Imagine an elegant red building amidst a sea of white, a beacon of turbulent history in a stunning town in southern Italy. This is Paragon 700 in Ostuni, Puglia in Italy. This boutique hotel is quintessentially Italian and has undergone a painstaking restoration process that has spanned across every inch of the former Italian palace.
Using traditional techniques but with a touch of modern flair, all the rooms and suites have French parquet flooring, stonewashed bed linens, cathedral ceilings, period frescos and fireplaces. Each room is different, with some offering terraces, balconies and if you treat yourself to the Paragon Suite you can enjoy a sunken bathtub and private terrace with sun loungers – don’t mind if we do!
Paragon 700 is a boutique hotel and spa that’s also known as the Palazzo Rosso (the red palace) and was once home to Ostuni’s first mayor, Don Paolo Tanzarella. Something you may or may not already know is that in the first part of the 19th century, the country we now call Italy did not yet exist, it was still a geographical area comprised of eight separate states. This all began to change however during Paolo’s time in the late 19th century.
Fast forward to the present day, Paragon 700 is more than a hotel; it is a piece of art. Bursting with unique décor, down to the very smallest detail – from repurposed monumental light fixtures to South African custom-made sofas and headboards, gazebos from India turned into bathtubs to closets and night-stands from antique fairs from all over the world. This perfect blend of new and old art, objects and furnishings is all thanks to the keen eye and beautiful style of interior designer Pascale Lauber whose work can be seen here.
Travel tip: One thing worth knowing is that if you fall in love with the hotel’s furniture and decor, Paragon 700 actually sell a selection you can take home.
Paragon’s restaurant the 700 is entrusted to chef Paulo Airaudo, an ambitious Italian-Argentine foodie genius who has already won a Michelin star in Geneva. Paragon 700 offers fine dining Michelin star style with a unique sense of flair. The 700 restaurant is led by Giovani Cerroni, learner of Francesco Bracali, Terry Giacomello, Italo Bassi and most recently the protégé of Paulo Airaudo, Michelin-starred chef in Geneva, San Sebastian and London.
Bar 700 and the lounge in the epitome of cool, rustic understated luxury. The space has a 8.5 meter long stone counter clad in antique argentine tin-plates where you can perch and sip a class of local wine, or an innovative cocktail or two. Soft furnishings, finger food and small bites complete the setting whether its a late night tipple or pre-dinner aperitif.
The old water cistern of the Palazzo Rosso found a new life as a unique spa nestled 7 meters below ground. The spa is exclusive to Hotel guests and includes a hydromassage basin, a steam bath, a spa shower with chromotherapy and a treatment room for two plus a relaxation lounge clad in Himalayan salt walls aimed at enhancing wellbeing.
A holiday to the rustic and visually stunning southern Italy wouldn’t be complete without a little dip in the mediterranean. During the warmer months treat your body (and your soul) the blissful sunshine sipping on a local aperitif whilst waiting for lunch at the P-beach restaurant.
From the deluxe rooms right through to the Paragon suite, each bedroom is exquisitely designed with an effortless combination between old and new. The deluxe rooms range from 26 sqm to 45 sqm and offer spacious beds, frescoes ceilings and artistic and timeless decor.
The one of a kind Paragon suite (pictured above) is however the most exquisite the hotel has to offer. The 55sqm space has 7m high cathedral ceilings, a sunken bathtub, open fireplace in the bedroom plus two doors that lead to a large terrace with a garden and sun loungers.
The largest private garden in Ostuni, the garden at Paragon 700 is the perfect spot for a cool drink and a good book. Bathe in the warmth of afternoon sunshine or relax under the natural shade of the orange grove that’s equally perfect for romantic candlelit dinners for two to make your occasion that bit more special. There’s also a relaxation area in which you can book a private yoga or pilates class, and when the weather is nice an outdoor massage.
This dreamily romantic hotel is certainly on our hit list of places to visit, if it’s now on yours visit the website to find out more here.
Images: Paragon 700