Masseria San Domenico – Puglia, Italy
Once a watch tower for the 14th century Knights of Malta against a Saracen invasion, then a farm, Masseria San Domenico is now a luxurious and very charming five-star retreat – evocative of a region where western and eastern cultures meet. Meticulously restored stark white buildings, arched passageways and atmospheric piazzas lie in one hundred hectares of olive groves, stretching down to the shores of the Adriatic. And gardens brim with bougainvillaea and carry the heady scent of jasmine.
This very grown-up retreat is family owned and run, with a team of attentive and helpful staff. It’s a place to relax and enjoy the colourful Puglian way of life.
At A Glance
Location:On the Adriatic coast, close to the fishing village of Savelletri.
Rooms:40 rooms & suites.
Swimming:Enormous seawater lagoon pool, heated indoor pool & the Adriatic just steps away.
Children:This is a retreat for grown-ups. Children need to be aged 14 and over.
Accessibility:Certain rooms are accessible to those with reduced mobility.
Open From:April - October.
Price:From €839 per room, per night.
Classically furnished and decorated, the rooms and suites are bright and airy, with marble and travertine bathrooms. Some have private terraces and most are located in the historic main building, with four special rooms right on the shoreline. For a larger party or those seeking total privacy there is also a stand-alone two-bedroomed villa with its own heated pool and set in lush gardens.
The region of Puglia is famous for its simple, yet hearty and generous dishes. The soil is incredibly fertile, meaning most of the produce is local, and indeed, the Masseria grows much of its own ingredients and makes its own olive oil. The local wine is also excellent, and the cellars are stocked with a fine range. Feast on typical Apulian fresh seafood and seasonal dishes at San Domenico – a vaulted 18th-century hall, or enjoy salads, grilled dishes and delicious homemade pasta at San Domenico by the Pool.
Down by the sea, La Nassa serves freshly caught fish – its speciality being carpaccio – and oysters, and is the perfect spot for an aperitif. Both the Pool Bar and Bar Ulivo serve light snacks all day – meaning you don’t have to wander far from your sun lounger.
This part of Puglia is a beautiful destination to explore, with whitewashed villages and a dramatic coastline – we recommend hiring a car. If you’re just after a few days doing very little, then here’s the place to do it. Masseria San Domenico has two private beaches, one with soft white sand and the other rocky – both with shallow, turquoise waters. Back at the resort, there’s a vast and gorgeous swimming pool that seems to just blend into the gardens and surrounding rocks.
Golfers will love the San Domenico Golf course, an expertly designed championship eighteen hole links course, with the Adriatic on one side and olive groves on the other. It’s worth coming here for the Spa alone. Specialising in the ancient practice of Thalassotherapy (treatments using mineral-rich seawater), the Wellness centre at San Domenico is first-class. It focuses on elements of the healthy Mediterranean lifestyle, and has a lengthy list of therapies aimed at weight loss, stress relief and revitalisation.
On the Adriatic coast, close to the fishing village of Savelletri – 32 miles from Brindisi & 50 miles from Bari.