Cala Ponte Resort
What We Love
- A relaxing resort on Italy's southeastern coast, with spa and dining discounts, plus breakfastLounging by the huge swimming pool and taking in some glorious Mediterranean sunshine
- Getting pampered with a massage or beauty treatment at the sumptuous spa
- Exploring the nearby towns and tasting authentic regional delicacies
What To Know
- The resort is in walking distance of Polignano and San Vito but you'll likely want to taxi in as the resort is set back on a busy road
- Rooms have private terraces
- Free WiFi
- Just opened in 2015
Surrounded by the romantic, rustic landscapes of Puglia, Cala Ponte Resort invites you to experience one of Italy’s most stunning regions. The resort is located on the outskirts of Polignano a Mare, an ancient seaside town perched atop 60-ft. limestone cliffs that tower over the sparkling Adriatic Sea. Walking distance from the coast, this luxurious property puts you in prime position to enjoy the culinary delights, breathtaking vistas and crystal-blue waters of Puglia.
The resort’s distinctive white walls and beautiful stone work blend nicely with the region’s traditional dry-stone trulli buildings, creating a lovely, tranquil atmosphere. Fresh, modern décor in the common areas keeps things stylish, with quirky light fixtures and bold patterns, while the relaxing guest rooms feature an elegant, understated aesthetic. The hotel’s spa offers an extensive range of treatments and experiences, and the gorgeous pool is lined with loungers for all-day relaxation.
Deluxe rooms are warm and inviting spaces, finished in natural tones and accented with azure blue. The rooms surround the hotel’s pool and offer views of the lovely gardens.
The hotel’s restaurant provides a buffet lunch and a delicious set menu for dinner. Additionally, the towns of San Vito and Polignano a Mare are a walk or short taxi drive away, and both offer a variety of charming restaurants and cafés for you to explore the local culinary scene.
The hotel’s serene spa has everything needed to ease you into vacation mode. The facilities here include a variety of therapeutic showers, a sauna, a Turkish bath, a Jacuzzi pool, an ice waterfall and a relaxation area with a saline wall. Meanwhile, the spa menu offers a wide array of treatments and therapies, such as chromotherapy, reflexology, acupressure and more (try the facial followed by a candlelit massage for a real treat).
Perched on the eastern coast of Italy’s heel, Cala Ponte Resort is just a 10-minute walk from Cala Ponte Marina, in Polignano a Mare. The blissfully rural Puglia landscape, filled with olive trees and dry-stone cone-roofed trulli buildings, is paired perfectly with the sparkling blue sea. The nearest major city is Bari, a 30-minute drive away. Here, the main sights include the Basilica of Saint Nicholas, Bari Cathedral and the Castello Normanno-Svevo. The regional cuisine is also well worth exploring – with a glass of good local red in hand, of course.
How to Get There
Having been there for two weeks, the venue is beautiful, the pool is amazing but the reception area let’s the place down somewhat, very dark and uninviting. This place is a standard 3 star working towards four star but for that to happen. New management needs to be brought in. I have some complaints about the place that I see others complained about 6 months back and yet nothing has changed. Very poor customer service, having to ask for things from cereal to napkins. Breakfast was the same choice for two weeks!! Disgusting looking and tasting scrambled eggs and greasy bacon!! No poolside service whilst at the pool or it’s giving to a selected few. Only found out there was a second pool from an outside guest...The staff are genuinely pleasant but there is no real get up and go in their hospitality. It’s like they too have no incentive. Senior managers swan around without asking guests how they are or if everything is ok. It’s as though we should be grateful for being in the hotel. Room decoration is rather underwhelming considering how beautiful Polignano a mare is. I have never been in a 3/4 star hotel that is closed for business at 9pm. The Bar was always unmanned or closed by 9pm. I don’t think that the hotel managers realise that guests would spend more if the place looked open and inviting after 7pm! Please managers...read these comments and don’t just “thank” those who say lovely things- Cala Ponte can be so much more.
When I first arrived, I didn't understand why our tour company would book us in a place that you need a car to get out of. We had been told that the hotel was a five star hotel, so we figured there was a shuttle, at least to get to a beach since they do not have their own beach. But not only isn't there a shuttle, there is nothing redeemable at this resort except for the beautiful pool. However, even in the pool there is a huge steep incline as you enter, and if you are unaware of it, you can really get hurt when you fall!
The service was seriously lacking. I had run in one evening to ask the desk for change so that I could pay the tuk tuk ( little motorcyle cabs that you have to take at least back from town), and was told "No" we don't give change. Ran in to the bar area figuring at least I had that option, but was again refused.
In my room, I kept getting kicked off the wi-fi. When I called the desk to ask for help, I was told - if you stand outside you'll get better reception. Really??? AM I supposed to face time my family members outside and disturb all of the other guests? The floor in our bathroom was coming up, and my husband called someone who insisted that we had to have done it. We hadn't even showered yet. The room is large and bungalow like, except that the very large patios have no privacy, so don't go out there in your pajamas in the morning.
There are some good things about Cala Ponte (clean, recently renovated, modern design aesthetic, nice pool area, pretty decent breakfast buffet). But overall my experience there was a sour note in an otherwise lovely vacation in Italy, the main reason being the location and lack of service. It says it is a hotel, but it felt more like a motor inn - definitely not 4 star, 3 star is more accurate. Website photos look nice but omit any pictures that would show just how intrusive the 4-lane highway is that is just 20 meters away. In all the outdoor spaces other than the rooms closest to the marina, the loud sound of diesel trucks is constant, day and night.
If you must stay here, avoid absolutely the rooms in the main building. The standard rooms are small, with no table or comfortable seating to hang out and enjoy an apertif, other than a balcony that is shared with neighbors and not private, and that faces directly on the highway. Also those rooms share a loud, hard tile hallway where door slamming and voices echoed loudly, and a terrible sewage smell emitted from shower drains.
The detached casita rooms looked a little more private (4 rooms to a casita but patios were separated so you had a little privacy), so go for one of those if you decide to try your luck at Cala Ponte. However in my opinion the whole property suffers from its location right on the highway, and not being close enough to Polignano or any restaurants, shops or anything else nearby. A car is a necessity. It honestly felt isolated and a little sad and desolate out there wedged between the marina parking lot and the highway.
Lastly, the service: if you stay here expect to basically self-serve. They seem understaffed for the number of guests - no concierge and reception provided a few minimal recommendations but we had to make arrangements for any activities ourselves; no poolside service that I saw; when you go inside to the bar to order food or drink you will have to wait 10 minutes for the one bartender to emerge from the kitchen or wherever he was to take your order; restaurant service very slow. The staff were all very friendly and nice when you interacted with them, but the place just doesn’t have a service program up to 4-star standard.