Borgo Egnazia’s taciturn little sister Masseria Le Carrube embodies all that’s alluring about Puglia’s quieter side. This storied, stone farmhouse has no need of resort frills nor beachfront bluster to tempt discerning Italophiles to its serene setting outside Ostuni. Instead, the hotel lets acres of olive groves, orchards and gardens, vault-and-flagstone interiors and stellar farm-to-table dining do the talking. There’s no need to shout about its convenient co-ords either – which make it clear to anyone with a satnav that Puglia’s historic whitewashed towns and sandy Adriatic beaches are within easy reach of your blissful, bucolic base.
10am, but flexible, subject to availability and notice. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from £113.56 (€129), including tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €1.00 per person per night prior to arrival.
Rates include continental breakfast with sweet and savoury options, served in the restaurant.
Masseria Le Carrube has a handful of ground-floor rooms and one with a wheelchair-adapted ensuite.
The hotel is open fully between April and October; from November until March, some weekends are available (dates vary), at other times the hotel is closed.
At the hotel
Free WiFi. In rooms: satellite TV, air-conditioning, minibar.
Our favourite rooms
All rooms charm with simple tradition, their vaulted ceilings, pared-back decor and rustic furnishings evoking the storied past of this long-standing masseria. Opt for a suite if you can – a significant upgrade on a room with private outdoor space and a separate living room.
We’re not sure what Masseria Le Carrube’s ovine predecessors would make of the fact their former corral is now home to a chlorinated pool better suited to dips of the swimming variety rather than sheep… Sheltered by sun-heated stone walls with a stone deck and metal sunloungers, the lower pool is toddler shallow at one end with submerged steps leading into a deeper section. On the upper deck, adjacent to the family pool, a second lap pool comes with scenic views across the hotel’s surrounding countryside and is fed by fountain taps set into the raised wall at its edge.
There’s no spa at Masseria Le Carrube but you’ll have access to adults-only Vair spa at sister stay Borgo Egnazia, a 25-minute drive from the hotel.
Puglia’s riches are diverse – whitewashed towns for wandering, a sandy-shored coastline for beach days, and vineyards and olive groves for rambles and tastings – it’s asking a lot of your wardrobe, calling for multi-tasking pieces and deft layering.
Beach days get a cosseting upgrade at Cala Masciola in Savelletri, where the shoreline comes with watersports and kit, plus a polished restaurant: this consummate beach club, belonging to sister hotel Borgo Egnazia, is open to you throughout your stay.
Welcome, although the peaceful setting feels more tailored to adults. Junior suites and suites have sofa-beds; the two-bedroom family suite is your most spacious option.
Masseria Le Carrube’s respect for conservation is all around you – in the stone-cooled interiors of the hotel where the original farmhouse architecture has been upcycled with aplomb, and in the well-tended olive groves, orchards and kitchen garden on the estate that supply the hotel’s farm-to-table restaurant with seasonal produce: this zero-waste, vegetarian eatery is free of single-use plastic, too.
Any table in the room beside the old mill wheel, where lanterns are strung from a wooden beam and the space is framed by stone vaults, feels romantic – or a lantern-lit table on the terrace on dusky summer nights.
Plain linen, slub silk or hemp in inspired-by-the-land hues are a fitting choice for this farm-to-table restaurant.
Le Carrube is the masseria’s restaurant – a vaulted, flagstone-floored, split-level dining room of rustic, wooden tables and chairs – where a continental breakfast of fresh fruit, yoghurt, bread, pastries and cheese is served daily with tea, coffee and juice. It’s in the evening though that this understated eatery truly punches above its size with vegetarian plates that prove Italian cuisine can be healthy: familiar pizza and pasta staples are eschewed in favour of whatever’s fresh from the estate garden or plucked from the orchard, presented in chef Massimo Santoro’s tasting menu of inventive plates that changes daily but may include polpette of ricotta and basil, and signature dish carob troccoli with pesto, sun-dried tomatoes and almonds.
There’s a low-key feel to the bar at Masseria Le Carrube, better suited to convivial sundowners and a post-prandial glass or two. Take your aperitivi out to the lantern-lit courtyard, or opt for a table and chairs indoors at the bar and let staff talk you through the excellent Italian wine list, featuring a choice of Apulian reds.
The restaurant is open for breakfast, 8am–10.30am; lunch, 12.30pm–2.30pm, and dinner, 8pm–10pm.
You can order breakfast to your room between 8am and 10.30am.
Masseria Le Carrube is a few minutes’ drive from Ostuni, north of Brindisi on the northeast coast of Puglia, where fertile farmland – mainly olive groves – rolls towards Adriatic-lapped dunes.
Brindisi (sometimes called Salento) airport is a 40-minute drive from the hotel; private transfers can be arranged from €100 each way. Alternatively, Bari airport is 70 minutes away by road.
You can reach Ostuni by rail (the station’s a 15-minute drive from Masseria Le Carrube; private transfers can be arranged from €40 each way), with connections via Bari from Rome, although you’ll need wheels of your own to explore the Puglian countryside once you’ve disembarked, so it may be simpler to pick up a hire car in Bari.
Think of Masseria Le Carrube as your upscale base from which to explore Italy’s sun-kissed heel – this is not a contender for fly-and-flop escapes, so you’ll need a car for trips into Ostuni, days on the beach, plus cultural forays to explore the region’s whitewashed, historic towns. Private parking spots outnumber rooms at the Masseria and you can pick up wheels for hire at either Brindisi or Bari airports, although you’ll want to book well ahead for high summer.
Worth getting out of bed for
There’s no shortage of contrasts in days out along this stretch of north Puglian coastline – even its beaches offer choice; opt for back-to-nature shoreline walks among the dunes, rocky inlets and sea-sculpted driftwood of the Torre Gauceto nature reserve or opt for the modern comforts of Masseria Le Carrube’s partner beach club Cala Masciola in Savelletri, where a boat tour plus watersports including SUP and wakeboarding can be arranged. A 15-minute drive from the hotel, Ostuni is a time-worn treasure of whitewashed buildings cascading down narrow streets, punctuated by historic monuments – a Gothic-meets-Romanesque cathedral here, a mediaeval city gate there. It’s a city built on liquid gold and the hotel can arrange olive-oil tastings, but if you’d rather sip a glass of salice salentino than extra virgin, wine tastings can be organised, too. Other white towns that warrant exploring include Cisternino, trulli-wonderful Alberobello and hilltop Locorotondo in Valle d’Itria. Puglia’s olive-grove and vine-ribboned fertile plains are best savoured on horseback with a hack across the countryside.
A glut of gastronomic eateries peppers Ostuni. At family-run Casa Ciaccia, a courtyard of wrought-iron tables and chairs, sculptural wall fountains and vined trellises set the classical scene for typically Ostunian cuisine – grano pestato with parmesan cream and truffles, strascinate (pasta) with turnip tops and anchovy crumb, and pork ribs with smoked mash; opt for the crispy cockerel if you dare… Fish is the speciality of Porta Nova in Ostuni, where the views atop the 15th-century Aragonese tower are as spectacular as are the amberjack carpaccio, slow-cooked black cod, and spaghetto vongole; mains include tempura shrimp tails with black rice and cooked-to-order fish soup. Naming your restaurant after heaven feels like a high bar – one that starred hotel-restaurant Cielo reaches for at linen-topped tables set in a historic vaulted dining room with precisely plated dishes such as lobster in celeriac puff pastry, foie gras three ways, tortelli stuffed with hare and chef’s elevated take on Apulian staple fava beans and chicory. Cave dining sounds laced with jeopardy, but at rock-hewn restaurant Osteria del Tempo Perso actually involves gorging on Apulian plates such as cardoncelli mushroom bread, baked sea bass with clams, and orecchiette with zucchini flowers, which is the kind of dopamine high we’re all for. It’s worth heading to pizzeria Opera Prima for the panoramic views all the way to the coast served alongside an exhaustive choice of pizza, plus pasta, poke bowls and less carb-focused fish secondi; the all-Italian wine list offers almost as much choice as the pizza offerings, too.
Time your visit to the rooftop at Borgo Antico Bistrot in good time for sunset and some of the best apericena in town. For cocktails amid a low-lit cavern-like interior, make a beeline for Riccardo Caffè – its decades-long standing a testimony to its happy-hour-embracing success.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this country-estate hotel in southern Italy and unpacked their olive oil and taralli, a full account of their bucolic break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Masseria Le Carrube in Puglia…
Sun seekers, rejoice… no, hang on, that should be beach bunnies. Actually, this is one for the history hounds, or the wine lovers or the happy-just-wandering flâneurs. Italy’s heel Puglia serves up a surfeit of sybaritic and cultural treasures that keep its devotees coming back for more – a seasonal playground of alley-ribboned historic towns, sand dunes and surf, vine-lined terraces and fragrant olive groves. One beneficiary of all this abundance is Masseria Le Carrube: this storied farmhouse stay outside Ostuni is a whitewashed hideaway of farm-to-table dining, languid dips in scenic pools; quiet reads in stone-cooled courtyards and chatter over aperitivi in beguiling alfresco lounge spots – its olive groves and orchards obligingly doubling up as exquisite rural backdrop. It's the sister stay to Borgo Egnazia, giving you access to the coastal resort’s extensive spa and watersports-central beach club, as well as assurances of the calibre of carefree stay you can expect from the Puglian hoteliers. And yet that’s where the family resemblance ends: Masseria Le Carrube is small-scale and intimate, its stone-vaulted interiors are simply dressed – not only to flaunt its period features but all the better to encourage lo-fi days of loafing, interspersed with forays to the coast or into the countryside – important research to help you decide just what kind of Puglia yours is.