Masseria Torre Maizza
The lowdown Puglia, located on Italy's "heel", is fast becoming the hotspot, thanks to its unspoilt beaches, superb cuisine, Roman ruins and a climate that is pretty good year-round, though temperatures can soar to 40 celsius in high summer. An hour’s drive from Bari airport (or slightly less from Brindisi airport), this16th-century masseria (meaning a fortified farmhouse peculiar to this area) between the town of Fasano and the Adriatic is at the centre of a large estate, which also includes sister hotel Masseria Torre Coccaro. The original Torre Maizza is an ancient garrison, which stood guard against raids by Ottoman and Saracen Turks. Today, it has been restored into a contemporary and super luxe boutique hotel nestling amongst olive and lemon groves and vineyards.
The rooms The style throughout the bedrooms and suites can best be described as country casual combined with contemporary tones of beige, navy and cream, and verges on the masculine though in a super stylish way. Thick white walls and vaulted ceilings keep the rooms cool in the summer, and traditional fireplaces can be lit in the winter months. Top of the range suites have a large decked terrace, private pool with views towards the sea on the horizon.
Eating and drinking The outdoor bar, perfect for a pre dinner cocktail, prosecco or Aperol spritz, is furnished with Balinese sofas and lanterns. The restaurant, with its black and white checked floor and vines, is a lovely spot to enjoy the delicious Pugliese cuisine. Most of the ingredients are local, and the organic vegetables and salads come from the hotel’s own gardens. As you would expect, fish dominates the menu as does some of the best home-made pasta ever. We defy you to get up from your table without having indulged in four courses!
What to do Make the effort to tear yourself away from the lovely large heated pool, set amid fruit trees and surrounded by decking and sunbeds. First on your list should be Coccaro Beach Club for a delicious lunch by the beach and a dip in the sea. In the early evening, borrow one of the hotel’s bikes and head down to the little fishing village of Savelletri for the best gelato ever from Bar Skipper (opposite the church). A little further afield – about 30 minutes away – is Ostuni, the prettiest white town, with little alleyways and stunning views from the town walls. Alberobello is about the same distance away up and over the nearby hills; this UNESCO site is famed for its traditional trulli, the traditional Puglian white dry stone huts with a conical roof. Book in for lunch at Il Trullo d’Oro (tel 00 39 080 4321820). If golf is your thing, the hotel has a super little nine-hole course.
The details Doubles at Masseria Torre Maizza start from 145 euros (approx £124) per person, per night, B&B and based on two adults sharing. For further information, call 00 39 080 4827838 or visit masseriatorremaizza.com
By Jeannette Arnold