“Sublime, sophisticated converted farm, with chic white décor and excellent food, set in olive groves near coastal Otranto”
Décor is all white, with Moroccan silver kettles and huge trays in the reception, and snow-white Pugliese embroidery in the rooms. The effect is sophisticated, light and wonderfully soothing. Cactus, olive trees, vines and date palms dot the grounds, surrounded by rural farmland. In the vaulted dining room, delicious local produce is served for lunch and dinner. If the peace gets too much, you’re 2km from Otranto, one of Puglia’s most popular coastal towns, with cobbled lanes, boutiques, bars and a yacht-bobbing marina; kids will love the castle and sandy beach nearby.
- Serene setting in ancient farmland and a resident donkey
- The large gardens and swimming pool are immaculate – verdant lawns dotted with fruit and olive trees for shade
- Grown-up dazzling white décor with beautiful Moroccan and Pugliese details
- Great food made from local produce - the breakfasts are a treat
- A 10-minute drive from lovely Otranto and some superb coastline
- It’s a quiet, subdued kind of place - not for those seeking somewhere lively
- In August, however, the pool can get very busy
- The Salentine peninsula - the tip of Italy’s heel - gets scorched in summer, and lacks the rich hinterland of northern Puglia
- WiFi is limited to certain communal areas and very unreliable, but you're here to switch off
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique Guesthouse
- Restaurant + bar (open daily)
- All ages welcome.
- Open all year
- Outdoor Pool
- Spa Treatments
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Bicycles Available
The 29 rooms are both sophisticated and rustic. Each has gleaming white walls offset by lace-edged linen and a few carefully chosen antiques, plus Moroccan silverware and dark-metal bedside lanterns with clear glass. Floors are tiled in creamy stone; walls bear big black-edged mirrors and arty sepia photographs.
The Suites are huge and come with bathtubs – in fact, they’re four times the size of the Classic Rooms. The Junior Suites are also spacious – good for families. We stayed in a Superior Room overlooking the gardens and pool area. All except the Classic Rooms have vaulted roofs, so it’s worth splashing out if you can.
Bathrooms are reasonably sized and similarly stylish, with pale tiling, more honey-coloured stone, fluffy white towels and good showers (or tubs). Own-name toiletries in big bottles provide delicate scents of coconut and camomile.
- Air conditioning
- Central heating
- Extra beds
- Safe box
We visited in autumn and dined in the vaulted restaurant, complete with cosy log fire. During the summer months, there’s a beautiful candle-lit outdoor dining area under a canopy of greenery. The atmosphere is quite magical.
Produce is local and fresh, with local specialities; there’s a good selection of mainly local wines, too. For dinner, we had seared sesame tuna for starters, followed by swordfish with capers, olives and cherry tomatoes. Delicious as it was, we did find the choice quite pricey.
Lunch (best ordered in advance) is a buffet with of colourful dishes, including Pugliese specialties like orecchiette (ear-shaped pasta), freshly made flans and salads.
Breakfast was a real highlight –a whimsical display of mismatched antique cutlery and old glass dishes filled with freshly baked cakes and pastries, cold meats and cheese. Italian breakfasts can be a little lacklustre, but this was our best in Puglia.
Coffees and sandwiches are pricey too, but free bar snacks (aperitifi) are served in the early evening.
Otranto is 5-10 minutes’ drive away - close enough to pop out for the evening – and they have lots of restaurants to choose from.
- Children's meals
- Room service
- Vegetarian menu
- Wander and window-shop around the pretty town Otranto, with its lively bars and restaurants, squat Aragonese castle (overlooking the port) and cathedral , with fantastic 12th-century floor mosaics
- Explore the Salentine peninsula, the heel of Italy’s boot. Its rugged coastline has sandy shores and once-Greek towns, plus you can drive to where the Adriatic and Ionian seas meet, at Santa Maria di Leuca
- Bask on some of Puglia’s best beaches, with white sand and powder-blue sea: Baia dei Turchi has some wonderfully secluded coves
- Take an excursion to the pretty walled town of Gallipoli (35km away) on the Ionian coast, ending with a sundowner on the ramparts
- Take in Lecce on your way down from Brindisi: a glorious treasure, it's packed with Baroque architecture and Roman remains
- The hotel has a spa room offering massages, plus occasional cookery and tai chi lessons are held at the hotel
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Boat trips
- Cooking classes
- Horse riding
- Scuba diving
- Shopping / markets
Wall-to-wall white is not ideal for children and Montelauro's mellow, grown-up atmosphere feels geared towards couples rather than families. But the gardens and large pool are good for kids, plus the sandy beaches and the hulking castle make it a popular choice with families during August.
Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
Family friendly accommodation:
Superior 18, Junior Suite 16 and Suite 22 can sleep a family of 4, while most of the other rooms can sleep 3; both the Suites and Junior Suites have daybeds. Classic room 28 and Superior room 21 can fit an extra bed or baby cot. Two pairs of connecting Superior rooms can be created for families too
Babysitting available by arrangement
Special requests for easy meals such as pasta and tomato sauce are catered for, the restaurant opens earlier for families
Kids Activities on site:
- Swimming pool
Kids Activities nearby:
- Country walks
- Small farm with animals
- Water park (Gallipoli, 1 hr away)
- Porto Badisco (20 mins) for jumping into the sea
Families Should Know:
The pool is not fenced, it reaches 2 metres in depth at its lowest point
- Airport: 1 hour (Brindisi); 2 hours (Bari)
- Hospital: 15 minutes (Scorrano)
- Shops: 5 minutes (Otranto)