With a private beach, seven pools and a seafood restaurant lapped by the Adriatic, waterfront hotel La Peschiera reads like a love letter to the Puglian seaside. Almost everywhere you look, azure blues frame the view: each suite has a terrace overlooking the pools on one side, and sweeping sea views on the other. Add to that the traditional interiors with muslin-draped beds and cerulean fabrics, and you’ve got a hotel that’s the embodiment of the south-Italian coast. Spend your days between sea and sunlounger, where an icy Aperol Spritz awaits, or ask the concierge team to organise wine tastings, Vespa rides or a helicopter tour over Puglia’s most picturesque towns.
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Welcome cocktails, €40 credit to spend on food and drinks and a La Peschiera bag
If we were pushed to pick, we’d go for a Sunrise Room, which has a terrace facing the pools, another on the roof (which makes an excellent spot for sundowners), and a third with an uninterrupted view of the Adriatic.
Not content with the Adriatic Sea on its doorstep, the hotel has no fewer than seven outdoor pools, with sun terraces making up the space between them. They vary in size and temperature – the largest is 25m, perfect for a few morning laps; the smallest is a tiny plunge pool filled with icy water. There are also cascades (perfect for loosening shoulders) and a section of bubbling rapids to massage your legs.
There’s a sauna by the pool, and guests can also hop on a free shuttle to sister hotel Il Melograno, where there’s a spa with a hammam, sauna, plunge pool and several treatment rooms and a relaxation area. The menu includes Ayurvedic, Polynesian and Aromatherapy massages, facials with essential oils like neroli and ylang-ylang, and targeted body treatments.
Crisp whites and maritime blues – what else?
All the common areas are wheelchair accessible, and there’s one specially adapted room with a step-free entrance and larger bathroom.
Over-10s are welcome at the hotel, but there’s no kid’s menu or facilities, making it better suited to adults.
You can’t beat a table on the front edge of the terrace, where you’ll have an unbroken view across the horizon.
It’s Italy and you’re on the Adriatic, so don’t be afraid of dressing up a little, particularly in the evenings.
Saleblu (a reference to the Persian blue salt used in the kitchen) is the jewel in the hotel’s crown. Perched right on the water’s edge so that you can hear the waves lap the rocks, this coastal restaurant ticks all the right boxes. Shaded by rippling canvas sails, the all-white terrace combines with the blue of the Adriatic to form the most classic of maritime colour schemes. Come evening, the open sides give diners uninterrupted sunset views. Naturally, seafood’s the speciality, paired with vegetables from local farms and wine from Puglian vines. Whether you’re in the mood for oysters, langoustines or grilled snapper, you can be sure that it’ll hit the mark.
The Lounge Bar overlooks the private beach, so you needn’t stray far from your lounger for a refill. Try the house specials, the oyster Martini, a perfect partner for a plate of Puglian crudo.
Lunch is served from 12.30pm to 2.30pm; dinner from 7.30pm to 10.30pm. The bar is open from 7.30am to midnight.
During the day, there’s a menu of snacks and light meals, including sandwiches, salads and two mains from the restaurant. After dark, peckish night owls can order cold dishes like charcuterie and cheese platters.
La Peschiera is in Puglia, on Italy’s sun-kissed heel. The Adriatic Sea is mere steps away; the historic town of Monopoli is a 10-minute drive up the coast.
Brindisi is the closest international airport. It’s well connected with Italian airports and nearby European destinations, but direct flights from the UK are few and far between – you’re best flying via Rome or Milan. The other option is Bari, another regional airport that’s best reached via Italy’s hubs. It takes around 40 minutes to drive from either airport to the hotel; private transfers (for up to three people) can be arranged for €120 each way.
Direct Trenitalia services run between Rome and Monopoli; the fastest of them takes around four-and-a-half hours. Once you’ve arrived in Monopoli, it’s a 10-minute taxi journey to the hotel.
You don’t need a car, but coastal villages like Ostuni and Polignano a Mare are well worth seeing, so your own set of wheels will come in handy if you like to take day trips on your own terms. If you want to hire, the Smith24 team can arrange it. There’s free parking at the hotel, too.
Worth getting out of bed for
At La Peschiera, the day starts as we wish they all would, with a tap at the door as your breakfast is brought to the room. From that point on, you can either spend the day alternating between the sea, sand and swimming pools, or try one of the many activities on offer. Wake early to catch an octopus or go deep-sea fishing, then bring your catch along to a cooking class with chef Vito, who’ll show you how to prepare it the Apulian way. The concierge will happily arrange offsite experiences, too. Sip your way through the region’s vineyards or tour its olive groves, cycle to Egnazia, a Roman ruin dating from 4BC, explore the Adriatic on a private yacht or hire a Vespa to zip through the valley of Itria, a tract of rich farmland peppered with historic villages. For a blowout that you’ll remember for years to come, book the panoramic helicopter tour. A chauffeur will whisk you to sister hotel Il Melograno, where your chopper will be waiting. Whether you choose the two or six-hour flight, you’ll have ample time to soar over the fertile valley of Itria and its most picturesque towns, including Cisternino, Locorotondo and Alberobello. Extending to a full-day trip, you can get as far as Gallipoli, stopping for lunch at a restaurant on the coast.
If it’s your first time in the area, don’t miss the chance to stroll round Monopoli, a 10-minute drive up the coast. Highlights include the 16th-century Charles V Castle and the Baroque cathedral. A few miles further north is Polignano a Mare, a clifftop town that looks as if it’s risen from the turquoise bay.
For glorious gelato in a multitude of flavours, stop in at Caffé Roma in Monopoli. Though they may not agree on the best flavour, the number of locals who frequent this town favourite are proof of its authenticity and quality – the cakes and pastries are first-rate too. In Lecce, moodily-lit restaurant Nazionale serves refined mod-Puglian dishes that play with the region’s classic ingredients and cooking methods. For fine dining, you’ll find it hard to top the hotel’s restaurant, but if you do want to have dinner out, try Osteria Il Poeta Contadino, where family-style classics are cooked in an impressive wood-burning oven.
Dazzling sea views are the sort of thing holiday dreams are made of. There is nothing quite like waking up in the morning, stretching and opening the curtains to reveal a stretch of sparkling blue as far as the eye can see. This is what Puglian boutique hotel La Peschiera has in spades, sitting by the azure blue of the Adriatic. The beauty of the hotel – a former fishery before its luxurious rebirth, hence the name – is that each of the 13 perfectly appointed rooms sit right at the sea’s edge. None of this ‘partial sea view’ business, or being charged an extravagant price to eye up a skinny slither of water. Each view is bold, generous and bountiful, just as it should be.
The hotel rooms are fairly low-key, with no luxurious products or personal touches to speak of, but these hardly seem to matter when you clock the view. My mornings here generally involved a tasty Continental breakfast taken on the terrace (you can order the night before and wake up to an array of goodies), which, yes, overlooks the sea, spectacularly so. This was done in my dressing gown, while I gazed out over the blue yonder. Then I’d read a little of my book, and take a dip in the sheltered rock-pools right in front of my room, because quite frankly it would be rude not to. We also found these natural pools to be an exceptional spot to sit and have an apéritif, surrounded by the dusky pink of the day’s end.
Should you find it in you to remove yourself from the terrace – I found it terribly hard – the hotel also has seven (yes, seven) unique swimming pools and a private beach with sunloungers. I discovered this because, yes my friends, my room had two terraces: one seawards, the other facing the array of pools and the unusual, angular bright-white building over which woven roofs cast photogenic shadows. The pools differ in size and temperature, and reflect the blue skies to dazzling effect. With so many to go round, there’s a wonderful sense of privacy too – we easily stole away to a private, romantic spot.
We found this a great base for exploring Northern Puglia too. Most days, we headed to seaside resort Savelletri for lunch most days and we wholly recommend locally loved restaurant Alba Chiara for fresh-from-the-water picks right on the beach. Captivating historic town Polignano a Mare has a wonderful beach, and the medieval town of Ostuni – named the White City for its rabble of pallid buildings – is also a short drive away.
When we were hungry, we panicked not, because a hop, skip and jump away from the pools, is the hotel’s restaurant Saleblu, which leans out over the water, so you could practically fish for your own super. Thankfully they’ve got people to do that for you, and the Puglian seafood was the star of the show. Choose whichever is the freshest catch of the day, and try it carpaccio: raw, salty and as nature intended. Follow it up with a classic local delicacy, ricci di mare: spaghetti layered with sea urchins (just the coral, no spiky bits), which was rich with a punch--packing umami. The wine list is made up of thoughtfully chosen Italian classics, from near and far, and the staff are friendly, professional and eager to make your meal one to remember.
This is what La Peschiera excels at: quiet, thoughtful service. We were well looked after by all, from the waiters and barkeeps to the concierge, who will help you to book local experiences should you have anything pressing on your to-do list, or simply make sure you have a printed copy of your ongoing itinerary and flight details. And, with heavy hearts, we checked ours and packed to ready ourselves for the trip home. However, to ward off sea withdrawal and end-of-holiday blues, we made a stop in Bari before our flight home to try some of the best focaccia in all of Italy (at just €2 a slice), a little taste to keep us sated before our return.