By North European standards, it’s well off the beaten track, south of Lecce in Salento, the ‘heel’ of Italy, which makes this sophisticated concept for a town B & B all the more impressive.
The pleasingly restored 18thC facade in a quiet side street in the small town of San Cassiano could lead, you might think, to handful of rooms on a pokey staircase above a ground floor hall and breakfast room. But no: Tardis-style, you enter an unexpectedly huge area of interconnecting living rooms and courtyards leading to a big garden, swimming pool and large, contemporary, poolside room at the rear.
The design – contemporary – chic interfacing neatly with the old building – makes you wish the designer could redo your own home. Decorative and functional surprises keep coming at you.
Prices are fair and there are no extras except for lunch (pre-ordered) and petrol for the scooters available to guests along with electric and pedal bikes. The map provided for a local biking or jogging route hangs round your neck like a luggage tag and is yet another example of how the owners really have come up with new ideas , not just gimmicks, likewise the nicely presented box of local guide booklets.
Stay for three nights or a week if you can – the facilities (see side panel) and things to do in the area, plus reliable sunshine, make it a destination in its own right.
The entry on the Charming Small Hotels website is also live: http://www.charmingsmallhotels.co.uk/italy-puglia-basilicata-calabria/p321005-don-totu.html