As our rented Alfa Romeo pulled into the gates of Borgo Egnazia, I knew we were in for a fantastic escape. Far away felt the chaotic Autostrade highway that led us from Naples to Fasano, a small seaside town in Italy’s Puglia region, and the only reality that seemed to exist was in front of us, the white manor beckoning my wife and I inside with flickering candles illuminating the path.
We settled into a white linen couch (the peak of luxury), received the keys to our casetta and were given a brief tour of the 45-acre luxury property, as well as an overview of our itinerary for the week. Before I could say mille grazie to our assigned local friend for the week (like a concierge, you can text them for local recommendations or reservations), I knew I’d likely never want to leave this five-star property.
Opened in 2010 after six years of intense planning, design and construction to create a resort that feels entirely like a typical Apulian village, Borgo Egnazia is a property in its own class, billed to be “like nowhere else” and I can assure you, it’s not. Only 45 minutes from Bari or Brindisi, Puglia’s two port cities that are accessible via plane, train, ferry or, of course, car, Borgo Egnazia feels remote and dreamy without being totally impossible to access—which is perfect, because you’ll want to soak up every minute you can here…
The accommodations are out of a fairy tale
Borgo Egnazia offers standard hotel-style rooms in its main building, modeled after farmhouses typical of the region, as well as grand villas with private pools, i.e., the exact place I want to stay to celebrate my novel selling a million copies (or something like that). For those not quite able to splurge on Italian mansions, the casetta is luxe enough. OK, that’s an understatement. Our two-story house had a spacious living room, with an office or second bedroom should other guests want to stay in the accommodation that sleeps four. A spacious, private piazza offers plenty of space for sipping espresso outdoors or twirling around in the rain with no one watching simply because you can. Upstairs, a spacious bedroom with an attached balcony, as well as an upper rooftop, offered ample outdoor space to sip a spritz at sunset, and afterward unwind with a leisurely bath in the soaking tub in the enormous bathroom.
Borgo’s entire concept is to help guests escape reality and relax. Those who don’t want to be bothered by push alerts by the pool can opt to have their phones safely protected far away from their negronis and olives. The stress of planning is minimized by the property doing it all for you. Want to tour the historic Trulli in nearby Alberobello? Sit by the ocean and select the catch of the day to be prepared to your specific liking? Explore Ostuni, the medieval white city, and eat dinner in a romantic cave? The staff has it all down. Exercise classes are offered daily, from group runs to yoga or more intensive training, and the spa, Vair, offers a range of treatments designed with long-term wellness in mind. My wife and I indulged in the Roman baths, hidden in a basement below the massage rooms, followed by an hour-long massage in the same serene spa.
But let’s be real, you’re here for the food
Every morning at Borgo Egnazia starts with a complimentary breakfast buffet, plus supplementary dishes, like eggs or pancakes, in case you’re not totally satiated by the spread of traditional Apulian morning foods, like lupini beans and various colorful vegetables, an assortment of mozzarella varieties (including a luscious burrata I made part of my morning routine), baked goods and pastries (with gluten-free options!), a fresh juice station and a hot bar of proteins. Plus, all the cappuccinos you can sip!
The property is home to six restaurants (and room service) and also offers a shuttle to sibling properties such as Masseria San Domenico, where we had an impressive candlelit dinner in the outdoor restaurant.
Guests can also take part in weekly cooking classes on-site. During my visit, I loved the handmade pasta class, in which our small class of five learned to make five different Apulian pasta shapes, all by hand, and whipped up a simple cherry tomato sauce to go with our medley of pastas.
A signature to the property is the Egnazia Vermouth Rosso, a high-quality vermouth made with red Puglia wine and absolutely perfect over a single block of ice (engraved with the resort’s logo, of course). We drank as much as we could of it while we were there—by the lounge pools, at meals, after meals and in our room—and the incredible in-house boutique (get ready to drop some cash on flowing dresses and specialty ceramics) also sells it by the bottle to take home whenever you eventually have to leave.
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