“Art-filled retreat in Lecce (Puglia's most splendid town), with tree-shaded gardens and beguiling links to 1930s Paris and Hollywood”
The 16 rooms have almond-coloured smooth Trani stone on the floors, star-pinnacled stone ceilings, and walls of golden Leccese stone. The furnishings echo these pale tones, a symphony of muted colours, and the restrained palette is immediately relaxing.
There are various room categories, from Doubles up to Suites. All are lovely, though our stand-out room was One-Bedroom Suite #8, with great garden views from its gleaming-white circular bath. Also recommended is the Hermes suite (another One-Bedroom Suite), so-named as the owner is a friend of the French fashion family, with star-vaulted ceilings and a terrace overlooking the gardens. Six of the rooms have shower and freestanding bathtub, while the rest have large walk-in showers. See rates for details on the various categories.
Some rooms are in the ‘Lazzari’ villa across the garden courtyard, offering even more privacy. #15, a Duplex Suite, has a gorgeous private garden lined in roses and small lemon trees.
The intimate restaurant has an extraordinarily high, wood-coffered ceiling. It’s elegant throughout, with sage-green table runners, small glass-topped tables, and silver cutlery from Paris. At one end are armchairs around a fireplace - a relaxing setting for a pre-dinner drink or post-prandial. Glass doors lead out to the courtyard where there are tables for warmer days.
Dinner is a complex a la carte menu. Our starter was prawn carpaccio with basil and citrus olive oil - deliciously light. Sadly, our main of seared tuna served on crispy potato with vegetables brunoise had been overcooked, but other guests have raved about the food.
A buffet breakfast includes cured meats, local cheeses, crostate (jam tart) and homemade jams. Cooked breakfasts are extra, but worth it - we loved our fried egg with chard and bacon. There are light lunches available, or restaurants abound in Lecce and staff can advise.
Children are welcome, and there's plenty of space for them to roam around the gardens and play in the pool, though the ambiance is serene. Children aged 0-4 stay for free; children aged 4-12 years old are charged 25% of the room rate for an extra bed in their parents' room; children aged 13-18 are charged 50% of the room rate. The concierge can suggest local activities.
Junior Suites can fit a baby cot. One-Bedroom Suites #7 and #8, and Duplex Suites #12 and #15 all have a sofabed that can sleep 2 children, or space for a baby cot.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
The chef can accommodate requests for children's meals
The Duplex Suite isn't recommended for families with small children because the bedroom is on the first floor