To fully appreciate Il Melograno you need to keep in mind that this Italian region of Puglia is a huge field of olive trees. For historical reasons fortified farmhouses were built in the 17th century (“masseria”) and a number of them have been turned into B&Bs or hotels. Il Melograno is certainly one of the most luxurious ones and part of the Relais & Chateaux chain.
A car is a must to get around as this farmhouse is out in the country, surrounded by fields and fields of olive trees. It sits probably 3 miles inland from the center of town of Monopoli which is on the coast. The entrance, well it remains fortified ! Actually you need to drive up to the gate, press the door bell to catch the receptionists’ attention and the electric gate will slide open to the side. This is better than climbing over the white colored 9 feet tall walls surrounding the hotel.
You should park in the first parking area before searching for the Reception. Indeed this hotel is a huge 2 floor building with a very large courtyard somewhat deserted. Crossing the courtyard you will come to civilization ! The whole place is beautiful as shown on the hotel website.
The rooms on the ground floor are somewhat dark with small windows at the walkway level. This is rather enjoyable in the summertime when leaving the hot sun and recovering in the cool air-conditioned and well appointed room. Each room is said to hold a few antiques which have been placed by the owner, an art & antique dealer. The mini-bar includes free water and soft drinks and is replenished each day. Nightly turn-down service also provides for a complete change of wet and dirty towels. Finally wireless internet worked perfectly during our 7 night stay.
The main building – where the Reception is – contains a number of open reading rooms, a large TV room as well as the indoor / outdoor eating area. The outside restaurant is a covered terrace with arches looking on to the pool. Obviously in September the breakfast buffet is set out here with quite a selection of home made pastry, fruit, cold cuts and cold drinks. Cooked eggs or omelettes are on demand and hot drinks served at the table. The atmosphere is quiet, relaxed and somewhat homely. Dinner is good although not exceptional and the wine list extensive with reasonably priced wines from all over Italy (i.e. the Rosé wine from the Puglia area is priced at 20 euros, a nice change from France).
The hotel website mentions the Tamerici beach , a private beach as throughout Italy, but where hotel guests are not charged for sun beds or sun umbrellas. If you don’t have a rental car the hotel has regular transportation to and from the beach which is a 10 – 15 minute ride. The coast is full of rocks making the bathing difficult unless like most Italians you have your rubber bathing shoes. Water temperature was delightful and perhaps the most interesting was Sunday at the beach. The sandy beach was packed with locals, families with small children, and it was fun watching them walk by and talking to each other: a real small community.
Next to the beach is the sister hotel of Il Melograno. It used to be a fishing farm before the Melograno owner turned it into a luxurious boutique hotel La Peschiera. It is right on the water and the restaurant is a treat for food and romance. I highly recommend it even if it is 15 – 20 % more expensive than Il Melograno. Actually during our stay we had dinner twice in each one.
Finally Il Melograno is located in an area where there are sights to be visited: Matera and Alberobello are both classified as world heritage, the Castellana grotto provides an exciting 1 mile underground walk, the coast line is long and varied, the traditional food is delightful (except for the over cooked meat!)
Would I return ? Yes, without hesitation, and yes I would recommend staying at Il Melograno.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.