** NEW: Borgo Egnazia - Puglia Resort Where Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel Married (Free Italy Travel Advice) **
Editor's Note: This review of Borgo Egnazia first appeared in the February 2012 issue of Dream of Italy. This stunning is the seaside resort in Puglia where stars Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel were married.
Puglia, Italy's southeastern region at the “heel” of the boot, is bordered by both the Adriatic and Ionian Seas, giving it one of the longest coastlines of any region in Italy--almost 500 miles. Most of Puglia is flat and agricultural, growing fruit, vegetables and grain in its mild Mediterranean climate. Almond trees and olive groves flourish; there are more than 50 million trees (strictly protected) in this region alone!
It's in this lovely setting that you will find the Borgo Egnazia, a stunning resort built in creamy white stone and stucco with Renaissance, Moorish and Norman influences. San Domenico Hotels (owners of the famous nearby Masseria San Domenico) created the property from the ground up in the town of Savelletri di Fasano, about 45 minutes from Bari. It opened in the spring of 2011.
Only a golf course, owned by San Domenico Hotels, separates the borgo (meaning hamlet in Italian) from the Adriatic Sea. There are 63 rooms and suites in La Corte, the resort's central building. The borgo, set up as a small village with charming lanes, pink and purple bougainvillea and characteristic Puglian white and cream walls, contains another 92 units, ranging from 485-square-foot rooms to two- bedroom townhouses with fully equipped kitchenettes, two bathrooms a large sitting area, and a furnished patio. There are an additional 28 three-bedroom villas of almost 2700 square feet, accommodating six guests. These luxury villas have fireplaces, full kitchens including dishwashers, dining rooms and pools.
The tasteful accommodations are united in styling--eclectic, and modern yet warm and friendly--rustic chic. The feelings conveyed are comfort, warmth and relaxation. Elements of nature, reflective of Puglia's close connection to the land are apparent throughout with stone floors, cotton window treatments, and ample displays of dried wood. But the rooms have all the modern conveniences, such as tilting mirrors and excellent toiletries in the bathroom, I-Pod docks, flat-screen TVs and complimentary wireless Internet access.
There are several ways to keep oneself occupied here, including the 18-hole championship golf course along the Adriatic (shared with two other properties in the San Domenico collection--guests of the Borgo have first dibs on tee times). Three outdoor pools, and an indoor pool, allow for a change of scenery near the water. The tennis academy offers lessons with professionals on three courts, one of which is grass.
The resort's talented chef offers cooking classes focusing on fresh local ingredients. The two private beach clubs cater to both families and those traveling without children; both offer dining options. One can participate in water sports such as sailing and wind surfing or just loll in the comfortable chaises. A cigar lounge, game room, reading room, and boutique are other places to while away the hours here. The Trullalleri Kids Club handles children from ages eight to thirteen and the Fichi d'India Teen Club provides all kinds of activities for the older set, including golf and tennis clinics and a multimedia area.
And let's not forget the 20,000 square foot spa/wellness center, called Vair. The variety of treatments here range from natural facial treatments to flotation sessions to the use of the tepidarium, calidarium, frigidarium, salt sauna, whirlpool, cleansing and purification rituals to manicures and pedicures.
The borgo's location makes a great base for seeing some of Puglia's many highlights: the trulli (conical stone houses) of Alberobello, the white-washed town of Ostuni, the vineyards of Locorotondo and the Baroque city of Lecce are all within an hour's drive. Not that you'll ever want to leave……
Rosanne Cofoid is the president of La Dolce Via Travel (www.ladolceviatravel.com).
Savelletri di Fasano
(39) 080 2255000
Rates: Superior doubles start at 176 to 312€ per night, depending on the season.