Palazzo Bozzi Corso by La Fiermontina is one of the most stunning properties in this part of Italy. The grand palace in which it is housed was built in 1775 by Gabriele Bozzi Corso and later passed to another aristocratic family. Parisian Giacomo Fiermonte who owns La Fiermontina Urban Resort just minutes away, purchased the palace and transformed it into an all-suite, super luxurious, elegant hotel.
It opened its doors last year (2018) and has already created a stir in the design world as well as with sophisticated travellers. As at La Fiermontina, Giacomo Fiermonte has used his glamorous family history as inspiration and some of the suites such as Suite Lalla Soukaina where I stayed are named after family members.
From the moment I stepped inside the main door of the Palazzo into the imposing courtyard entrance with its eye-catching sculpture I knew that this was no ordinary hotel experience.
Once inside a sweeping staircase took me up to the lounge area overlooking Lecce’s old town streets and historic skyline. At the top of the stairs is an elegant 1930s bar.
As at sister property La Fiermontina, French interior design company Charles Philippe & Christophe have worked their magic here with strong colours, stylish furniture and a mix of antique and contemporary paintings, sculptures and objets d’art.
All the rooms have high ceilings with fascinating touches that create conversation pieces. Whether it is the lovely chess set laid out in the lounge, a set of 1950s books and some antique children’s toys in one of the suites or one of many images of John Lennon and Yoko Ono.
Anne Filali, daughter of the inspirational Antonia Fiermonte and mother of Giacomo, created the Strawberry Fields Garden memorial in New York’s Central Park with her friend Yoko Ono. The Palazzo Bozzi Corso has the John & Yoko Suite as one of its Wellness suites. Measuring 645 square feet it is furnished with a pop-art feel and features a shared roof terrace and sauna.
The Palazzo Bozzi Corso has an enchanting secret garden at the back of the property to enjoy drinks or a meal prepared by the private chef. There is an honesty bar in the hotel which guests can use at any time.
The hotel has its own museum, the MAMA Family Museum around the corner, which tells the story behind the property and the family. The Museum can also be reserved as the setting for a private dinner with a difference.
There are ten suites classified by three categories: two Classic Rooms, four Aristocratic Suites and four Wellness Suites which are equipped with a double hydro massage shower or private sauna. Each suite has its own distinctive character and houses pieces from the Fiermonte-Filali family. Each has marble fireplaces, parquet floors, huge beds with crisp white linen and modern furniture designed uniquely for the hotel. There are flat screen TVs, minibar and a Lavazza coffee machine in the room, fabulous designer toiletries and free Wi-Fi throughout. Guests can use the swimming pool and car parking facilities at la Fiermontina.
There is no restaurant as such at Palazzo Bozzi Corso, but guests can enjoy the services of the private chef who will prepare a special meal to order. Or wander out into the heart of Lecce which abounds with excellent restaurants and bars just minutes from the door. However, there is a daily breakfast served in the library area and comprises fruit, juices, freshly baked pastries and bread.
Day trips to Santa Maria di Leuca, Ostuni, Alberobello, Gallipoli and Otranto can be arranged by the friendly and obliging staff, as well as walking tours around the baroque streets, churches, museums and piazzas of Lecce.
Palazzo Bozzi Corso, Via Umberto 1, 38, 73100, Lecce, Puglia, Italy.
Tel: +39 0832 1560335
Palazzo Bozzi Corso is in the heart of the historic city of Lecce in Puglia in the south of Italy. It is just a short walk from the Basilica de Santa Croce and the Piazza S. Oronzo. The nearest airports are Brindisi and Bari. Transfer from Brindisi is about 30 minutes by car or bus and from Bari about 2 hours.
Type of Hotel: 5-Star Luxury Hotel housed in an 18th century palace
Number of Rooms: 10 suites including complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the hotel.
Price Band: High
Insider Tip: The best views are on the top floor, obviously, but a suite on the ground floor gives easy access to the pretty garden and is quiet and peaceful.
Reviewer’s Rating: 10/10
Judith Baker is a London-based freelance travel writer.
Photographs courtesy of Palazzo Bozzi Corso