Albero Capovolto

Golfo Aranci, Sardinia, Italy Book from Eur125

An oasis of dolce vita on a hilltop surrounded by the turquoise beaches of the Costa Smeralda
This blissful boutique B&B is a world apart from the daily grind. Peaceful, indulgent and eclectically decorated by debonair Alessandro - the youngest of a Milanese fashion family who spent childhood summers here - it opened quietly in 2014 to a handful of his friends. Word is slowly spreading, but the atmosphere remains intimate and exclusive. No timetables, no room keys, just a gracious dolce vita of lazy homemade breakfasts, secret white-sand beaches, chilled Vermentino at sunset, and thrice weekly al fresco dinners magicked up by a visiting chef for the lucky (mostly Italian) guests.

Life flows seamlessly between two outdoor living spaces – one facing the pool, the other the afternoon sun – which spill onto bougainvillea-framed lawns. Cushion-strewn sofas, oversized lanterns and salvaged barber’s chairs invite you to relax, while lamps made from colour-matched fabric spools evoke his couture background. Five bedrooms are simpler but no less elegant; the suite (once his parents’ bedroom) is huge, a honeymooners’ haven. Better still, book the whole place for a magical getaway with 10 of your most deserving friends.

Highs

  • Only 20 minutes' drive from Olbia airport, itself only 2 hours flight from the UK (London and regional airports)
  • If you tire of beaches, there are Bronze Age citadels, wineries, pastel villages hidden in granite hills
  • The seafood feast on our final evening was a banquet fit for a Roman emperor
  • The swimming pool, new in 2015, is really the final piece in this idyllic jigsaw
  • Alessandro and Iacobo are thoughtful hosts, sharing their favourite restaurants, boat trips and Olbia delis

Lows

  • You’ll have to drive to dinner some nights, so you’ll need a car
  • It’s a converted family home, so don’t expect hotel-style reception or all-day staff
  • Fans of simplicity might find it a bit over-decorated

Best time to go

Avoid high season if possible (mid-July through August). Prices soar, temperatures can reach 40C, the roads get clogged and restaurants are tricky to book. May and June are deliciously warm; so are September and early October. However, some restaurants and beach bars close at the end of September.

Our top tips

If you only visit one Nuraghic site, make it La Prisgiona - a 3000-year-old keep of rough-hewn boulders ringed by circular huts where the Bronze-Age inhabitants fashioned terracotta vases and jewellery. Try and coincide with a free guided tour - it will give you a wonderful insight into the place's stories and mysteries - and then follow the shaded path to the Tomb of the Giants (included in the ticket price).

If you only have time for one winery, head to Surrau just east of Arzachena on the road to Porto Cervo. Aside from Vermentinos, their deliciously nectary dessert wine is well worth bringing home.

Great for...

Beach
Great Outdoors
Honeymoon
Wedding
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Guesthouse
  • 5
  • Breakfast + (on request) dinner
  • Over 12s only
  • Closed: 27 Oct 2015 - 22 Apr 2016
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room:

Rooms

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.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Hairdryer
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet

Eating

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.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Communal dining
  • Dinner by arrangement
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Head for the white-sand beaches - over 50 within an hour's drive, some tucked away down bumpy tracks, other buzzing with bronzing bodies and al fresco restaurants, all lapped by turquoise seas. We loved north-facing Cala Sabina and south-facing Spiaggia Biancha, both about 15 mins' drive (wind direction might be the deciding factor)
  • Explore the awe-inspiring Nuraghic settlements around Arzachena: chunky stone towers (many still intact) and waist-high dwellings from the Bronze Age, with excellent English-speaking guides to bring this fascinating civilisation to life
  • The Vermentino Wine Route runs from Arzachena to Luogosanto, with plenty of opportunities to taste this fresh, fruity white and some powerful reds too; Alessandro recommends Piero Mancini winery
  • Stop for lunch at the charming little village of San Pantaleo, with its flowery piazza, chi-chi boutiques and popular Thursday market, all set amongst granite summits reminiscent of the Alpilles (the Rother guidebook details a couple of great hikes)
  • Drive up to Palau and cruise the 55 isolotti of the Maddalena archipelago, a scattering of maquis hills and pinkish boulders scattered among translucent waters reminiscent of the Caribbean

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse-riding
  • Private guided tours
  • Shopping / markets
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming
  • Wine tasting
  • Yoga

Kids

Albero Capovolto welcomes children over 12 - or, if taking the whole house, younger well-behaved children too (by arrangement).

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

10/
Rooms
10/
Food
10/
Service
10/
Value
10/
Overall

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