Masseria Trapana, Puglia

After a few days in Southern Italy I began to adapt to the slow pace of life and became accustomed to my beautiful surroundings. For the final stop of our Puglia tour we drove our little Fiat 500 hire car down to Lecce, for a two night stay at Masseria Trapana.

Masseria TrapanaMasseria Trapana

This boutique hotel took my breath away. When owner Rob Potter-Sanders bought the 16th century farmhouse a few years ago it was in ruins and had been neglected and untouched for over 100 years. After extensive rebuilding and sensitive renovation works, the hotel opened for business in October 2015, complete with the original olive press and the chapel of Santa Barbara, where the old frescoes have been restored.

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Masseria Trapana is set amongst sixty hectares of ancient olive groves and has six gardens in the hotel grounds, where fruit and nut trees produce an abundant crop each year. Every corner has been carefully considered, with charming decor and furniture making it a blissful place to walk and spend time in.

There are just ten suites which gives the hotel an intimate and special feel, and there is also the option of renting out the whole masseria exclusively as a private villa, on a weekly basis, for special occasions.

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We were extremely comfortable in our very spacious and airy Garden Suite. The design is similar in all the suites, a subtle cream colour scheme with accents of red. All the furniture chosen is of the finest quality, and a luxurious four poster bed is topped with lovely bespoke linen.

A small private garden brings light into the room and also provides the perfect place for a giant bathtub, so you can bathe outdoors beneath your own orange tree, which has the most exquisite floral scent.

The bathroom was a sanctuary of honey-hued stone and indulgent features. Kitted out with a powerful rain shower, dual sinks and chic striped towels. I was more than excited to discover our bathroom stocked with Aesop miniature toiletries – my favourite beauty brand from Australia.

Masseria Trapana

If you decide to spend your days at the hotel, the pool is a lovely place to unwind and soak up the sun. For day excursions there are plenty of charming towns nearby to visit. Lecce is the closest, just a 15 minute drive away, slightly further afield you will find picturesque coastal villages like Gallipoli and Otranto. The helpful staff at Masseria Trapana will help you plan every aspect of your Puglian itinerary so you can make the most of this enchanting area.

Masseria Trapana

Local restaurants can be hit and miss in this area, so after a few nights exploring the culinary options in Lecce you may prefer to enjoy a leisurely dinner at the hotel, where local chef Maria Carla serves up delicious traditional dishes. We enjoyed the flavoursome speciality ‘Trapana’ pasta dish and a perfectly cooked piece of chicken wrapped in parma ham. For dessert, I was delighted to be served panna cotta, one of my all time favourite Italian puddings. Wine from the region is served with dinner, or the waiters will make you an aperitif of your choice.

Breakfast is always served outside, in the dewy morning light beneath the trees. A buffet of continental treats includes traditional pastries, fruit, meats and cheese. Being Australian, Rob caters specially for his guests from down under with lamingtons (sponge cake coated in chocolate and coconut) and vegemite! Don’t miss the fresh juices made from the citrus trees that surround you.

Masseria Trapana

Masseria Trapana is a paradisiacal retreat in the idyllic Puglian landscape… as soon as you’ve visited once you’ll be planning annual return visits to this magical home away from home.

More information and book a stay at Masseria Trapana here.

Okko Hotel, Grenoble Jardins Hoche

The hotel scene in Grenoble is tired and old-fashioned, with few options for stylish travellers. The new Okko Hotel is changing that, with their modern urban accommodation.

Okko Hotel Grenoble

The lift on the ground floor will transport to up to level 1 where a quick and easy check-in takes place. There are Classic and Premium rooms to choose from, both of which offer custom-made Cocomat bed covered in Italian crumpled linen, Nespresso machine, walk-in shower & bathroom and cosmetics from Nuxe. Our classic bedroom felt small but functional, with everything we needed for a short weekend break.

Okko Hotel GrenobleOkko hotel grenoble

The bedrooms are cleverly designed with asymmetrical features throughout. A small desk allows business guests to work, while a leather sofa and flatscreen tv are a tempting option for those who need to unwind after a long journey.

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All the Okko Hotels have a Club area, which allows guests to relax with a drink or snack, read or work. In the Grenoble hotel the Club space is open and light with contemporary furniture providing a welcoming room to spend time in. During the day delicious little cakes, juices and bottles of water are available and complimentary for all guests.

Okko hotel grenoble

After a good night’s sleep we wandered downstairs, where a light continental buffet breakfast of is served in the Club lounge. We took our pastries and coffees out to the terrace, to enjoy the fresh air and view over the city.

The Okko Hotel in Grenoble was the perfect place to rest our heads during our short time in the city. Functional but fun, this centrally located hotel is comfortable, luxurious and stress-free.

Chris Kenny Grenoble

While in Grenoble don’t miss the Chris Kenny exhibition at the Musee Hebert, a magical collection of works which feel wonderfully at home in this beautiful building.

More information and book a stay at Okko Hotel, Grenoble Jardins Hoche here.

At the Chapel, Bruton

Bruton is home to the hip Hauser & Wirth gallery space so it makes sense that there is somewhere suitably stylish and creative for visitors to stay nearby. In the centre of the charming town of Bruton you will find At the Chapel, a beautifully restored medieval chapel with eight minimalist luxury bedrooms, a relaxed restaurant and an artisan bakery.

We were staying in Room 8 for a night, an indulgent mid-week escape from London. This large ground-floor room opens out onto a garden terrace and has a stunning spacious marble bath with free-standing bath and walk-in shower. Rooms range in price dependent on size, from £150 for the most petite to £250 for Room 5 which can accommodate families. I loved Room 2 which features the original 19th century stained glass window and Room 6, a first floor, south-facing bedroom which is gloriously light and offers views of the surrounding area. The rooms are decorated with modern artworks and vintage furniture, whilst ensuring the top comfort with king-sized decadent beds and smart tvs and ipod docks. The bathrooms are elegant and smart with Ren toiletries and cosy bathrobes.

The food at At the Chapel has a widespread reputation for good reason. Homemade pizzas at night and freshly baked croissants in the morning (delivered to the room) kept me satisfied. Locals visit the bakery throughout the day to pick up lunch or pastries and we couldn’t help buying a few of the irresistable loaves before we left.

During the day the building is at your disposal. Choose to enjoy an aperitif in the Clubroom or out on the terrace, or read the newspapers with a coffee upstairs in the secluded balcony. There are regular arty events held here and a wineshop stocking a carefully chosen selection of organic and biodynamic wines from small producers.

Without much competition nearby, At the Chapel is single-handedly making Bruton a must visit destination for hip foodie travellers.

Book a stay At the Chapel here.