This is quite a long review so for a quick summary; this hotel is excellent and I would recommend to all with the warning that it is pricey, isolated and there will be the odd moment during your stay when you think "If I owned this hotel why would I do that?" I would also add that there are a lot of reviews quoting this as expensive so I will add some prices in so that you can make up your own mind whether it is expensive.
The hotel is situated in the north east of Sardinia between Arzachena and Baia Sardinia and is relatively easy to find. We have seen some reviews about the difficulty of finding this hotel but if you get on the SS125 and then turn off just before Arzachena towards Porto Cervo and Baia Sardinia (SP 73) and then take the turning on the left to Baia Sardinia (SP59) and the hotel is up this road on the left. If you get to Cala Bitta you have gone too far. It has a lovely front entrance and the staff on the front desk were friendly and helpful. We booked half board but were told that if we wanted to have lunch instead of dinner then we could do that.
There are only 31 rooms in the hotel and I believe a couple of villas split across two floors. The rooms in the low numbers have balconies with evening sun (101/201 etc) and the higher you get the less chance you have of evening sun (not that we found this a problem).
The swimming pool is more of a leisure pool than something you can swim several lengths in. It is not deep (probably only 1.5m) and there is a wooden platform that forms an area where you have a shallow end but the rest of the pool is the same depth. Also the water is cold.
Around the pool area are ample sun beds all in a rattan material with cushions and as many towels as you want. There is also no towel card system which was great as they become annoying and no rushing to bag a sun bed in the morning. There are also sun beds available in the grassed areas, benches line the pathways and the grounds are well planted and we saw a few members of staff maintaining the gardens to make sure they are always looking good. The staff around the pool are very attentive and helpful.
Out the back of the hotel there is a beach. This is not soft sand but made from the coarse granite rock that is native to Sardinia. There are sunbeds provided by the hotel and it is monitored by the same lifeguards who look after the pool. We did pop down a couple of times but my wife would have liked a finer sand. The walk down to the beach could be better but is not as bad as some other reviewers have mentioned it is clear were to go (unless you go down in the dark).
We stayed in room 212b which is on the lefthand wing of the hotel (as you face the front). This room had plenty of room for 2 with a huge bed (I assume it was super super kingsize) that was firm and had two sets of pillows. The bathroom had two basins plus a very deep bath with jacuzzi bath facility (this was broken in our room but we did not report it so was not the hotels fault it was not fixed) and two shower heads (one detachable) and the wc plus bidet. I would also add there is a selection of shampoo, conditioner, bath foam, soaps and body lotion. We were surprised to see conditioner and my wife commented on how good the conditioner was (which is a first in 13 years of travelling together). Also in the room is a flat screen tv, two wardrobes inc hangers (approx 12), sdb, dressing table and stool plus another table and a couple of chairs. All rooms face the pool and there are a couple of rattan chairs and a table on the balcony for you to relax in the evening.
The room is stylish and well fitted, it is also practical and comfortable. The curtains shut out the light in the morning and the staff that service the rooms do an excellent job.
The only gripes about the room (and this goes for the hotel in general) is the lack of information that is given to you. There is nothing in the room that goes through the hotel facilities, times for dinner etc which you get in most hotels. We did check with other guests and this was the same for other rooms. Obviously you can ask and we did speak to the concierge (who was very helpful and spoke good English) but when you are paying such a lot of money you would expect this in the room.
The waiting staff in the restaurant were excellent. They attended to our every need both at breakfast and dinner and were very accommodating. The food is also very good and was consistently good for the whole 10 days.
There is a selection of cereals, pasties, fruits, juices, jams, cold meats, cheeses, croissants plus sausages, eggs and bacon. You can also order toast and coffee, tea etc from the waiters. This has more of a boutique feel about breakfast so do not expect vast amounts of food but there was enough choice for me and the espressos were excellent.
We saw only a handful of people have lunch over the 10 days we were there. At over €20 for a salad it was just too expensive and subsequently there were very few takers. If they just reduced the prices I am sure more people would have lunch but again they may well be shooting themselves in the foot by pricing themselves out of more business.
This is always a four course meal and overall I would say this was excellent. I tried some food I had not tasted before and although I personally did not like a couple of dishes it was not to do with the quality of the food or how it was cooked. I also had a couple of dishes I would never try usually and they were excellent including the seared tuna in balsamic. Highlights were the seabass, a crusted pork starter, the ravioli, the lamb with roasted potatoes and the lemon tart. Also one night my wife could not find a starter she fancied and the waiter arranged for another dish to be prepared for her. The staff really did make a difference to the overall eating experience.
Also with dinner we ordered a bottle of wine and if we did not finish it the staff will bring it back to your table the day after. This was a great plus for me as my wife does not drink wine but I love it which means I either have to stick to glasses or drink a whole bottle. The Casa Reale was a good wine at the lower end of the wine prices. We also noticed a bottle of wine (Tiganello) which you can get back home for about £45 was on the menu for €128 which seems odd as it travel far less distance from Tuscany (I think) to Sardinia than it does to London but I am guessing if you bought it in a London restaurant I am pretty sure it would be upwards of £100 a bottle.
The downsides are that a 250ml bottle of coke was €8 and the cheapest bottle of white wine was €40. We were also served water at €12 which is just ridiculous for water. We did find out later in the holiday that if you ask for Smerelda water then it cost €8 a bottle but nobody mentioned this to us, we found out from another guest. This must be a policy decision from the management of the hotel and to offer water to customers and then give them the most expensive water is just trying to rip off your customers although I am sure some people will call it maximising your profits.
The gym has a running machine, cycle machine, weight machine, free weights and a yoga ball plus mats. There is also a water machine and all these facilities are modern and well maintained with the usual array of features and options that most of us do not use.
The Spa has a pool and a sauna plus an array of spa treatments that will meet all your needs. For a hotel charging somewhere in the region of €300+ a night for a room they then have the cheek to charge €15 for the Spa pool and €10 for the sauna which I think is awful and subsequently I never saw a single person in the pool. On the positive side (although we did not use the Spa) the prices for the Spa treatments were not expensive compared to the prices we are used to (manicure for €30 and a massage €30-€100).
Very helpful and recommended the local vineyard Sinnau which was excellent (see below), he also had a trip around the La Maddalena but at €90 each for the trip we thought this was a little too expensive for a day trip.
This is essential and book it before you go. We paid £170 for 10 days hire through Sixt and as the hotel is so isolate (and we did not see a local bus all holiday) I cannot recommend this enough. In addition once you get to the hotel the cost of car hire will increase to somewhere in the region of €110 for a day (as a couple we met in the hotel found out). There is so much of Sardinia to see in the local vicinity that it seems silly not to hire a car. In addition when we were looking at getting from the airport to the hotel we saw some taxi prices from Porto Cervo to our hotel at €35 for a 10 min ride. The airport is 20-30 mins from the hotel and so we thought it made sense to have a car even if it was just for getting us to and from the airport. fyi we had a Chevvie Spark which could be the worst car ever built (we did choose the cheapest option) but it did not breakdown however some of the roads are quite steep so it may be beneficial if you have a family to hire a better car.
The costs start to grate after a while and more so because the staff in this hotel are excellent as is the food and the facilities are what you would expect. The hotel is isolated and you cannot get anywhere without a car. We would definitely recommend this hotel because of the staff and food, however we would do so with the advice that you need to have a car unless you want to sit by the pool/beach for the whole time and also be prepared to pay a high price for everything. We will not be returning and for a very simple reason. The hotel we visited in Ibiza this year was equally as good, the staff were not as good and I would say the food was slightly inferior but it cost less then a third of this holiday and although I have to say the ravioli we had at L ea beat the socks off anything we had in Ibiza I struggle to love a hotel that charges €12 for a bottle of water. We were told that Sardinia was expensive but not all places charge these sky high prices. I feel sad saying this because the staff did everything to make our stay memorable but we managed to spend €500 on drink in 10 days, the only alcohol was 4 bottle of wine for €170 the rest was water and coke.
NB; I have added some notes below on places we visited outside of the hotel.
The Sinnau Vineyard was well worth a visit and is about a five minute drive from the hotel. Just a note of warning we ordered two different tastings but did not really pay much attention to the menu and ended up paying for food as well as the wine tasting. The wine tasting was €10 and with the food is €30. The food that came with the white wine was not great but the the meats and cheeses they serve with the reds were excellent. The wines was also very good and the tastings were more like small glasses of wine rather than the usual tastings. You can taste inside or outside and we choose to have a look around some of the art work they sell and then sat outside on the sofas over looking the mountains and they serve your wine and food. After we had finished the tasting we also asked to try the desert wine which the vineyard obliged free of charge.
Baia Sardinia - Worth a drive to as there are some nice shops and places to eat.
Cagionne - We only visited once but had lunch (2x 15cm pizza, still water, coke, glass of prosecco) for €20 and it was a lovely pizza just opposite the green by the beach front.
Porto Cervo - This has both a marina and a town. We ate in Aqua which made some very nice food but lunch cost us €70 inc 1 glass of wine which was very expensive. Worth a trip around the area. There are a load of designer shops in the town centre so shoppers will be able to spend a fortune.
Palau/Cap D'Orso - We went up the Bears Head. This is only about 10-20 mins from top to bottom and well worth the trip, the views are excellent as it the rock formation. It is also relatively cheap at €1 for the car park and €2 to get in. The path itself is made up of broken rock but it is a clearly marked path. When you get to the top there is a viewing platform however once you go past this and round to the rock formation the path is dangerous. Please do not let this put you off as it is worth the trip however the rocks are granite and having slipped on one I would recommend trainers as sliding down the rockface was a little closer than I would have preferred. Also at the top there are no barriers to stop you falling so if you have children make sure they are well supervised.
Arzachena is the closest genuine village in the area and we did drive through and thought it looked worth second visit but never got round to it. It does have an old world feel to it.
Lastly there is a small place next to the Spar on the road between the hotel and Baia Sardinia that does pasties and sweets, no idea what it is called but well worth a visit. Good coffee and excellent little biscuits/cakes and all at reasonable prices. You will not see this from the road so will need to park up and just to the left of the Spar under an awning is this little place.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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