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Ventana - An Enchanting Resort in BIg Sur

Summary: I love Ventana. I highly recommend visiting  and exploring the landscape at Lime Kiln and Andrew Molera State Park which I've blogged about here. Please note this is #notsponsored . Yes, that means we paid our own bill! Lots of details in the following review. including a Post Ranch vs Ventana comparison.  Can you tell there's something exciting beyond this beautiful gate? There's something special about Big Sur, a magic in the light, the presence of the Pacific, the cliffs, beaches, redwood forests and the murmur of the surf. It's one of my favorite places in California. I couldn't think of anywhere else I wanted to be to celebrate turning fifty, because it's a place where there's a sense of nature, space and light and a wide horizon. We've been to Big Sur many times and for a celebration there are two fantastic hotels vying for your attention. The exclusive, modern and very private, cliff top Post Ranch Inn and on the other side of the road the …

Il Melograno, Monopoli, Puglia

Il Melograno has been on my list of places to stay for years. In the countryside outside of Bari in Puglia, it was the fist boutique masseria (or fortified stone farmhouse) converted into a hotel. It's a classic Luxury Link property, a Relais et Chateaux with rather mixed reviews, expensive and perhaps a few years past its prime. However, despite all that it's a great place to go at the right price. Our three night Luxury Link package was a great value at a wonderful hotel. The rooms are large, rather old fashioned but beautifully cool in the summer with enormous bathrooms and antique furniture. Who could resist a place that welcomes you with fresh fruit and flowers in the room? At the auction price (which included a spa treatment) I highly recommend the property.

 Who  wouldn't love a fruit plate like this? The strawberries were incredible!

Fresh flowers in our room.

Breakfast was served in this patio overlooking the pool. Most of the guests were Northern Italian families though we saw a few Americans too. Though the property may be  old fashioned it remains a very beautiful place and it attracts a well heeled clientele. We  had an idea of how upmarket the place was on parking our rented tin can between a Maserati and a Porsche!

This is the kind of place where you order an aperitif on the patio in the early evening and they bring a series of "gifts" from the kitchen including hot and cold snacks, because nobody should be forced to drink a glass of Rose without something to nibble on! This is a highly civilized spot and a lovely place to relax in the sunshine. 

For my advice on how best use Luxury Link see an earlier post here.