The Lowdown Despite becoming a tourist hotspot over the last few years, the Puglia region of Italy, with its centuries-old olive trees and unspoilt beaches, still manages to boast a unique, untouched charm.
Located on Italy's "heel", halfway between the bustling cities of Brindisi and Bari, the quietly elegant Borgo Egnazia hotel is the perfect embodiment of the area. Simple in its Roman village-inspired design and understated in its decor (baskets of almonds and glass bottles filled with olive branches add the perfect rustic touch) but one hundred per cent luxurious, the phrase "getting away from it all" was quite literally made for this five-star haven.
The Rooms Whether you’re in a deluxe double bedroom in the hotel or a three-floor villa in the village, these rooms were designed for ultimate relaxation. Think crisp white linens, cool stone-coloured marble floors and inventive touches like stacks of old magazines tied with twine. In fact, you’ll be brimming with home décor ideas upon check in. And no task is too small for the accommodating staff – want child protection gates on the stairs? Done. Fancy dinner in your garden? No problem. Just how we like it.
Dining Puglian cuisine is famous for its orecchiette - dome-shaped pasta dressed with all manner of delicious sauces. For several unbeatable homemade versions, try Borgo Egnazia’s typical Puglian restaurant, La Frasca, where you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped into a local family’s cosy kitchen for supper and treated to a feast of local delicacies. Most of your meal will have come from the hotel’s sprawling lands, from the rich olive oil to the deliciously tart capers. For a dash of haute cuisine, book into the Due Camini, where local dishes receive an exotic, gourmet twist.
The Spa Every inch of the hotel has been designed according to the rules of numerology and nowhere is this more obvious (or effective) than in the Zen-like Vair Spa. With more treatments than you can count and several yoga studios, you’ll be tempted to spend all your time here. But that would mean not taking advantage of the hotel’s other fabulous amenities so we suggest going for the Kiuv (which means rain in Puglian dialect), where warm essential oils are dribbled on your pressure points and then massaged into the muscles. Divine.
InStyle Recommends A cooking class with Ellis, one of the Due Camini’s sous-chefs. We made orecchiette from scratch (his fared much better than ours in the boiling water!) and polpettine (delicious fried meatballs), washed down with multiple glasses of crisp white wine. If you’re keen to learn the secrets behind the region’s culinary magic, this class is a must.
Although the hotel boasts two spectacular pools (even the kids’ one is surprisingly chilled), you’ll definitely want to head to the hotel’s two private beaches. Located just a short shuttle ride away, one features a sandy beach and intimate cabans, while the other will have you luxuriating on a four-poster bed as you catch some rays!
If you want to throw in a little culture (and we recommend that you do), there are countless Roman ruins literally on the hotel's doorstep, including an ancient prison cell.
The Details Borgo Egnazia, 72010 Savelletri di Fasano (Brindisi), Italy, 080 22 55 000. See borgoegnazia.com or more details
By Maria Milano