Tuscany, Amalfi, Sicily, Sardinia, been there done that? Looking for your next Italian destination? Head to the “heel of the boot”.

BORGO

The opening of Borgo Egnazia in 2012 has put the region of Puglia on the map.  Puglia makes up the area that is considered the heel of the boot.

Borgo Egnazia is a large five star luxury resort located in a small town called Silvestrano about one hour south of Bari.  The property was built from the ground up.  The buildings are made of local stone and the resort was designed and built to mimic a typical village in Puglia.  Borgo means “village” in Italian and the resort appears to be a village.  The décor is very Moorish with tones of whites and creams throughout the common areas and guest rooms.   The property has both rooms, suites and large villas with their own private pools if you are traveling with your family or a group.     As a result of being recently built, everything is new and modern.  The rooms all have outdoor seating, comfortable beds, large modern bathrooms and impressive amount of closet and storage space.  Beddings, toiletries and shower pressure (you know, the basics) were to a very high standard.

What to do?

There are many reasons to go to Puglia……the beaches and beach clubs, the tomatoes, the friendly people, the grilled fish, the history, the weather, the wine, the architecture I could go on and on.

The property itself is large, complete with two beach clubs, a golf course, gym, spa, three pools, fantastic kids club, four restaurants and a few bars.  If you don’t want to leave the property you would want for little however the area has so much to offer.

Each guest is assigned an “experience manager” which is basically your own concierge.   The hotel has a myriad of “extra-curricular” activities, both complimentary and paid and both on and off the property.   From cooking classes to Pomodoro Festivals to biking in the olive groves to exploring local villages and UNESCO sites by Segway.  You can chose to keep yourself very busy or chose to just relax at the beach or pool.  The property is a great fit for both families and couples.

If you are a family, there are a number of reasons your kids will love this place….the kids club has a massive staff/kid ratio so if a kid was not playing with another kid someone was playing with your kid.  They had a diversity of activities every day and my 9 year old son could not have been happier.  The counselors and organization in the kids club could not have been better.  The resort is large (requiring golf cart shuttle) and the staff went out of their way to coordinate bringing our son to us at the beach club toward the end of the day, saving us the 10 or 15 minute shuttle back and forth to retrieve him.  The property has a unique bicycle rental shop with 4 wheel go carts that the kids explore the resort.  Great idea.

There are three common pools, two adult pools and one family pool.  In addition, the villas also have their own private pools.   All of them offer food and beverage service and are surrounded by ultra-plush padded sun loungers, something one might appreciate when spending most of the day lounging by pool or beach reading a book.   The hotel offers two beach clubs, one is a rocky, very hip club like scene with a substantial restaurant attached. The other beach club is a sandy beach with a more Zen like setting and a modest but very good food and drink service.  They are each a short shuttle from the main entrance to the property.

This is a great destination for couples, a large group and certainly for families with kids.  Service is exceptional and room quality and dinning would impress the most demanding traveler.

I would rarely write about an individual staff member but we were impressed with Sabina who is the head experience manager at the Borgo.  I joked with her that there must have been a few clones of her running around with a smile as she keeps all the balls in the air.  The staff was super attentive with a concierge assigned to help us with anything on the property or off the property.  So which beach club, restaurant or nearby town to visit was driven by great local advice and local contacts.

 

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