This quaint property with historic roots doesn't quite live up to its advertised four-star status, thanks to the simplicity of its small rooms. However, the outdoor pool is chic, the grounds are appealing, and the underground Turkish bath is a highlight. The resort offers free (and fairly frequent) shuttle service to the nearby beach (as well as free beach loungers). All in all, it is a solid option for couples who want a romantic getaway or families looking for a peaceful holiday in a natural setting (although children are provided with better amenities at some of the surrounding resorts, such as the Robinson Club Apulia).
A simple, peaceful hotel with historic roots and a country setting
From the road, Masseria Fontanelle is marked by a wooden sign in front of a fieldstone wall covered in foliage. Overall, the hotel has a charming and rustic vibe marked by simplicity -- a reminder of Fontanelle's humble history. It started out as a 17th Benedictine monastery and was repurposed as housing for generations of local farmers; the hotel's present-day owners have tried (and succeeded) in maintaining much of the structure's original architecture and decor. This is most evident in the ancient dome-shaped stone reception building (also outfitted with reinforcing solid white-framed entry and glass doors). Inside the decor is of a charming country style, with simple art, seashells, and wall ornaments.
Outside, a fieldstone wall surrounds the hotel buildings and rustic stone pathways provide scenic passage through the park-like pine tree grounds. Various pieces of patio furniture pepper the perimeter of the hotel while an assortment of picnic tables rest farther out under the trees. The vibe is relaxing and removed, perfect for anyone looking to get away for awhile.
Natural setting between the sea and pine forest; over a mile from the nearest town
Located off of a quiet, stone road (with a sign that can be easily missed), Masserina Fontanelle is over a mile from the hustle and bustle of the nearest town. Resting on a hilltop overlooking the Salento Sea, the hotel shares its grounds with 12 acres of shady pine forest. The closest airport, Brindisi, is almost 50 miles away while the city of Lecce is around an hour's drive. The beach is about a 20-minute walk away, and shuttle service is provided.
Rooms are small but feature preserved 17th century character.
Thirty guestrooms have been created within the original Benedictine nuns quarters. This may account for their generally modest size, although the Deluxe Rooms are larger and can accommodate additional beds and/or cribs. Deluxe Rooms also have four-poster beds, original floors, and (in some) intact stone fireplaces. All rooms have white furniture and shuttered windows with cute curtains, for an appealing country style. Minibars, air-conditioning, LCD TVs, and outdoor patios with table and chairs are standard amenities. Simple tiled bathrooms come with a large sink, bidet, and basket of quality toiletries. Each room receives a parasol and two sun chairs down at the beach (Deluxe Rooms get a front-row position).
Spa treatments, a grotto pool, and a free beach shuttle top the hotel's features.
The hotel's Mediterranean restaurant, Bellavista, sits at the hotel's highest point; it has gotten mixed reviews and some complain of small portion size. Outfitted with wooden floors and white chairs, it serves lunch, dinner and a free breakfast, while a small stone decorated bar serves drinks. Thankfully, the hotel operates a free shuttle to the beach, which is around around a mile away. A small spa, tucked underneath the main pool in a stone-walled building, contains a Turkish steam bath and cloth-divided treatment areas. Kids can play on an outdated playground or stage and adults can play tennis, dip in the chic swimming pool, or partake in fitness classes on the beach.
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