Masseria Montelauro

Otranto, Puglia & Basilicata, Italy Book from Book from £159 per night

Sublime, sophisticated converted farm, with chic white décor and excellent food, set in olive groves near coastal Otranto
These gleaming white, squared-off buildings, set among acres of lawns and fruit trees, are a 19th-century farm complex that once housed 20 families. The thoughtful conversion has preserved all the building’s features: barrel-vaulted ceilings, thick walls, cool interiors. The only new addition is an elegant, cream-stone infinity pool. Surrounding the the grassy courtyards are 29 tranquil rooms, the best with their own access to the gardens.

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 3.5km 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.

Highs

  • 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

Lows

  • 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

Spring (May-June) is marvellous in Puglia - the beaches are quiet and wild flowers run riot. September and October are also crowd free and balmy. In August, when Italy takes its holidays, it’ll seem like most of the population is here.

Our top tips

A week is ideal for complete relaxation, or 2 if you can afford it; but even a long weekend would be smashing.

Great for...

Beach
Family
Great Outdoors
Wedding
  • Boutique Guesthouse
  • 29
  • Restaurant + bar (open daily)
  • All ages welcome.
  • Closed: 1 Nov 2018 - 18 Apr 2019
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Bicycles Available
Room:

Rooms

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.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Central heating
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • TV
  • WiFi

Eating

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 booked in advance) is offered à la carte, with 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 cheeses. 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 there are lots of restaurants to choose from.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Children's meals
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • 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 (45km 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
  • Cycling
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Horse riding
  • Nightlife
  • Scuba diving
  • Shopping / markets
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming
  • Windsurfing

Kids

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.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

Superior 18, Junior Suite 16, Suite 22, Suite 29, Classic 28 and Superior 21 can all sleep 3 people with an extra bed. There are also 2 pairs of connecting Superior rooms that can be created for families of 4.

Babysitting:

Babysitting available by arrangement

Children's meals:

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
  • Garden

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

Distances:

  • Airport: 1 hour (94km) to Brindisi; 2 hours (200 km) to Bari
  • Hospital: 15 minutes (Scorrano)
  • Shops: 5 minutes (Otranto)
Kid Friendly:

Location

Masseria Montelauro is 3.5km inland from Otranto, very close to the heel of Italy's boot, south of Lecce.

By Air:
The nearest airports are Brindisi (94km) and Bari (200km); we recommend hiring a car.

By Train:
The nearest train station is Lecce (40km); a taxi from Lecce will take around 25 minutes.

Detailed directions will be sent to you once your booking is confirmed.

Read our guide to Getting to Italy and Getting around

Airports:

  • Brindisi 94.0 km BDS
  • Bari 200.0 km BRI

Other:

  • Beach 2.0 km
  • Shops 3.5 km
  • Restaurant 2.0 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 3 independent reviews from i-escape guests

9/10
Room
9/10
Food
10/10
Service
9/10
Value
9/10
Overall

Setting was lovely and the pool area was very relaxing. The restaurant was a little quiet and may have been due to the high price point compared to local restaurants, which was a shame as the food was delicious and breakfast had a great buzz.

8/10,

Everything was perfect. The family, staff are incredible. Attention to detail and attending our individual wishes were extraordinary. We felt we were at our own private resort. A sense of specialness in a tranquil and beautiful space. The food was excellent and well priced.

10/10,

A stunning house in the heart of Lecce old town. Beautiful room and amazing courtyard to sit and chill in. Breakfast was delicious. This place is very cool and beautifully designed.

10/10,

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