BORGO EGNAZIA, PUGLIA, ITALY
If you wanted proof that Puglia, in southern Italy, is Europe’s next big thing, then look no further than the recently-opened Borgo Egnazia resort. Already attracting a glamorous crowd of hip, young urban Italians, monied Europeans, and in-the-know Brits, Borgo, in Savelletri di Fasano on the Adriatic coast, is the place to come if you’re after contemporary modern design mixed in with a dash of authenticity.
The sprawling resort is modelled from the region’s creamy Tufa stone – with super-glam all-white interiors to match – and has been painstakingly built to resemble an ancient Apulian village, complete with piazzas and winding alleyways. Be warned: you will get lost.
With a price tag of €150m and no less than 10 years in the making, you’d expect a dramatic and unique place to rest your head. And you won’t be disappointed. This has the wow-factor and more.
Guests can choose quirky townhouses, modelled to resemble rustic cottages (sheaves of wheat, antique bottles and farm tools hang from the walls and ceiling), ultra-luxe villas, complete with oversized pools in lime-scented gardens, or chic, pared-down hotel suites. All boast fine linens, flat-screen TVs, Moroccan-style terraces and lavish bathrooms.
Beautifully glamorous at night –oversized lanterns with flickering candles light your way over the still-warm cobbles – you’d think this was an adults-only kind of place, but, it being Italy, all are welcome here –whatever your age.
Despite the three restaurants, cookery school, golf course, inventive kids club and streamlined pools, the real highlight here is the Vair Spa. Mixing pristine modern design and authenticity in equal measures, it is centred around a modern Roman bathhouse and is set to be one of the biggest spas in the Med, at 1,800m2.
Step out of the bright sunshine into the all-white, cool enclaves and it’s tantamount to stepping into a monastery. Just like the hotel’s nod towards local traditions, the spa aims to evoke the early traditions of Roman bathing and offers a plethora of Roman Thermae treatments. As this is Italy – a country that takes its spas very seriously indeed, it goes without saying that there’s also a whole host of dermatology, massage and physiotherapy treatments on offer, too. Borgo Egnazia may be situated on Italy’s heel, but it certainly kicks the others into touch.
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