“An oasis of dolce vita on a hilltop surrounded by the turquoise beaches of the Costa Smeralda”
The 5 bedrooms are light, airy and stylish without being OTT. Expect white walls, creamy floors, tiled shower rooms, sliding doors onto the garden and lofty eaves in the superiors and suite. Artful touches include vintage suitcases, salvaged wooden doors and ladders for storage, pretty patchwork quilts on super-comfy beds, and Alessandro's signature fabric-spool lamps. The air-con unit is cleverly disguised as a photographic portrait of the family member after whom the room is named.
Staying in the fabulous suite (his parents'), with its separate sitting room, walk-in wardrobe and double access to the garden, we felt as if we owned the place. We also loved the 2 Superiors, in a separate building at one end of the house. The 2 semi-subterranean Classic Rooms we'd only recommend if the others are booked.
By lawns still glistening from their dawn watering, a beautiful breakfast is laid out on Villeroy & Boch crockery. Home-baked cakes, jam tartlets, fresh ricotta and hard-hitting cappuccini were standouts, but there are cereals, yoghurts and bountiful fruit too. It couldn’t be further from the prepacked-rusks-and-jams of your standard Italian hotel.
Three times a week (book yourselves in!) a chef whips up fantastic dinners, presided over by Alessandro and Iacobo, at a big round table gleaming with glasses and silver cutlery. We felt as if we’d stumbled into a welcoming Milanese dinner party – but, if you prefer solitude, they can set up a private table for two without fuss. Our seafood banquet ranged from ‘marine popcorn’ (crisp-fried sea anemones!), via fregula (pea-sized pasta drops) in a clam and mussel sauce, to culminate in a spectacular zazuella (lobster, crayfish and prawn stew). We almost needed a feather to make room for citrus honey pastries.
Otherwise, they'll recommend eateries - half a dozen within 20 minutes' drive, including Al Gambero Ghiotto in Golfo Aranci, whose chef Pupo was responsible for our seafood extravaganza.