The 55-guestroom boutique hotel, Grand Universe Lucca, Autograph Collection, has opened its doors and joins the portfolio of almost 200 independent Autograph Collection Hotels across the world.
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’s 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.
The site was originally transformed into a unique hotel in 1857. 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. Many features of the original structure remain, such as existing wall foundations dating back to Roman times and the ancient glassblower’s fountain which remains in the cellar.
“Grand Universe Lucca will be a historical beacon blending different eras of history” said Georges Midleje, regional managing director for Shaner Properties in Italy. “Our unique location in the magical city of Lucca offers a unique perspective on Tuscany’s rich historic and culinary cultures.”
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.
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.
“We are delighted to expand our offering of one-of-a-kind hotels in Italy, and our debut in the charming city of Lucca,” said Jenni Benzaquen, vice president, brand, EMEA, Marriott International. “Grand Universe Lucca is unique jewel in the stunning city and Autograph Collection Hotels’ independent spirit is the perfect fit for the hotel’s next chapter.”
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 hotel’s 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.
Opening rates at Grand Universe Lucca, Autograph Collection start from £226. Visit autographcollection.com for more information.