Poet Anna Akhmatova once said ‘’Italy is a dream that keeps returning for the rest of your life’’ and she couldn’t have been more right about that. It’s a country I return to time and time again when I’m craving the vibrant, bustling piazzas of Rome or the laid-back life on the charming island of Ischia, but I’m yet to explore one of Italy’s most popular regions, Puglia, where I’ll soon be heading to stay at the new Paragon 700 Boutique Hotel & Spa.
I’ll be one of the first to visit this brand-new hotel located in the heart of Puglia’s White City, Ostuni- a former red palace no less, which from the photos, elegantly stands out against the city’s famous whitewashed walls. With only eleven rooms, I’ll only have to share my surroundings with a few others making it feel somewhat exclusive I presume. That suits me perfectly in this current climate. But it’s the hotel’s gorgeous garden and swimming pool – very rare to find in the city- that enticed me the most. I’m already dreaming of my morning stroll around the main square, which I’m told is only a five-minute walk away, before heading back to the hotel’s garden oasis to relax under the fragrant citrus orchard with a new novel or cooling off with a dip in the pool.
I plan to let the stresses of the past few months disappear as I delve seven meters underground to the hotel’s former water chamber, now transformed into what looks like a truly unique spa. I feel relaxed just thinking about my body submerging into the Turkish bath or under the multi-sensory shower. I believe this intimate haven of health and wellbeing can be booked exclusively by couples wanting a little more privacy too.
Italy’s cuisine alone is enough to tempt me back each time, and I have high hopes for Paragon’s gourmet offering with a head chef like Giovanni Cerroni, the protégé of Michelin-starred Paulo Airaudo. What better way to end the day than with an exquisite meal using the finest, fresh, local ingredients and a glass of vintage vino from the hotel’s very own wine cellar…bellissima!
After a final nightcap at the hotel’s sultry Bar 700, I will retreat to my grand dame of a room, whose features have been painstakingly restored to preserve the iconic Italian palace. Sinking into the bed with its crisp stone washed bed linen, taking in the huge cathedral ceilings, I will drift off dreaming of what the next day will bring. Maybe I’ll opt for a tailor-made experience… a voyage on Paragon’s private boat… or possibly a wine-tasting or a visit to P-beach, the hotel’s sister beach club? What about a motorbike tour of the city or shall l learn how to make Burrata at a local cookery class? Oh Italy, the bella vita!…