Tenuta San Pietro, Design hotel close to Lucca.

Four years ago this beautiful and unique hotel opened up in the hills above Lucca in Tuscany. It was a collaboration between a Norwegian investment couple (Stange kylling) and the famous chef, Dag Tjersland. The idea, standard and design of this hotel and restaurant are quite different from most of the other ones you find in Italy, because it is more minimalistic and modern. This goes for both the interior of the hotel and the food in the restaurant. When they opened up, Anders Haavik from Lillehammer, Norway, was in charge of the restaurant, and he did a brilliant job. He could create the most wonderful dish in just a few minutes, or set up a spectacular menu for several days.

Today the hotel is still owned by the Norwegian couple, but both of the chefs are out of the picture. A great loss for Tenuta san Pietro. It still has the spectacular view, the very cool rooms and suits and the Norwegian imported beds, pillows and comforters, but the restaurant isn´t even close to deliver what it used to do.

The first time I visited this place, we were only two guests with a baby each. Every morning, lunch and dinner they offered us freshly baked bread, which tasted nothing like the bread Italian restaurants and hotels usually offers. It was heavenly. Also, every morning we got two big jugs of freshly squeezed orange and melon juice. No, in the mornings, we were served two different types of juices, both from concentrate, and not very good. The bread tasted like all the other boring bread that are served in this country, and the egg was boiled twice as long as it should have.

The dinner we had one of the nights was also a disappointment. I may be a bit spoiled after spending nearly three weeks on the road visiting some amazing restaurants in France and Chianti, but I still think they tried to hard to keep up with the initial idea to make creative Italian cuisine. And failing. But if you order some traditional Italian dishes, outside the menu, like pasta pomodoro (tomato) and caprese, it is very good. Another thing with the restaurant that I could have managed without was the fast pace. They served us so fast. They came out running with new utensils and plates as soon as we finished, or sometimes even before.

The front office service, though, was very good! And I want to recommend the hotel, because I love it very much, the design is perfect, the view is to die for, the pool is lovely and I want to come back. But I would go somewhere else for dinner.

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