Shaner Italia has officially opened The Grand Universe Lucca in Tuscany, Italy, as the 200th Autograph Collection Hotel. In its enviable position overlooking Piazza del Giglio and Piazza Napoleone, Grand Universe Lucca pairs its history as a 16th-century palazzo built on Roman foundations with masterful forward-thinking design features. The renovated building now comprises 55 rooms and suites, a fine-dining restaurant, a lounge area with classical piano, a rooftop bar with views over the city and a wine-tasting cellar set among remnants of an ancient wall.
Meanwhile, the interiors blend timeless elegance with contemporary comfort, incorporating silk textiles in earthy shades of red, green and yellow to reflect Lucca’s silk heritage, wall tapestries paying homage to the region’s vineyards and pendant lights referencing the property’s glassblowing history. The name of each room type, from Adagio to Maestro, also reflects the city’s musical pedigree.
“Grand Universe Lucca will be a historical beacon blending different eras of history, from antiquity until today, with all of the comforts of a luxury hotel,” 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 culture, as well an alternative for travellers with a newly developed affection for less-crowded cities with equally enriching experiences.”
Connecting guests to local culture
The site’s renovation takes inspiration from its colourful past, including the transformation from magisterial palazzo to the 1857-opened Hotel Universo e Tosca. This legendary hotel was a popular destination for royals, poets, philosophers and artists, not least opera composer Giacomo Puccini who stayed between performances at Teatro del Giglio. And the adjacent Piazza Napoleone has long been a cultural gathering place for artists, with the Lucca Summer Festival hosted here each year.
To also give guests a taste of the city’s culinary heritage, the hotel will offer gastronomic experiences ranging from pasta workshops to honey and olive-oil tasting, as well as wine-tasting sessions focusing on Tuscan appellations. Dining venues inside the hotel include Symphony Lounge with live piano performances, Legacy Restaurant focusing on local recipes, Sommita Rooftop Bar and Eterno Wine Cellar.
Elsewhere, guests can make use of the onsite Forte Gym, take out a cruiser bike, which is complimentary for the first 60 minutes, and explore the history of what’s been dubbed the City of 100 Churches.
Grand Universe Lucca is owned by Marcucci Group and Shaner Italia and operated by Shaner Ciocco. Shaner Corporation is the developer, owner and operator of 53 properties across four countries, with ten more under construction. Grand Universe Lucca is Shaner’s second property in Italy, following on from Renaissance Tuscany Il Ciocco Resort & Spa in Barga.