Masseria San Domenico
Located on the Adriatic coast of Puglia, the Masseria San Domenico is one of the finest hotels in south-east Italy.
Set back a few hundred yards from the sea, the whitewashed buildings are surrounded by semi-tropical gardens and ancient olive trees.
The rooms and suites are bright, airy and cool in the summer months and there is a large lagoon-style swimming pool and a private stretch of beach. The excellent thalassotherapy spa offers a wide range of treatments based on mineral rich seawater and seaweed, as well as an indoor pool with hydromassage, a sauna and a steamroom. Other facilities include two tennis courts, a gym and a challenging 18-hole golf course. Watersports and horse-riding can also be arranged.
The San Domenico restaurant serves typical Puglian cuisine and other specialities in a beautiful vaulted dining room that was once the estate's olive press, and there is also a pool grill and a bar.
Why We Love It
The building's original structure dates back to the 15th century and was once a watchtower used by the Knights of Malta.
Masseria Torre Coccaro
Masseria Torre Coccaro is a 16th-century watchtower just outside the ancient fishing village of Savelletri di Fasano near Brindisi.
Overlooking the Adriatic Sea and surrounded by the ancient olive trees of the Fasano Plain, the hotel is set within an orchard and ancient olive trees; a delightful combination of indulgence and rustic Apulian tradition. The property has been many things over the last 500 years - a farm, a fortified lookout across the Adriatic to defend the coast against the Saracens, and a refuge for pilgrims and the Knights of Malta.
Central to the Masseria is a large swimming pool and Jacuzzi shaded by olive trees. There are three restaurants, one under a pergola, another in the stable and a third, the Cabana, by the pool. All serve food from the farm or from the sea, fished by the Masseria's own 45ft motor yacht.
The icing on the cake comes in the form of the hotel's Aveda Spa and state-of-the-art gymnasium.
Why We Love It
The property that has been many things over the last 500 years - a farm, a fortified lookout across the Adriatic to defend the coast against the Saracens, and a refuge for pilgrims and the Knights of Malta
Masseria Torre Maizza
The more elegant and sophisticated sister property of Masseria Torre Coccaro, is about five minutes' walk across an olive grove and located on a nine hole golf course.
There are 28 rooms located in the outbuildings (the owner lives in the main building) and the classic rooms are spacious but with no bath or private outdoor area so we think its definitely worth upgrading to a superior room. The junior suite has a separate sleeping area and Jacuzzi bath as well as a log fire, and the suite has all of this plus a lovely outdoor garden with swimming pool and loungers.
The restaurant serves extremely good breakfasts and sophisticated Italian food, or guests can eat at the Masseria Torre Coccaro restaurant or one of the seafood restaurants in nearby Savalletri.
Why We Love It
With two private beach clubs, delicious dinners served alfresco in the courtyard and a complementary turndown service at night, Masseria Torre Maizza provides the perfect luxurious getaway.
Canne Bianche Hotel & Spa is a whitewashed, beachfront chic boutique hotel in Fasano, nestled between Brindisi and Bari on the Puglian coast.
There are 55 elegant en suite guest rooms, all of which open out on to private balconies. The rooms have simple airy decor with everything you'd expect of a contemporary coastal property from crisp bed linen to comfortable furnishings and white and earthy colour schemes.
The hotel's T'imo restaurant serves a range of mouth-watering Mediterranean dishes, including fresh fish and more substantial Puglian specialities. The Cumino bar, meanwhile, is perfect for a cocktail or two as well as fresh nibbles such as limed olives and bite-sized frisellines.
Torre Canne beach is a stone's throw away from the hotel's three acres of grounds and swimming pool and is a popular spot for true tan aficionados, while the hotel's spa is a zen haven where you can indulge in a range of beautifying treatments and massages.
For any guests looking to do more than kick back and relax, this bit of Puglia is well worth exploring, from walks along the beach to visiting nearby beautiful towns and sites.
Why We Love It
Self-sufficiency is a big part of the Canne Bianche philosophy, with many of the breads, cakes and vegetables made and grown on site, including some delicious post-dinner liqueurs made from plants in the kitchen garden.
In case you hadn't already guessed, Puglia is easily one of our favourite places in Italy and so we're really excited about La Fiermontina - a 29-suite labour of love set amidst the 18th century Baroque churches of Lecce's historical centre.
Parisian owners have collaborated with Puglian architects to create this stylish hotel, fusing contemporary artwork with the grandeur of old Lecce, even using the same soft stone as used to create the surrounding Baroque churches. The hotel is around a renovated 17th century house, set in green gardens scattered with Olive trees. The 16 guestrooms and suites have exposed stone walls, and star-pinnacled ceilings, with fireplaces and private balconies in some rooms.
Eating is all part of the Italian experience, and the restaurant at La Fiermontina does not disappoint, with a menu of lighter takes on traditional Puglian fare, using the freshest seasonal produce. Meals are accompanied by fine wines from the curated cellar, including vintage Italian, French and Portuguese labels.
The private gardens and swimming pool offer plenty of space for relaxation, whilst guests are within ambling distance of the baroque architecture, boutiques, restaurants and bars of central Lecce. La Fiermontina is also the perfect base from which to explore the wider Salento region.
Why We Love It
La Fiermontina fuses the grandeur of historic Lecce, with the luxuries of a modern, boutique hotel, from the organic bath products, to the contemporary artwork that decorate the stone walls.
Sextantio Grotte Della Civitta Matera
Sextantio Grotte Della Civitta hotel is set into the hillside of the historic Apennine village in Matera, southern Italy. This charming village is also home to the Sassi (ancient) quarters, which were awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 1993.
The village's historical caves were transformed into dwellings and, as such, the 18 rooms are uniquely set within the original caves and all differ slightly. Classic rooms boast either bathtubs in the bedrooms or window views over Parco Naturale della Murgia, Superior rooms are set in larger vaults and the more spacious Suites boast original stone sink bathtubs with archways marking out the separate living areas (note not all suites have windows).
Upon request dinner is served in the candlelit deconsecrated church which provides a romantic setting (think classical music playing and a roaring fire) to enjoy the chef's passion for local cuisine. In the mornings a Southern Italian breakfast of cakes, fruits and pastries is served in the XIII Century Cave Church.
Guests can enjoy wellness treatments in the privacy of their own room, including rejuvenating therapies and Ayurvedic massages, before exploring the village. Other excursions include hiking through Murgia Park, taking cookery lessons or simply enjoying wine tasting after a picnic in the park.
Why We Love It
Enjoy the signature Matera bread at breakfast, freshly baked that morning.