Ostuni is one of the most beautifull cities in Puglia. Apartment has a perfect location, great views from upper terrace. A little bit of climbing upp and down in the house, not for old people and small children.
When we arrived at L'Alcova in Ostuni we were over the moon with what welcomed us. From the beautifully decorated rooms to the welcoming loaf of bread, butter, fresh preserves and bottle of Prosecco, we knew we had landed another winner. Ostuni is delightful, it is very lovely during the day but comes to life in the evening! We were travelling with our 6 year old daughter who learnt very quickly to stay up late! I could go on for pages about this place but I won't, all I will note is:
1. Don't worry about bringing beach towels as they are included
2. Don't come to Ostuni expecting spaghetti bolognaise and garlic bread! The Puglian food is very different and they love their pizza!
3. If you have young ones with you, head for the beaches. There is a great water park (not very big) called Acqua In that is suitable for all ages.
4. Don't leave Ostuni without trying 'Rocher' gelato from Caffee Garibaldi. It is the best thing I have EVER tasted!
Last but not least, the owners of this fabulous building, Tim and Angela were delightful. They couldn't do enough for us and we even ended up in their place having Prosecco and a chat one evening, leading to an invitation to Tim's birthday dinner! Lovely people and a lovely town. We will definitely return again but probably for a romantic week together and not with our 6 year old!
|How easy was it to book the property?||How helpful were the directions to the property?|
|How easy was key pickup/access to the property?||Overall condition of the property|
|Bedding & mattresses||Kitchen & utensils|
|Bathroom cleanliness||Other facilities & amenities|
This is our 4th year of a holiday at La Terrazza which is a really beautiful, spacious and light apartment with a wonderful terrace looking across to the oldest part of Ostuni including the cathedral. 2 flights of stairs from the street (just behind the main square) brings you up into this single level apartment. The terrace goes straight off from the living area so once you are up there, unlike so many rentals with outside space in Italy, there is no more climbing to enjoy the terrace. (There is further roof space up another flight with amazing views and a clothes line!)
We only ever have cold lunch and breakfast of freshly bought croissants so have no need of the fully functioning kitchen (but for those who do there is a full size oven, 5 ring hob, electric kettle, toaster, fridge freezer, washing machine, food processor, coffee maker etc etc.). We eat out in the very many excellent restaurants Ostuni has to offer.
The bedroom is down one step from the large living area with a canopied wrought iron style bed (new this year) and a canopied bath! There is a dressing table, wardrobes, full length mirror and a door into a small toilet with sink. There is also a separate bathroom off from the living room with overhead shower and curtain across the bath, basin, toilet and bidet There is air conditioning in the bedroom and at both ends of the living area. In the lounge part there are 3 very comfortable sofas (which can also be singe beds).
The apartment is all white walls and pale tiled floors giving it a very cool and spacious feel. There are ample books to read as well as videos and dvd's if needed. There is a really good wifi connection which worked brilliantly for my netbook and my kindle.
The bed linen is good cotton and was changed at the end of our first week for clean linen, including towels. With the weather so hot it is important to us not to have to suffer polyester sheets!
If you are reading this you may have seen that we have reviewed the apartment before. We have no business or family connection with the owners apart from returning each year for a holiday in this really good apartment. The owners, Tim & Angela Devlin, are very helpful & hospitable. We have pencilled in our 2013 and 2014 holiday back in La Terrazza because it is so relaxing we cannot keep away.
Tim and Angela Devlin (the owners of the property) say that our group was the first to rent out all 4 of their apartments. We were 4 couples that spent a week there in late May 2012. I can't imagine a better place to stay in Ostuni. My wife and I stayed in the top floor apartment that had a large terrace where all 4 couples gathered daily for wine, cheese and friendship. The town is charming with great restaurants (the best of which is Cafe Cavour - thank you Fabrizio and Donattella) and coffee shops (the best of which is the Monna Lisa Cafe - thank you Leonardo) within short walking distance. The town is charming with its shops and cafes, views and parks. Everyone is warm and welcoming. The apartments at Casa Tavani are charming and very functional - they all have their own kitchens and areas to sit outside and have a coffee or lunch. The terrace on the top floor is a great place for a group to gather for dinner, drinks and more. The apartments are located no more than a 5 minute walk from the centre of the old town. When you stay, be sure to ask Tim what you should see and what not to miss in the area. We went to a lovely mansion at an Olive Grove for dinner - it was fabulous. We also went to Lecce and Gallipoli which you can do on an easy day trip with Angelo - who Tim can put you in touch with - he runs a car and driver service which can get you anywhere you want to go at a reasonable cost so you don't have to rent your own car. We got to Ostuni by train from Rome - it was an easy trip and not very expensive. Tim and Angela are great hosts and very friendly and helpful. Thanks so much to the two of you.
One quick note before I begin the review – if you look at my profile you will see I am the President of a travel company. I am writing this review only as a guest. We received no discount from Casa Tavani and we have no business relationship with them.
We were thoroughly satisfied with our stay in Casa Tavani. The apartments, Ostuni, and Puglia were all delightfully charming. We traveled in early November, and this seems to be a good travel time for weather. We enjoyed clear blue skies and temps were mostly in the 60's Fahrenheit / upper teens Celsius, although I understand it can sometimes be quite rainy this time of year. There were no crowds although some attractions, shops, and restaurants were closed. Overall, based on our experience, I would say it's a nice time to visit if swimming at the beach is not important to you (although I still got in one swim!).
I'll break the review into sections:
Apartment Location: I don't think the location could be more perfect. A rough way to divide up Ostuni would be between 1) the Centro storico (the historic center) on the hill, 2) a historic cluster just below the hill with mostly buildings from what I guess would be the 1700's and 1800's, and 3) a more modern section of the town spread out behind the second section. The apartments are located in the second section, just beyond a pleasant square at the base of the Centro storico. I think this is actually a better location to be in than the Centro storico on the hill. It's still plenty charming, but if driving it's easier to access than the Centro storico, and it's closer to shops and other daily necessities that you need when staying in an apartment. The walk to the Centro storico is maybe three or four minutes, essentially around the corner and across the square and you're there. The apartments are on a small side street and so are very quiet. The only challenge is parking, but I didn't really see anywhere in the historic sections of Ostuni where parking would be easy. Try to rent the smallest car you can fit your travel party into, as that will increase your parking options on the narrow streets and reduce some of the stress of parallel parking.
Provisioning: We were extremely impressed with how well provisioned the apartments were, both for daily needs and for travel purposes. My wife said it was like magic, she would think to herself "We should have brought 'item x', wouldn't it be nice if there was 'item x' already in the apartment" and then sure enough, she would open up a cabinet and there it would be. We especially appreciated the care package of bread, jam, milk, etc that was waiting for us on arrival, as we got in quite late.
Travel Information: The apartment owners provided us with a lot of great information on the area before we arrived, including the obvious destinations (Lecce for instance) as well as a lot of more minor places we wouldn't have discovered on our own. Particularly helpful were the beach suggestions and some short hikes. For instance, using their information we hiked to a medieval cave village that seemed to be completely off the tourist radar, and we had it to ourselves to explore.
Apartment Atmosphere and Furnishings: The apartments we stayed in were very charming, with soaring vaulted ceilings. They were comfortably and tastefully furnished. They appeared to have a lot of Ikea furnishings, but they picked very nice pieces and the wood was aged to fit in with the atmosphere of the apartments. We even saw a spread in the Ikea magazine featuring the apartments as an example of how to furnish a historic apartment with Ikea furniture. The only minor complaint I can think of is that there was no shower curtain in our apartments' bathroom (apartment A). This is quite common in Europe, but as an American I've never quite been able to master the art of showering without a curtain and not flooding the bathroom (much to my European wife's chagrin). The bed was also a bit squeezed into a side room, which might annoy some guests, although it didn't bother us as we realized it was the best way to make use of the available space. My parents' much larger apartment (apartment B) had neither of these issues. I would describe our apartment as charming and functional, and their apartment as luxurious and spacious (as well as charming, and functional).
WiFi: The wifi in our apartment was spotty, while in my parents' apartment it was perfect. I spoke with the owner and he said that they were aware of the issue and would be working on it during the offseason, so hopefully that will not be an issue for future guests.
Small Children: We traveled with our 14 month old daughter. To my surprise, Ostuni actually seems to be a great place to take a toddler. She loved walking on all the pedestrian streets with their stairs and public fountains, and she also loved the beach. The apartments were stocked with toys (including beach toys) and we had a high chair, crib, and stroller at our disposal. Our apartment had a tiny bedroom which our daughter could sleep in, which enabled us to stay up past her bedtime without waking her. Our apartment and my parents' apartment were across the hall from each other, so they worked very well as a family suite. The apartment was pretty childproof as far as rental apartments goes – there were a few minor things we did (like moving the television) but overall it was a pretty safe environment for her so long as we kept an eye on her. The only thing I would say here is that the stairs are quite steep, so you must watch your kids carefully when they step out the door of the apartment.
One issue: I would suggest staying in a ground floor apartment if you have trouble with mobility, as the steps up to our apartments were quite steep and long. Overall though, the town and the region are not the best for those with mobility issues, as you will frequently encounter steps and steep inclines.
We stayed for six nights in L'Alcova. It was a lovely little apartment with a balcony, small kitchen, high, arched ceilings and a comfy bed. It has a really nice, colourful feel to it and comes with lots of information about Ostuni and the surrounding areas.
Ostuni was very, very quiet when we were there in mid-October - the restaurants were empty and many shops and restaurants were closed. If you're going outside of peak season I would recommend staying elsewhere, like Lecce, but if you're keen on Ostuni or it's summer, then Casa Tavani is a good choice and good value.
There was a bit of unnecessary clutter in the apartment (which matters in a small space like this one); the balcony was pretty untidy; and there is no shower curtain so you have to sit down in the bath or get the entire bathroom wet. The wifi was a bit unreliable too. These are just small things, though - overall we enjoyed the accommodation very much. There was good heating, lots of videos and DVDs, bread and jam waiting on our arrival, and lots of lovely towns to visit nearby. The apartment is in a great location too.
We stayed 3 weeks at L'Ombroso in July 2011 - an absolutely perfect holiday! Tim and Angela are amazing hosts, and the flats are just as beautiful as they look in the pictures. They were always on hand to answer questions, both before and during our holiday. They even left us a toy chest for the children, and provided a spare bed and travel cot. Their written guide to Ostuni and the surrounding areas showed up some fantastic gems which we would not have been able to find on our own. Particularly useful if travelling with small children!
Ostuni is a lovely town with brilliant food and easy access to both beaches and hilltop towns. It was a fantastic place to be with children (ours were 4 y.o. and 6 months), even if it did hit 40+ for a couple of days. There aren't any children's activities as such (although there is a lovey park with a play area), but it is Italy - a child's heaven. We rented a car for a couple of days (there is a Sixt office where they speak English just outside Ostuni), but were very happy to rely on buses, trains and taxis for the rest of the time. The absolute best beach near Ostuni (Rosa Marina) is only accessible by taxi, so we never missed having a car. On windy days when the sea was rough, we used the swimming pool (which we had pretty much to ourselves!) at one of the hotels just outside Ostuni, 30 mins walk away.
Both we and the kids really loved hanging out in Ostuni, and thouroughly recommend staying with the Devlins. We hope to go back next year.