Saturday, July 1, 2017

Palas Cerequio: A gem of a hotel in the La Morra (Piemonte, Italy) hills

We had had a wonderful couple of days in Milan and were now headed out to Piemonte: a return to favored stomping grounds for Parlo and me, a brand new adventure for Ron and Bev. We were staying at Palas Cerequio, the Michele Chiarlo resort in La Morra, as Il Boscareto, our first choice, was fully booked. That turned out to be a blessing in disguise as the locale and the degree of personal service provided at Palas Cerequio was unparalleled.

Upon arrival, while the spouses checked in, Ron and I repaired to the outside bar and ordered a bottle of Champagne. We were soon joined by the ladies.

Jayne getting us started off on the right foot
While we were drinking our bubbles, hotel staffers were unloading our luggage. I looked on with great sympathy as Ron and Bev normally travel with enough luggage to stay away from home for a year if need be.

The rooms in the establishment are all suites: on a single floor in the older section, and two-stories in the newer portion. My wife was a little skeptical of the two-level arrangement at first but quickly got used to it. I was especially enamored of the two-storey shower and an 18-foot stream of water.

The husband and wife -- Roberto and Jayne Stroppiana -- who manage the hotel are the dream team. Thoughtful, timely, willing, fountains of knowledge, crafters of the greatest breakfasts ever, tolerant of our late-night shenanigans; these guys are keepers.

Looking out at the surrounding vineyards from the hotel
On the Monday we visited Gaja and Rinaldi and then came back to the hotel for dinner which was accompanied by four bottles from the in-house cellar. The dining room has historically only served meal's to hotel guests but they have now opened it up to outsiders. The Chef's lunch and dinner creations are worthy of a trip.

After the first day we fell in love with Jayne's breakfasts. She made a uniquely fluffy fried egg and the bacon kept us coming back.

At breakfast Roberto or Jayne would try to understand what our plans were for the day and were always ready with meal suggestions grounded in the areas where we would be tasting. On many an occasion we would call from the road and tell them that we had decided to take them up on a suggestion and they would make a reservation while we were in transit.

There is not a lot of parking space at the front of the hotel so when I parked there, I left the keys at the front desk. One morning we came down at our normal time and Jayne smilingly mentioned that she had had to keep the kids home from school that day because our vehicle had blocked the car in. Further, it had been her day to take the neighbor's kids to school. I was mortified. Especially so in that I had left the key in the office to protect against such an eventuality. That information had not been transmitted to her by the office.

If you are looking to burn off calories from the day before, you have a choice of walking uphill from the hotel to La Morra (I found this rather taxing) or down through the vineyards to the town of Barolo below.

La Morra from the road leading down to the hotel
In addition to its intrinsic qualities, the hotel is strategically located in terms of access to the wineries and restaurants of the region. You will not regret a decision to stay here.

©Wine -- Mise en abyme

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