Grand Hotel Continental
If you’re looking for an up-close look at history in the Renaissance city of Siena, there’s no better place to lay your head than at this gem of a hotel, set in a 17th-century Baroque palace called Palazzo Gori Pannilini, originally built by Chigi Pope Alexander VII. Thanks to a recent top-to-bottom renovation, the splendor of the 51 rooms and suites, some set in the property’s medieval tower, is visible at every turn, but the public spaces are the most inspiring: the terracotta lobby features a travertine stone staircase, restored 17th-century balustrades, and a giant gilded 19th-century clock that chimes on the hour. Oversize glass and metal doors open onto the Winter Garden, a sunroom filled with ferns and soft light. Inside this airy space is Sapordivino, the hotel’s wine bar and restaurant, offering classic Tuscan cuisine such as ribollita, a traditional bean soup, and house-made pici pasta—best paired with a bottle of the region’s Tenuta San Guido.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.