Borgo Egnazia: The Italian hideaway for superstars
I never need much persuading to visit Italy; it is one of my favourite holiday destinations. In my opinion, this country ticks every box. There is delicious food, fine wine, welcoming people, rich history and a culture that instantly encourages you to relax and switch off from hectic everyday life.
While I have previously visited Florence and the surrounding Tuscan Hills, as well as Rome and the most Southern part of Sicily, the South East of the country was new territory. Puglia is on the Adriatic coastline and this region has a traditional Italian feel with beautiful rural scenery that runs parallel to charming fishing villages that are dotted along the seafront.
Nestled in the heart of Puglia is one of Europe’s most luxurious destinations. Borgo Egnazia is an impressive resort that veers away from overt lavishness and instead represents a discreet and traditional Italian hideaway. I almost don’t want to use the word ‘resort’ when describing this destination; that in itself seems too much of a contemporary expression as Borgo Egnazia is anything but contemporary.
While it was built only a few years ago, Borgo Egnazia emulates an ancient village. Its design takes you back in time to the days when the Mycenaean Greeks first colonised Puglia and their high society indulged with tremendous feasts of local produce, accompanied by the best wine and entertainment available. In 1861 the region became part of the Kingdom of Italy, which was when King Victor Emmanuel II of Sardinia was proclaimed King.
The driveway is surrounded by old olive trees and this region is responsible for producing much of Itlay’s olive oil. When you enter the reception area in the main building, which is known as La Corte, you are immediately wrapped in a beautiful scent that is coming from hundreds of candles that are dotted throughout the hallway. Not only is the scent incredible (due to demand the hotel is looking at releasing a fragrance range) but the soft, flickering light creates a beautiful atmosphere.
White linen drapes from the ceiling revealing delicate birdcages and soft sofas lined with beige cushions beckon you to rest your weary feet even before you reach your room. Once inside your quarters the inviting super king-sized beds will convince you to take a brief pause regardless of the time of day. Alternatively, you can relax on the balcony and enjoy the rays bouncing off the maze of walled alleyways that lead to Il Borgo, otherwise known as the central piazza.
Il Borgo is the innermost area of the property and the piazza is particularly lively during the summer. It is surrounded by villas, as well as one of the restaurants where cooking courses are held and the swimming pool that is specifically for young families and children. Il Borgo is where the marriage between American superstars Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel took place and some of the villas that back onto this specific part of the complex prove popular for couples on honeymoon. It is a striking setting with the internal and external architectural design reminiscent of a traditional Apulian village.
In addition to rooms in the main building and those near the piazza, Borgo Egnazia also offers a selection of spacious three storey villas that are located in a quieter area on the outer edge of the private village. These are particularly impressive and, with a very generous amount of outdoor space, they would be perfect for a group of friends or family. Aside from chic cream interior, each villa boasts a roof terrace with views of the surrounding countryside, as well as a separate outdoor dining area that is near to a private swimming pool.
Whenever I visit a holiday destination I am always keen to explore some of the local restaurants and there are plenty of places that offer fresh fish and traditional pasta dishes in the nearby village of Savelletri. There are also some small boutiques and the village welcomes visitors with open arms.
However, for the ultimate dinner treat there is a fine-dining restaurant situated within Borgo Egnazia and this is an essential part of your stay. Due Camini is an elegant and sophisticated gourmet restaurant, which presents guests with the very best cuisine that is prepared with Apulian ingredients. The service is second to none and the dress code ensures a very different experience from the casual bar near the swimming pool, which is just within vista.
Getaways are not just about indulging your taste buds and waistline; I always appreciate being able to exercise easily and I am not a fan of pounding a treadmill or being limited to a gym. While the spa facilities at Borgo Egnazia are fabulous, it probably comes as no surprise that this expansive resort also offers a wide range of outdoor activities. Whether it is playing a round of golf on the links course that lines the Adriatic Sea, walking to the local fishing port or making the most of the private beach, there is plenty to do if you want to breifly break away from Borgo Egnazia.
The private beach is a short bike ride away (10 minutes) and there are plenty of comfortable loungers that overlook the water. These line the decking and although this is not a sandy beach – some will certainly see that as a benefit – you still have the option to take a refreshing dip in the warm water. There is the added bonus of lounger service and a restaurant for those looking to spend from dawn until dusk soaking up the rays of sunshine.
Every time I stay in Italy I don’t want to leave and it was no different on this occasion. It remains one of my favourite places to visit and discovering a complex anywhere in the world that balances unadulterated luxury, along with a strong sense of unobtrusiveness is relatively rare. However, Borgo Egnazia gets the chemistry just right – it’s little wonder that so many of the world’s A-listers check in.
Watch Sloaney TV for highlights from Borgo Egnazia: