“Beautiful boutique 12th-century church conversion, overlooking Matera’s warren-like, ravine-edged Sassi Barisano quarter”
Suites are fabulous: 1004 has a triplex layout, with a beige sofabed on the lowest level, a kingsize double on the next, and a Brazilian chaise longue and sassi views from the third. The bathroom is in a real cave, with a huge round bath, separate rainfall shower and twin sinks. The other suite, 1003, has a kingsize four-poster and original bell-tower staircase, which allows access first to a lounge area with sofabed, then to a small walled terrace with sweeping sassi panorama.
1007 is a Junior Suite, with high ceilings and a Jacuzzi. The Deluxe Classic, 1005, has a kingsize bed, sofabed, an alcove desk and walls that dissolve into a cave. The lower, cavelike Standard Classic 1006 has a stone shower; Standard Classic 1002 is a romantic double on 2 levels, with views over the sassi from the bed, and has a ladder-like staircase that leads down to the bathroom - though this is set to change to something easier to negotiate in the dead of night. Standard Single 1001 has a beautiful stone bed, and Standard Small 1008 is split-level; both are smaller, but still unique and characterful. We're yet to see the Deluxe Small 1009, which is located on a parallel street (40m from reception), but it boasts exceptional views of the Cathedral and across the sassi so looks like a great romantic bolthole.
Since our visit, 1-bedroom Loft 79 has joined the ranks. Granted it's 400 metres away from the hotel, but for the more independent traveller it offers added privacy and the autonomy of being able to cook for oneself. We can't wait to see it for ourselves.
The hotel offers a small but good-quality breakfast buffet, with light-as-air cream-filled cornetti (croissants), crostate (jam tarts), croissants filled with ham and cheese, fruit and fruit juice. You're served with your preference of coffee: espresso, cappuccino etc, or can order tea from the reception bar. In summer you can eat breakfast outside, on the terrace-like area (with views) in front of the hotel. Loft 79 guests have their own kitchen, so self-catering is easy as pie.
Room-service drinks are available all day - coffee, liqueurs and wine by the bottle or glass. The owners plan to offer antipasti-style snacks of local products in the future; salamis and local cheeses.
The hotel is less than a minute’s walk from Via Fiorentini, which has a good choice of restaurants, and about 5 minutes' walk from the centre of town and more eateries. The following restaurants are recommended by the hotel: Lucanerie, Don Matteo, Le Botteghe, Trattoria Lucana and Baccanti. Roberto has struck a deal with a couple of local places in the sassi; you'll get a discount if you say you're staying at L'Hotel in Pietra.
They do accept families but this may not be an ideal place for children as you might feel that they were disturbing the peace. The antiques and thick glass in many of the rooms would not suit young children clambering around.
The Deluxe Classic and Suites have 2 double beds or a double bed and a double sofabed, and space for a baby cot. Loft 79 is an open-plan self-catering apartment 400 metres away in the city centre. It has a double bed, a sofabed, a kitchen and a semi-open plan ensuite bathroom.
Baby cots available on request
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking