New To Tuscany – Grand Universe Lucca, Autograph Collection

The highly anticipated, Grand Universe Lucca, Autograph Collection has opened its doors. The 55- guestroom boutique hotel, complete with nine unique suites, joins the diverse and dynamic portfolio of  close to 200 independent Autograph Collection Hotels around the world that champion values of vision,  design and craft. 

Known as the city of a hundred and one churches, Lucca is set in the heart of Tuscany, at the foot of the Apuan  Alps and less than half an hour drive from the wonderful Versilia coast. Overlooking two of the most  beautiful piazzas in Lucca, the hotel’s location is perfect for discovering the stunning city. Just steps away  are masterpieces of Medieval and Renaissance architecture including the Chiesa dei Santi Giovanni e  Reparata, historic Teatro del Giglio and the bustling landmark Piazza Napoleone.  

Previously a Palazzo of the Paoli family during the Renaissance, the site was originally transformed into a  unique hotel in 1857, which became famous for hosting poets, philosophers and artists from around the  world. Now, the hotel opens its doors to a new generation after a multi-million-pound renovation led by  Archea Associati S.r.l, restoring the hotel to its ancient glowing splendour. The hotel’s past lives on in the  present, with features including the existing wall foundations dating back to Roman times and the ancient  glassblower’s fountain remnants in the cellar.  

Read our guide to the best luxury hotels in Tuscany

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.  

Read our review of the Hotel Santo Mauro, Autograph Collection

In addition to showcasing the historic locale through the hotel’s interiors, Grand Universe Lucca, Autograph  Collection offers a traditional Italian restaurant Legacy, serving local cuisine accompanied by fine wines.  At the rooftop bar Sommitá, guests can enjoy a digestivo named after great personalities of the city along  with panoramic views of Cattedrale di San Martino and beyond. In the wine cellar Eterno, guests can take  part in private wine tasting sessions, set among the remnants of ancient artefacts, a nod to the hotel’s  journey through the ages.  

Grand Universe Lucca, Autograph Collection also introduces several signature offerings from private cocktail  classes with the hotel’s head mixologist, to wine tastings of some of Tuscany’s most famous grapes. For  a truly unique experience, guests can visit the Symphony Lounge to unlock their own theme song with the  ‘Prelude of Existence’ experience. Here the hotels composer will create a personalised Prelude, crafted to  reflect the guest’s personality. Upon special request, the music notation will be rolled and tied with a silk  ribbon, placed inside a cylinder glass capsule engraved with the phrase “from here to eternity”, and stored  in a Tuscan leather box – a symbolic token of the stay in Lucca.

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