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These may not be the best of times in which to be opening a new hotel but that hasn’t stopped Marriott from unveiling a new Autograph Collection property in Tuscany, Italy. The Grand Universe Lucca, a former 16th Century Palazzo, opened its doors yesterday and joins the Marriott Bonvoy program as a Category 4 property.
Lucca is a city that mixes medieval and Renaissance architecture at the base of the Apuan Alps. It’s under half an hour drive from Italy’s Versilia coast and the Grand Universe Lucca itself is just a half an hour’s drive from Pisa International Airport.
The hotel overlooks both the Piazza Napoleone and the Piazza Giglio in the center of town and is just steps away from the Chiesa dei Santi Giovanni e Reparata church and the historic Teatro del Giglio.
During the Renaissance, the building that now houses the Grand Universe Lucca was a Palazzo of the Paoli family and was originally transformed into a hotel in 1857 which then became famous for hosting poets, philosophers, and artists from around the world. Now, following a multi-million-pound renovation, the Grand Universe Lucca offers guests 55 rooms that have been brought into the 21st Century but the property still maintains historic features such as the existing wall foundations dating back to Roman times and the ancient glassblower’s fountain remnants in the cellar.
Here’s how Marriott has described the guestrooms at the Grand Universe Lucca:
Guestrooms showcase a unique blend of timeless style and contemporary sophistication. Silk and velvet textiles in earthy shades of grape red, pine green and Tuscan sun yellow, reflecting the city’s famous silk production heritage, meet modern wooden surfaces with gold detailing. Delicate wall tapestries pay reverence to the region’s vineyards, whilst refined, glass pendant lights pay homage to the property’s glassblowing history. Music, one of the hotel’s inherent pillars, is reflected in the name of each room category, from the ‘Piccolo Room’ to the ‘Puccini Suite’ after opera composer Giacomo Puccini, who was born in Lucca and a frequent visitor of the property.
The images below should give you more of an idea of what the property’s rooms offer.
From an amenities point of view, the hotel features a traditional Italian restaurant (‘Legacy’) serving local cuisine and fine wines, a rooftop Bar (Sommità) located at the property’s highest point and offering “artfully made cocktails and bites”, and a gym equipped with “the most modern Johnson Health Tech machines” that’s open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There’s also an area called the ‘Symphony Lounge’ but neither Marriott nor the hotel has provided details of what exactly this space is used for.
In addition to the standard amenities, Marriott says that the Grand Universe Lucca will introduce a number of “signature offerings” that, among other things, will include private cocktail classes with the hotel’s head mixologist and wine tastings of some of Tuscany’s most famous grapes.
As a Category 4 property, the Grand Universe Lucca costs just 20,000/25,000/30,000 Bonvoy Points (off-peak/standard/peak season) which means that it can be booked by the free night awards offered by Chase’s Marriott Bonvoy Boundless credit card and Amex’s Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card regardless of the season a stay falls into. Assuming that the images of the property paint a true picture, considering the hotel’s beautiful location, and considering that standard room rates can be as high as €420 ($515) during the busier times of the year, the Grand Universe Lucca could be a great place to spend Bonvoy Points or a free night certificate.
Marriott has just unveiled its latest addition to the Autograph Collection in the heart of Tuscany. With just 55 rooms the hotel should have a nice boutique feel and with an incredible amount of history, beautiful countryside, and a Mediterranean coast all on the doorstep, this may turn out to be one of the best additions to Marriott’s European portfolio this year.
Featured image courtesy of Marriott