“A beautifully restored 18th-century palazzo wrapped in fragrant gardens, within easy reach of beaches and the Baroque town of Lecce”
With just 6 four-poster double rooms and suites, the vibe is intimate and peaceful throughout. Chances are you’ll start to unwind from the moment you arrive, but if not the candlelit Jacuzzi pool and morning yoga sessions will certainly help. It’s tempting to stay put and do very little, but make sure you venture out: there are electric bikes and Vespas to borrow, and friendly manager Alessandra will point you in the direction of sweeping beaches, secluded nature reserves and historic towns.
- A loving restoration of a beautiful old building, with sophisticated rooms, enchanting gardens and lantern-lit terraces - ideal for romance
- An underground relaxation area with a Jacuzzi pool, hammam and ‘emotional shower’, available for private one-hour slots
- Breakfast is a cut above the rest, and there’s a free aperitivi hour daily
- Ideally placed for exploring the stunning Salentino Peninsula, with its beaches, natural parks and Lecce
- Wonderful service and attention to detail, from bicycles to borrow to pre-packed beach bags
- No evening meals are served so you’ll have drive / taxi out for dinner (though there are weekly Italian cinema nights with pizza in summer)
- Some of the ensuite bathrooms aren’t as special as the bedrooms they’re attached to
- The neighbouring church bell chimes every quarter of an hour from early morning to late evening, but it adds to the charm
- No TVs, radios or sound systems in the rooms – but you won’t miss them
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique B&B
- Breakfast (+ lunch on request)
- Welcome but not ideal
- Closed: 22 Jan 2019 - 27 Mar 2019
- Outdoor Pool
- Steam Room
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Bicycles Available
Dressed in sophisticated neutrals, the 6 rooms are scattered about the house and grounds. All are slightly different, with restored period features – perhaps ornate plasterwork, vaulted ceilings or an intricately carved door. Suites are the largest with private outside space, but all rooms are beautiful - there are no duff choices. Our mezzanine Suite came with a chaise-longue and sun-trap roof terrace; another has a vast bathroom encompassing twin sinks and a freestanding egg-shaped tub. We also loved the look of the Superior Room off the main courtyard, with its exposed stone walls and giant hearth.
The refined wooden furniture comes from Belgian designer Flamant, and the four-poster beds are topped with heavenly Durelan mattresses and beautiful local linens. Placed here and there are ceramics by Grottaglie and Vietre, plus eye-catching artworks and mirrors collected on Mauro and Chiara’s travels. Bathrooms vary from room to room and some are on the small side with showers only, but all come with pretty tiles and delicately scented toiletries made for Don Totu by Maria Candida Gentile.
- Air conditioning
- Safe box
Breakfast, served in the courtyard, is a tempting spread of pastries, cakes, cold cuts, cheeses, fruit, savoury tarts and jams, all homemade or sourced locally. You can also choose from a menu of omelettes, hot drinks and freshly made smoothies – our cucumber, lemon and mint concoction was delicious.
If you’re planning to spend the day lounging around the hotel, you can pre-order cold lunch dishes – perhaps octopus salad, couscous or a sandwich made from local puccia bread. Your selection will be delivered to the pool house to enjoy whenever you want. There’s also a guest kitchen where you can make drinks, help yourself to biscuits and store your own snacks.
No other meals are available, but free apertivi and nibbles are served early evening. The nearest restaurants are a drive away; Alessandra will happily make recommendations, book tables and arrange taxis.
- Lunch by arrangement
- Hit the local beaches. Drive 10 minutes in one direction and you’ll reach the Adriatic coast, with its towering cliffs and plunging coves; 10 minutes in the other direction takes you to the Ionian coast, which is lined with wooded nature reserves and long stretches of sand. Beach bags with towels and water are left by the door each morning
- Borrow one of the hotel’s electric bikes or Vespas for a gentle pootle through the local olive groves
- Head to the pretty town of Otranto for a seafood lunch, then wander its narrow lanes to the Aragonese castle and mosaic-floored cathedral
- Take a dip in Marina Serra’s natural swimming pool – a sheltered inlet that’s almost entirely cut off from the sea, with steps down into clear turquoise water
- Drive half an hour north to Lecce, famed for its honey-stoned Baroque architecture and Roman ruins
- Join one of the morning yoga sessions – just reserve a place the night before. Pugliese cooking classes and private guided tours can be arranged, too
- Book a private slot in the subterranean relaxation area, with its hammam, Jacuzzi and ‘emotional shower’ (a unique treatment which includes hydrotherapy, chromotherapy and aromatherapy, combining colours, lights and essential oils together)
- Or just relax by the swimming pool, watching birds and butterflies flit among the flowers
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Cooking classes
- Historical sites
- Museums / galleries
- Private guided tours
- Well being
- Wine tasting
Children of all ages are welcome, but the peaceful atmosphere means Don Totu is best suited to couples.
Babies (0-1 years)
Family friendly accommodation:
There’s a Quad Room with a double bedroom and an adjoining twin bedroom. Most rooms can accommodate baby cots. An extra bed can also be added to one Suite and the Superior Room (on request).
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
Don Totu is in the small village of San Cassiano, on Puglia's Salentino Peninsula, southern Italy. It’s 30 minutes' drive south of Lecce.
The nearest airport is Brindisi (90km / 1-hour drive), but you could also fly into Bari (205km / 2-hour drive). If you’re coming from outside Europe, you’ll probably fly via Rome.
From the Airport
Don Totu can arrange transfers and taxis during your stay, but you really need to hire a car to make the most of the area. There’s plenty of free on-street parking right outside the hotel.
Detailed directions will be sent when you confirm a booking through i-escape.
Read our guide to getting to Italy and getting around
- Brindisi 90.0 km BDS
- Bari 205.0 km BRI
- Beach 12.0 km
- Shops 10.0 km
- Restaurant 10.0 km