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Borgo Egnazia hotel

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Travelling to the land of romance, ragu and rolling hills? Make time for Puglia, down in Italy’s heel. What makes Puglia the country’s hottest new destination? This sunny slice of Italy offers a wonderful coastline, lapped by the Adriatic to the east and the Ionian Sea to the west. Beyond the sandy beaches, there’s plenty of history and architecture with the added bonus of a robustly rustic landscape. This laidback Italian playground, little known to outsiders, has a unique character and charm.

In Puglia everyone is talking about Borgo Egnazia, the boot-shaped country’s best bit hidden among shore-side olive groves. Almost halfway between Bari and Brindisi, Borgo Egnazia rises grandly beside a 18-hole golf course on Puglia’s eastern coast. Here, enter a castle-like, candle-lit world where you’ll enchanted and inspired by its beauty.

It’s the dream: a five-star, family-friendly fairy-tale offering Puglian pleasures, well-heeled wellbeing and rural romance & relaxation. Sounds too good to be true? Well, it isn’t. In fact, Borgo Egnazia hotel tops our “best hotels in the world’’ list for its endless high-level possibilities from golfing and yoga to cycling and cooking classes. The superstar spa is our favourite part of the hotel, while the originality of Borgo Egnazia has won our hearts. All this is combined with easy-going warmth that Puglia does so well. In short, it’s just impossible not to love this place. Definitely one for the big-bucks bucket list.

The promise of romance as well as first-class family time means love birds and affluent families all unite here. For parents seeking some time out, there are excellent crèche and children’s facilities & activities. Travelling as a couple? Skip July and August when the hotel is more overrun with excited little ones. Although Borgo Egnazia hotel has no-screaming-kids-zones where it’s all about pure grown-up indulgence. Star-spotter? This enticing escape is also a magnet for celebrities: Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel married here in 2012.

Borgo Egnazia hotel looks like it’s steeped in history, but it’s not. Constructed entirely from Puglian limestone, this architecturally stunning hotel was built from scratch by the Italian Melpignano family beside their San Domenico golf course and opened in 2010. Their idea was to create an imitation of a little Roman village where you can step back in time. The result is outstanding thanks to Puglia native Pino Brescia. Borgo Egnazia’s heavy emphasis on local culture & tradition can be seen everywhere. The waft of lemons, decorative farming touches and artfully placed baskets full of local nuts are all reminders that you’re in Puglia. Wow-worthy detail: the atrium with its immense olive tree look-alike. Add soft drapings, thousands of flickering candles, oversized lanterns and you have the most dreamiest setting ever.

The rooms? This village-style resort has accommodation options for everyone. Whether you’re the most seasoned luxury traveller or Madonna – she retreated in one of the hotel’s high-end, more classically-styled villas -, you’ll find what you’re looking for. The estate is divided into three areas: “La Corte”, the main hotel with sea-view or pool-facing bedrooms, the maze-like “Il Borgo” featuring rows of duplex townhouses and the 30 outlying pool villas. We stayed in townhouse number 74 where we loved our rosemary-filled backyard, star-gazing terrace and the original rustic-chic styling details. Waking up by singing birds felt like being in heaven. And, getting lost in “Il Borgo” with its hidden staircases, cobbled lanes and cottages dotted around a main piazza wasn’t unpleasant. Behind every corner lies something admirable.

The made-in-Italy theme is also implemented in all of Borgo Egnazia’s restaurants. Due Camini, the gourmet restaurant, serves regional dishes with a contemporary twist, La Frasca is a traditional Apulian “trattoria” and Pescheria Da Vito is the place to be for fresh fish by the sea. The buffet barbeque on the piazza is a must-book, true Italian experience. The downside? All the restaurants are gorgeous, but the food is very basic, bland and nothing memorable. A pity, considering how amazing everything else was. On the other hand, the pizzas are tasty and breakfast is extensive and served till late which is a big plus.

Cycling through the Puglian olive groves, admiring the trulli in Alberobello and practising your sea-side sweeps on the championship golf-course are a few of the highlights we really recommend. Furthermore, guest can get fit with a variety of activities & classes including Borgo Jogging and Iyengar Yoga. Even if you’re not a yogi, you’ll like Borgo Egnazia’s mood-improving yoga sessions. The surroundings are pretty and the things-to-do list is as long as your leg, but no one will bat an eyelid if you spend the day by one of the beach clubs or pools – there’s even an indoor one.

Plus, as if that weren’t enough, the Vair Spa, which is all thermal pools, flickering candles and top-level treatments inspired by Puglian traditions, ticks all the wellness boxes. Stiff muscles? Definitely try a deep-tissue massage from Thomas, a healing hero. Want a truly indulgent experience? Opt for the Spirt bathing ritual – our favourite – to fully enjoy the beauty, quality and calmness of perhaps the world’s best spa. Vair Spa is feel-good to the core and where it doesn’t take long to be lulled into a dreamy state. Also, it appears to be run by Roman goddesses to complete the picture of an ultimate Italian pearl of peace.

Does life get any better than this? We don’t think so. We’re still in awe.

NAME
Borgo Egnazia hotel, Italy
PRICERANGE
LOCATION
RATING
9.2
LOCATION
9.3
SERVICE
9.2
VIBE
9
STYLE
9.2
ROOMS
9.4
FOOD & DRINK
8
FACILITIES
10