“A magical and memorable hotel in a historic mansion, hidden among fragranced gardens in a small town near the Salentine coast”
Friendly and helpful owner Mauro has converted the house into a very special hotel, with stylish rooms and 2 self-catering hideaways and a wonderfully laid-back feel. It’s ideal not only for couples but for families too, and even those with young children will feel relaxed here. The pool is flanked by orange trees, sunflowers, birds-of-paradise, mint and lavender, all wafting scent over the water as you swim. There are elegant salons, a roof terrace with a bubbling hot tub, and plenty of nooks where you can lose yourself in a holiday read. Delicious local produce is served up at lunch, dinner and the plentiful breakfast buffet, and there’s a choice of restaurants within walking distance. Make use of the free bikes and potter around Puglia’s rolling landscapes, or head to the dramatic seacliffs and turquoise waters of the Salentine coast, just 3km away.
- A wonderful secret-garden feel; you’ll think you’ve stumbled across a long-lost treasure
- Pretty Vignacastrisi, with its unspoilt, stuck-in-time ambiance, is ideally placed for exploring the Salento peninsula, yet well away from crowded resort towns such as Otranto
- There are often cooking classes, wine tastings and poolside barbecues - ideal for foodies
- Spacious rooms, all with bathtubs, and many with beautiful arched ceilings and sitting rooms
- A warm welcome combined with fantastic attention to detail (homemade cakes at breakfast, stacks of books on the area, carefully chosen antiques)
- With only 10 sunbeds to lounge on, there isn't enough space for everyone by the pool when the hotel is full
- The local coastline is rocky; you’ll have to head towards Otranto (30km away) for sandy beaches, though you can swim nearby
- No in-room TVs - a conscious decision to avoid disturbing the tranquillity (but there is in-room WiFi)
Best time to go
Our top tips
A local speciality that’s well worth trying is the substantial sandwich known as the puccia. Expect a large roll of freshly baked crusty bread, studded with olives and packed with salami, cheese, ham, mozzarella and tomatoes.”
- Boutique Hotel
- Restaurant and bar (open every day).
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Outdoor Pool
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Bicycles Available
- Cooking classes
- Vespa scooter to hire
The main hotel building holds the ground-floor Double Rooms and Suites, plus the first-floor Gran Suite; outside in the garden, Casa Margherita feels more like a private house, spread over 2 floors. Décor is pale, with whitewashed walls and beautiful local antiques, such as pretty wooden dressers or colourful inlaid trunks.
All Double Rooms and Suites are handsomely large, with high ceilings and seating areas. Their doors open onto a sun-dappled communal courtyard, where you’ll find a small table and a couple of chairs per room. We particularly liked the fantastic arched ceilings and exposed stonework of the Simenon and Fante Suites, and the Bukowsky Double Room.
Upstairs, the 3-bedroom Gran Suite is huge, if a little understated décor-wise. Expect high ceilings, grand spaces and lots of marble and antiques. On a practical level, it also has a handy kitchen-dining area - great for families.
Casa Margherita is located on the other side of the pool from the main hotel, so it feels like a private 2-storey house. It comes with a spacious vaulted-ceilinged kitchen-diner and lounge, plus 2 bedrooms upstairs. Again, it’s great for families - you get a private garden which leads onto the communal orange grove and pool.
Bathrooms come in various shapes and sizes, but are generally large and mosaic-tiled.
- Air conditioning
- Cots Available
- Extra beds
- Honesty bar
Palazzo Guglielmo’s traditional Mediterranean-inspired restaurant, Casa dell’Angelo, sits next door and is open every day for lunch and dinner. Being so close to the sea, the menu is very fish focused. We enjoyed some very good tuna tartar – huge chunks of fresh tuna, aubergine and rice – and a tasty fried fish main. Packed with locals and tourists alike, it had a nice buzzy vibe and a huge well-priced wine list.
We ate breakfast in the cosy vaulted lounge area, but the tables and chairs overlooking the pool are a great spot for the summer months.The beautifully presented buffet spread features mountains of fresh fruit, together with moreish home-baked cakes, including exceedingly popular jam tarts. The Gran Suite and Casa Margherita also have their own kitchens with dining spaces.
The lounge also has an honesty bar where you can help yourself to soft drinks, beer and water whenever you feel like it.
If you want to eat out, there are several appealing Vignacastrisi restaurants, ranging from basic pizzerias to more formal places. Equally, it's worth travelling a little further afield to one of Puglia’s many rural agriturismi (farm restaurants).
- Dinner by arrangement
- Lunch by arrangement
- Organic produce
- Restaurants nearby
- Chill out beside the gorgeous pool in the shady garden, head to the wellness spa in the ancient cellar or bubble away in the rooftop hot tub
- Explore the lovely little town of Vignacastrisi, enjoying the slow pace of life and the grace of its rural architecture, which includes the fortress-like Church of the Holy Virgin Mary, dating from the 16th century. The hotel can help arrange Vespa hire, too
- Swim in clear turquoise water from the rocky beaches at Castro Marina (3km away), Santa Cesarea Terme (6km away) and Adrano Marina (9km away). If you want white sand, head to the beaches near Otranto; one of the nicest is I Due Mori, close to the Alimini Lakes (a 30km drive)
- Borrow the hotel's bicycles and peddle the beautifully windswept coastal road to Otranto. There are no beaches as such – just rock and some restaurants - but it's the most south easterly point in Italy
- Wander the winding lanes, castle and ancient walls of the charming coastal town of Otranto, which gets full to bursting in July and August but is pretty quiet for the rest of the year
- Take part in the cooking courses, wine tastings and barbecues that are often held at Palazzo Guiglielmo
- Discover the nearby Grotta dei Cervi, with its amazing post-paleolithic rock paintings and geological formations
- Enjoy a boat tour along the dramatically craggy coast, with its rollercoaster cliffs and fortified towers; private boat hire, with or without a skipper, can be arranged via reception
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Boat trips
- Cooking classes
- Historical sites
- Private guided tours
- Shopping / markets
- Well being
- Wine tasting
This is a great place to stay with kids, with an inviting (if unfenced) pool, a relaxed feel and a kids toy area in the garden. There are plenty of activities along the coast for kids, too (but the nearest sandy beaches are 30km away towards Otranto).
Family friendly accommodation:
The Gran Suite (sleeps 6) has 2 double rooms and a twin. The Suites have 2 rooms: a double bedroom and a lounge (2 daybeds). All Double Rooms are spacious enough to fit a rollaway bed or baby cot; Carmelo and Vittoria feature a lockable interconnecting door ideal for children. All rooms have bathtubs and showers.
Families Should Know:
The pool is unfenced. Although there are restaurants within walking distance, the pavements along the roads leave much to be desired and aren't safe to navigate with a buggy.
- Shops: 1 minute