“An oasis of dolce vita on a hilltop surrounded by the turquoise beaches of the Costa Smeralda”
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.
- 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
- 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
Our top tips
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.”
- Boutique Guesthouse
- Breakfast + (on request) dinner
- Over 12s only
- Closed: 24 Mar 2018 - 12 Apr 2018...
- Outdoor Pool
- Spa Treatments
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
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.
- Air conditioning
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.
- Communal dining
- Dinner by arrangement
- 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
- Historical sites
- Horse riding
- Private guided tours
- Shopping / markets
- Wine tasting