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Italy: Restored 16th Century Palazzo, 'Grand Universe Lucca, Autograph Collection' opens its doors

The hotel opens its doors after a multi-million-pound renovation, restoring the hotel to its ancient glowing splendour

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.

“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