Created as a labour of love over seven years by Alastair and Athena McAlpine, Il Convento provides everything - and leaves out everything - that one expects in a stylish idyll. Left out are the TVs, minibars, newspapers, telephones... - and you actually end up resenting seeing them when next you visit a "5-Star" modern hotel. 'In' are large stone-walled rooms in this converted convent, lovely furnishings, courtyards, gardens, bowls upon bowls of help-yourself fresh fruit, help-yourself wine cellar, fresh-water swimming pool ...
Il Convento provides a home for the McAlpine's vast collections of absorbing books (we gather that some 14½ tons are in storage awaiting display!) and hundreds of wooden artifacts from Mali and elsewhere. The latest collecting interest is cacti and succulents: the gardens and roof terraces are a forest of several hundred varieties. Our hosts also collect interesting guests and we were pleased to be counted amongst them.
The food experiences are just too special to begin to describe: everything fresh, sourced locally or from the gardens. A breakfast banquet, shared with your fellow retreaters (but served in a civilised way from 08:30 - 13:00), a simple cooked lunch on your own or with friends if you wish and dinner optional. If you happen to be a vegetarian then you will be in seventh heaven.
We descended on Il Convento for a friend's special party. This was exceptionally well-organised by our ever-attentive hosts ("we love parties") in the romantically candleight courtyard of the convent: a several-course light Puglia-style banquet was followed by musicians and dancers introducing us to frenetic Pizzica music. Remarkable.
The best tribute to Il Convento and to our hosts was that we were able to extend our stay and hope very much to return - as soon as possible. There is nowhere quite like it. If you like hotels this is not the place for you, but this is what 5-star is really all about.
- Also Known As:
- Il Convento Di Santa Maria Di Costantinopoli Hotel Diso
- Il Convento Di Santa Maria Di Costantinopoli Puglia/Diso, Italy