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MICHELIN Guide hotel selection

La Sommita Relais

  • Via Scipione Petrarolo 7, Brindisi, Italy
  • 9 Rooms

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MICHELIN Guide hotel selection

La Sommita Relais

  • Via Scipione Petrarolo 7, Brindisi, Italy
  • 9 Rooms
Tablet’s Review

The hotels experts at the MICHELIN Guide

18.7
Verified guests have rated this hotel out of a possible score of 20

The idea of Italy as a holiday destination brings with it certain expectations, certain familiar scenes — from the palazzos and canals of Venice to the streets of Rome, buzzing with motorbikes; from the red roofs and vineyard rows of Tuscany to the cliffside mansions of the Amalfi coast.

Ostuni, then, seems like another world. A knotty assemblage of white stone buildings, clustered together atop a hill that rises alone from the arid plains of Puglia’s Adriatic coast, it’s got a bit of the desert about it — the view from La Sommita’s patio, over the whitewashed rooftops and clotheslines of the town, across miles of low olive trees to the edge of the sea, looks more like North Africa than it does the archetypal Italian landscape.

What seems like an unconventional choice for a location in fact plays directly to the hotel’s strength. There’s no sense that you’re here to “do” Ostuni; though there’s a charming Gothic cathedral, an endless supply of historic buildings and any number of picturesque alleyways to wander down, this is not the sort of place where you drop your luggage and rush into the town, snapping photos. This is a retreat, a shelter, a moment of quiet in an overstimulated life, an environment that’s meant to envelop rather than impress.

And though fashioned from a centuries-old palazzo, La Sommita isn’t much to look at from the outside: in fact it’s near impossible to tell where it ends and the adjoining buildings begin. The main entrance, at the end of a winding alleyway, feels as though it must be the side door, and the reception is discreetly tucked away half behind a staircase. Up the stairs, the nine (just nine!) suites, spread throughout the building in a calculatedly disorienting effect — the square geometry of the traditional hotel with its rows and columns of rooms is lost completely. Any sense of orientation with respect to the outside world is likely to be illusory: top-floor bathrooms feel like basement vaults, and every suite feels as though it could be the only suite.

The interiors walk the line between an ascetic minimalism and a stylish luxury, in a palette of creams and off-whites, with the sort of quiet and solid furnishings that are the signifiers of high-end modern interior design. The Culti name is in evidence, but discreetly so: though practically a showroom for the Italian lifestyle brand, the trademark is apparent only on the bottles containing the bath amenities and on the necks of the alarmingly solid clothes hangers.

The vast bathrooms may yet be the centerpiece of each suite: with walls of stone blocks, and curved ceilings coming to a point at a small skylight, they evoke an atmosphere like that of a hidden underground spa. A massive tub sits at one end, framed by an archway, and alongside it a substantial heap of towels and robes, along with a generous assortment of the house brand’s bath products.

Downstairs, an old olive press has made way for an intimate restaurant — recently awarded a Michelin star — with a handful of tables under an arched stone ceiling, and spilling out onto the shaded and quiet patio terrace. Here a decidedly modern Italian cuisine is on offer, an austere simplicity relying on top-quality local ingredients. Service is modern as well, relaxed and unpretentious in a way that well serves the atmosphere of this small hotel.

The beaches are a short taxi ride away, a selection of massage and spa treatments on offer in the vault below the restaurant, and if you’re up for a bit of exploring, Ostuni’s old town is packed with cafes and restaurants. The hotel, though, inspires meditation above all else. It’s the opposite of the dazzling pyrotechnic effects of Italy’s grand old palace hotels; with no sea view, Renaissance architecture or uniformed bellmen making a show of old-fashioned hospitality, La Sommita is a perfectly hypnotic escape, a sedate and sequestered place to disappear for a day or a week. It hardly feels like a traditional hotel at all, and is all the more restful and relaxing for it.

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Facilities & services
  • Free wi-fi
  • Wi-fi (charges apply)
  • Self service parking (charges apply)
  • Valet parking (charges apply)
  • Bar
  • Wine Cellar
  • Room service
  • Restaurant
  • Spa
  • Spa treatments (on request)
  • Turkish bath
  • Jacuzzi
  • Steam rooms
  • 100% non-smoking hotel
  • 24 hour concierge
  • 24 hour front desk
  • Adjoining rooms
  • Central air conditioning
  • Babysitting (on request)
  • Garden
  • Multi-lingual staff
  • Wake-up service
  • Lounge
  • Luggage storage
  • No pets allowed
  • Bicycle rentals nearby
  • Golf nearby
  • Wine tours nearby
  • Shopping area nearby
  • Crib (on request)
Location

Restaurants near the hotel