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Il Melograno, Monopoli

Editor's Pick
Puglia, Italy, Europe
345 Contrada Torricella
Tel: 39 80 690 9030's insider take:

The pioneer of all today's posh masserie, this great village of a 17th-century Magna Graecia-looking fortified farmhouse, opened way before Puglia got hip: in 1987. Though it has kept many fans, others prefer its sexier, fresher neighbors—and they will continue to do so until the 31 rooms get an overdue freshening. Not that they're unpleasant. Just staid and bourgeois, with their clashing chintzes and brocades and tapestry and the ornate, gilt-edged Victoriana kind of antique that is not in fashion. Then again, fusty decorating has a kind of charm, and the rooms are relative bargains considering the facilities: There's a big saltwater pool and a beach club four miles away (by free shuttle) called La Peschiera, with a fish restaurant installed on the remains of a 17th-century fishery. There's also Il Peschereccio, a refurbished traditional fishing boat for coastal forays and a famous cooking school (four times a year) led by gifted British expat Diane Seed. Breakfasts in the restaurant are gargantuan; dinners expensive, but good. There is one thing missing though, something rarely glimpsed in the '80s, but compulsory today...a spa.

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