family until earlier this year, is as heavenly as Tuscany gets. And that’s saying a lot.
What would make a property so magical the Ferragamo family would want to transform it into a luxury hotel? Bring to your mind the rolling hills of Tuscany — vineyards as far as the eye can see — and then an old castle upon one particular peak that seems to be visible no matter which road you wind down. It’s a summit so desirable, it’s been populated in some form or another since 600BC before becoming a village about 800 years ago. Yes, they restored a small town and transformed it into an entire luxury hotel. The former town priest’s house, for example, is now one of the restaurants and the old winery now houses several suites.
Today, the Rosewood hotel group runs the 42-suite and 11-villa Castiglion del Bosco (you may have heard of the famous Rosewood properties like Hotel de Crillon in Paris or The Carlyle in New York City) and features a 5,000-acre winery, the only private golfing in Italy, and a four-cabin spa with nearly 20 different body treatments. Naturally, after two flights and four hours traveling by car, I beelined for relief at the spa.
Blame my summer-long pre-wedding sober spell, but the treatment on my mind was their new 90-minute Divine Wine Red Wine Body Ritual (€300). According to the site, they hand you a glass of wine at the end of a wine oil-infused body massage, which is precisely the kind of wellness culture I can really appreciate. In the treatment room, I found two massage tables. On the first one, I got completely scrubbed down from collarbone to toes — front and back — using a grape gel mixed with both sugar and salt crystals for about 30 minutes. After this, I hopped into the in-room shower to rinse off all the little granules before my next table experience. The effects of the scrub are like the circulation boost you get from dry brushing plus the exfoliation you get from body microdermabrasion, but with a dose of pre-rinse hydration I never knew I needed — this is from the olive pomace oil in the gel that soaks into your skin. Maybe everyone already knew this trick except me, but I’m only using body scrubs pre-shower from now on. My skin felt so soft and smooth.
Finally, the massage using red wine oil, which is a delicious gardeny scent and soft cushiony texture, and is also mixed with olive, grape seed, sunflower, and rosemary essential oils. I almost swiped the bottle as they don’t sell this concoction — I asked. As a beauty editor with well over a decade of experience, my expectations for a massage are admittedly lofty (I once got a massage in Costa Rica that was so amazing I felt high for 36 hours — a story for another time) but I look to body therapy as a way to get back in touch with my human vessel. This is when I spend time noticing how I feel, focusing on only my body, and letting someone else take the lead for a precious hour or more. It helps that you don’t really have much of a choice with your limbs preoccupied and a weight mask over your eyes. After nine months fiddling with various wedding to dos and planning what is supposed to be a once-in-a-lifetime trip, I was ready to just go blank. This was my real summit on this trip. In fact, a growing field called neurocosmetics points to a skin-brain relationship through which treatment of the skin can affect the mind, more than just the relief of releasing a knot.
At the end of the 90 minutes, I rolled off the treatment bed feeling free of the random unnecessary to-dos that stick to my brain like cobwebs as well as the travel aches and post-voyage puffiness. I met my partner for that aforementioned glass of Brunello di Montalcino at the restaurant patio, overlooking the garden from which they source their vegetables and herbs as well as a sweeping view of the valley below. With one of those woodfired pizzas on the way and another glass of wine to follow, I felt like Kate Upton, a soft fluffy gnocchi, and my old self all at once. And I’m not waiting for another honeymoon to feel it again.