Behold: our favorite hotels for families in Otranto, Lecce, and other great getaway spots in southeast Italy.
The 183-room luxury Borgo Egnezia is an uber-stylish complex built like a traditional Apulian village (with a contemporary twist). Luxury is the name of the game, as exemplified by the fact that a celebrity guest once flew in elephants for a wedding. The hotel has a private beach, a charming piazza, and three restaurants (kids under three eat free at all three). In fact, Borgo Egnezia stands out for its family-friendly offerings, including babysitting. Kids and teens have their own designated activities, and there is even a designated restaurant for kids, Da Puccetta, with appealing, quality food that is more than French fries and pizza.
This aptly-named property — spiaggia is Italian for “beach” — offers a bit of modern sophistication and an intimate atmosphere right by the sea, for mid-range prices. The spacious guest rooms are divided into Coral, Pearl, and Diamond options and include private patios, some with expansive views of the sea. There isn't a restaurant aside from breakfast, but there is a bar on-site and several restaurants within walking distance. Families should note that little ones under three stay free, and kids under the age of 17 get a reduced rate.
Vivosa Apulia Resort is a modern, elegant eco-resort just a few steps away from a gorgeous beach. The 333 clean, homey rooms are located in different buildings throughout the property and each have a private patio or balcony. The sheer variety of amenities -- four beautiful pools, a spa, beach, multiple sports and fitness facilities, and activities for kids -- makes this all-inclusive resort a great place for families and couples. The multiple restaurants and bars and the lounge club provide diverse options for dining and enjoying a drink. The true uniqueness of the hotel however is its dedication to sustainability.
On a hill overlooking the sea, the 46-room Antica Masseria Rottacapozza is a historic property and former farmhouse with lovely, natural surroundings including a large garden and pine forest. Only open in the summer, it’s close to the sea, and has an arrangement with a local beach. There are amenities for both children and adults, including entertainment, a playground, an outdoor pool, and an indoor pool in the spa that’s tucked away in a cave. The beach can get crowded in the summer months, but the property is serene and relaxing. There are double, triple, and family rooms, and all feature simple decor.
There’s a variety of accommodations at the family- and budget-friendly Camping Village Mulino D'Acquatel Palazzo Papaleo -- guests can opt for mobile homes, bungalows, Standard Rooms (some of which run small), or bring their own tents. There’s a big outdoor swimming pool surrounded by trees and a private cove with a small beach where guests can swim safely. Outdoor recreation areas are available and there's an activities team to entertain the children. Keep in mind that it is a rustic campground best suited for lovers of the outdoors.
The 33-room Masseria Torre Coccaro is a charming and luxurious farmhouse property located in the rustic Italian countryside in Puglia. A family-friendly hotel set among lovely gardens, there are lots of children’s activities and even more amenities for relaxation and fun for the entire family, including dining, cooking classes, and live music. Rooms are minimalist, but completely updated and spacious, with charming private patios. There is a lagoon-like outdoor pool and hot tub with pool bar and the hotel offers free shuttle service to a beach club nearby.
The mid-range Costa Brada Resort is set directly on the beach, a 10-minute drive south of Gallipoli. This dreamy location is slightly removed from the party establishments along the coast, and has beautiful gardens on-site. Some rooms have been nicely updated while others remain unrenovated; complaints about the latter include cigarette smoke and uncomfortable beds. There is a big outdoor pool, outdoor playground, and fitness center on-site.
It's rare to find a hotel that successfully caters to both couples and families but upscale La Casarana Resort & Spa does just that. The chic spa includes everything from massage rooms to an ice fountain and indoor pool. The freeform outdoor pool with a small water fountain has an adjacent kiddie pool. There’s also a small fitness center with a few exercise machines. Guest rooms are spacious, and apartments are available with living rooms and kitchenettes. The hotel provides light entertainment, and an activities staff plans games for young children. Guests can use the beach facilities at Lido Bora Bora, accessible via a shuttle bus. Full-board and half-board options are available, but the food gets mixed reviews. This property is only open during the summer.
Hotel Masseria Bandino's renovated farmhouse is great for those looking for a comfortable countryside stay without being too far from civilization. The 20 clean, modern rooms have simple attractive decor in white and taupe, personal terraces, and mini-fridges. The family- and pet-friendly hotel has a popular outdoor pool, on-site restaurant and bar, room service, and a basic playground. However, unless you stay in August, hotel shuttle runs to the beach or town will cost you. Airport shuttle service always incurs a fee.
Hotel Masseria Le Pajare is a rustic country retreat in Puglia that is aimed primarily at Italian families on summer holiday. Apart from access to abundant natural resources, the hotel's major draw is a large, lovely outdoor pool and adjacent casual dining room with tables that spill out onto a stone terrace. The beach and other points of interest are several miles away and generally require a car. Another challenge for non-native speakers is the language barrier: This is not a region where English is commonly spoken.
Built in 2011, the Vespucci is a modern, upper-middle-range hotel with 28 stylish rooms less than a 10-minute walk from the ocean and center of Porto Cesareo. The hotel should suit both leisure and business travelers, since it's open year-round and has free Wi-Fi and a classy restaurant. There’s no pool at the hotel, but there is a large garden where guests can relax, and a swing set and merry-go-round for children.
Solely a restaurant in the past, this property now also houses a small value hotel built in 2010. The large restaurant still serves delicious pastas, pizzas, and fresh seafood dishes, and there are 11 basic rooms and one suite conveniently located for exploring the area’s beaches. There are beautiful sea views from many parts of the hotel, including some of the rooms.
eone di Messapia is a modern, upper-middle-range hotel with 108 guest rooms and four meeting rooms. The hotel often hosts conventions and receptions, has a restaurant with a wood-burning pizza oven, and a spacious lobby bar flooded with natural light. The parking lot can fit 200 cars and 15 buses. Rooms are spacious with minimal décor, flat-screen TVs, and stand-up showers with rain showerheads. The historic city of Lecce is less than a ten-minute drive away.
The Sanlu Hotel is a three-pearl property located within a short drive of the coast. It has modern decor, with a subtle floral theme found throughout the public spaces and guest rooms. The hotel offers 30 rooms with solid amenities for a mid-range property, including flat-screen TVs, Wi-Fi, and minibars. It has somewhat limited public spaces, however, with a breakfast room, small bar, and TV room, but not much else. The property does have a central location that makes visiting Otranto, Torre dell, and the other resort areas on the Adriatic coast fairly convenient by car.
Hotel Koine is a mid-range hotel with 82 guest that is about a 10-minute drive from Otranto. Palm trees, flowers, and plants decorate the lovely grounds. With an activities staff and a grassy playground area, the hotel caters to families. The hotel has a big, outdoor pool area with a hot tub, an outdoor bar, and a free shuttle to the private beach every 30 minutes. All-inclusive packages are available, but the food at the hotel gets mixed reviews.
Visitors to San Foca looking for basic, clean accommodations with a waterfront location should consider the 15-room Residence PuntaCassano. Just steps from the sea and the shops and restaurants of the San Foca promenade, this three-pearl, apartment-style resort features rooms with flat-screen TVs, balconies or patios, and kitchenettes. There's a lovely garden planted by the owner, plus an outdoor pool with lounge chairs and umbrellas for guests' use. It's a popular choice for families -- especially Italian families -- who enjoy the kids' playground on property. Laundry is available and Wi-Fi is free. There's no restaurant or gym.