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As you hopefully know by now, our anonymous reviewers stay incognito with their significant others then spill the secrets of their stay. Here, we introduce you to another member of the Mr & Mrs Smith family, designer Martha Freud…

Martha Freud visited an arty hotel in Versilia, Tuscany for us with her actual Mr Smith – director, Adam Smith – to review the Locanda al Colle for our new Italy guidebook. Mr & Mrs Smith Hotel Collection: Italy (£19.95, Spy Publishing) is available for purchase from 17 October at all good bookshops nationwide or direct from our shop.

With a past in the creative departments of the film and fashion industries, Martha set up her own company designing and making furniture and lighting. She was soon hailed as a ‘young meteor’ by Vogue, and one of the ‘rising stars of the UK’s creative industries’ by The Independent. Despite living in London her whole life, she has travelled much of the world, and only wishes that her cats enjoyed travelling it as much as she did.

Granddaughter of Clement Freud and the namesake of Sigmund Freud’s wife, Martha recently held an exhibition, Mixed Messages, in Camley Street Natural Park for the London Design Festival 2011, commemorating London Wildlife Trust’s 30th anniversary in this leafy two-acre park behind King’s Cross. The exhibition featured a display of her beautiful lighting, including delicate handmade porcelain foliage-inspired pendant lights, and ‘talking tealights’, which glowed sentences created out of etched words.

Locanda al Colle combines the best parts of a home and a hotel: there’s no reception desk or uniforms or paid bars, and the owner, Riccardo, has created an atmosphere of luxurious informality that never compromises the level of professionalism. He has cleverly arranged the nine bedrooms, giving each of them individual features so you can stay in one that seems tailor-made for you…

Riccardo has a great eye, and was buying up Grayson Perrys and Mark Francis pieces before the big gallerists. Over two decades spent travelling around Europe working in fashion, he has accumulated an exquisite and eclectic collection of furniture, re-upholstering chairs owned by Mussolini’s son-in-law to make them ‘less Fascist, more funky’. He’s filled the Locanda with these treasures, each piece beautiful in its own right, combining them seamlessly with the traditional Tuscan architecture to create a guesthouse that feels immaculate, every detail considered, but not so precious that you can’t run around trying out every armchair for size.

Read Martha’s full review of Locanda al Colle in Tuscany, or find more boutique hotels in Tuscany. Pictures above by Adam Smith.

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