Ilove new experience­s, so there aren’t many places I would happily return to every holiday for the rest of my life. But then I discovered Masseria Trapanà, a twinkling oasis set among olive and lemon trees nestled in the heel of Italy. This is one place in the world I would happily rebook time and time again.

From the moment we arrive at the property’s imposing 16th-century wooden door and step into the lantern-lit courtyard we feel like we’ve come home. Only to a much better version of home, because here cold glasses of Champagne are handed to you on arrival, Aesop products line the bathroom’s marble shelves, there’s an outdoor bath big enough for two in your private garden and the beds are so impressive I have to take a running jump to get in. At Masseria Trapanà, the rooms magically tidy themselves while you laze around the grounds and pool or have a private yoga lesson in the gardens; big bottles of muscle-relaxing magnesium salts are left by your bathtub, mineral water appears by your bedside and there’s a direct line to the bar from your room.

We book one of the 10 rooms (all have pared-back stone walls and lofty ceilings), but there’s the option to take over the entire masseria, making this a glorious spot to holiday with up to 20 friends. Australian owner Rob puts his guests right at the heart of his property, too, but in the most relaxed way. Don’t expect obsequious waiters, fussy service or formality. Here, you can pad barefoot around the chic open-plan sitting area and eat breakfast whenever you wake up (it is served until the last guest rises). It’s big enough for peace and tranquilli­ty (there are plenty of hammocks dotted about the gardens for everyone to have an afternoon snooze), but also small enough that staff remember that you like a skinny cappuccino every morning. The pressures of everyday life soon melt away. You don’t even need to choose your evening meal, as there’s a set menu each night served on the terrace (with all preference­s catered for, of course). For our trip, we flew to Bari, which is two hours’ drive from the hotel – taxis are expensive, so car hire is a must. The great news is that BA flies direct from Heathrow to Brindisi Airport, which is only about 30 minutes away, making a long weekend tantalisin­gly easy.

Should you wish to tear yourself away from the sanctuary of the hotel, beautiful Lecce is just a 15-minute drive away and two beach clubs, Bacino Grande and Mora Mora, around 40 minutes – Masseria Trapanà can arrange transfers. But with a spa recently added to the residence, I intend to stay behind that big wooden door, happily holed up in my home away from home. OONAGH BRENNAN

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 ??  ?? Chill out by the pool on an oversized sunbed.
Chill out by the pool on an oversized sunbed.
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