Hotel Lucrezia

near Oristano, Sardinia, Italy Book from Eur134

Reviewed by Tom Bell
Gorgeous country-house hotel with stunning courtyard garden, close to beautiful beaches and the ruins of fabulous Tharros
Lucrezia stands on the northern edge of a village, its soft-pink walls embracing it protectively. There’s no inkling of what to expect within, but soon you spot a door cut into an old wooden gate and seconds later you’re stepping through into another world, swapping the dust of the village for a wonderful courtyard garden. You’re entranced immediately - the colour, the style, the sense of peace, all fill you with instant pleasure. It’s a lovely surprise - you probably didn’t expect to find this measure of beauty within. But now it’s yours and soon you’re sitting under a tree with a glass of something cool to welcome you into the fold.

This 17th-century house belonged to owner David’s grandfather, a gathering place for several generations of the extended family. When he died no one could bear to part with it, so they decided to turn it into a lovely small hotel, keeping the feel of the past alive while adding the comforts of the present. It’s gorgeous from top to toe - 7 smart rooms, generous prices, lovely staff on-hand to help - but it’s the garden that steals the show, a lushly shaded wonderland with tables and chairs scattered about in all the right places, and a massage tent in a quiet corner. Add a string of beaches to the east and the coastal ruins of Phoenician Tharros and you’ll find this small slice of heaven hard to leave. One of the loveliest hotels on the island, simple as that.

Highs

  • There are 20 beaches within 20km - sunset is usually rather good - and beautiful bird-filled lagoons behind them, where pink flamingos gather in April
  • The courtyard garden - you’ll be coming back from the beach earlier than you think
  • The sense of staying at a proper old country house - there's a billiards room and free house aperitifs are served at sunset
  • Phoenician Tharros, its beautiful ruins slipping gracefully into the sea nearby
  • You’re well positioned to explore the island - the fast road makes day trips easy

Lows

  • Although meals are available on request, you’ll have to drive a few km if you want something more than a simple supper or local pizzeria
  • The village (Riola Sardo) is a bit dull, but once ensconced in the courtyard, you forget it’s there
  • There’s no pool, but you do have 20 beaches within easy striking distance
  • Some may find the decor a little too old-fashioned but we loved it

Best time to go

The hotel is open from Easter to the 1st week of November. May is a perfect time to visit: prices are extremely attractive, the weather is lovely, the season has only just started and there aren’t too many people about. It’s also not too hot, so it’s a good time to take to the hills and hike, as is April and October. Or come over the first weekend of September for the festival of the barefoot runners. However, prices here are reasonable throughout the season, making high summer affordable to those who like to take to the beach when it’s 40 degrees in the sun.

Our top tips

Hotel Lucrezia is named after a woman who lived here from 1895 until 1934. Some of the older women in the village remember her and, like the hotel that now bears her name, she was a bit of a star, welcoming prince and pauper to her door with equal enthusiasm, a tradition still practiced at the hotel today. However, Hotel Lucrezia isn’t only lovely, it also occupies a great position on the island for visitors as the fast road that links north and south is only 8km away. So don’t make the mistake of staying for only a couple of days. This is a great base with good prices for what it offers and you can be in Cagliari in an hour, Alghero in an hour and a half, or you can even get across to Cala Gonone on the Golfo di Orosei for awesome boat trips up that spectacular stretch of coast. In short, this is a great island base.

Great for...

Beach
Family
Great Outdoors
Spa
Wedding
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Charming Guesthouse
  • 7
  • Breakfast (+ other meals on request)
  • All ages welcome
  • Closed: 1 Nov 2015 - 20 Apr 2016
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
  • Bicycles Available
  • Billiards
Room:

Rooms

The 7 rooms are scattered about, most in the main house, the suite with its sitting room in the old olive press. All take their name from plants growing in the garden and all are lovely, so it doesn’t really matter where you wash up. An immaculate country-house style runs throughout: whitewashed walls, beautiful bathrooms, beds piled high with pillows, original terracotta-tiled floors. Ornate wooden doors pop up all over the place, there are big wardrobes and pretty pieces of art, and shuttered windows keep you cool. All have fine wooden ceilings, some made from river reeds in the traditional style. Three rooms in the main house open onto the sitting room, where a fire burns occasionally, but don’t expect much noise - the tables and chairs outside are much more popular.

Bathrooms are lovely with a splash of colour coming from pretty tiles. You get carafes of water, lots of space, then smart power showers and the odd bath or spa bath. There are robes, fluffy white towels and fancy oils, too. One bathroom is accessible for wheelchairs.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet

Eating

An excellent breakfast is served along the corridor from the sitting room, past the Roman amphora and the gaslights which once helped illuminate the house. You eat in a small traditional dining room; in good weather you decant into the garden. There’s lots of choice and it’s all irresistible: freshly baked breads, fruits and yoghurts, homemade cakes and pastaccini, plates of ham and cheese, warm croissants, even bacon and eggs on request. Strong coffee, good tea and jugs of juice help you wash it down.

If you’re around at lunch staff will happily bring you plates of cheese, ham or salami with fresh bread or salads or a plate of fruit, perhaps with a glass of local wine drawn from a chestnut barrel in the cellar.

Dinner is available on request: it's peaceful and unhurried affair, and can be taken in the garden if the weather's cooperating. The hotel also kindly dishes out free aperitifs at sunset (local wine accompanied by finger food), and has compiled a great list of eateries - the best fish, meat, pizza and agriturismi in the area. We ate a good pizza in the village, but for the best fish restaurants you’ll have to drive. The same applies for the agriturismi, but these are usually well worth the detour, though in season you’ll need to book early.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Cooking classes
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Lunch by arrangement
  • Organic produce
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • You are spoilt for beaches - wild ones, posh ones, some with restaurants, others with sunbeds. Punta Is Arutas, with its sparkling quartz sand, is popular. Owners David and Paolo grew up here, know every square inch, and offer the very best advice. Boat trips to small islands are also possible, as are kayaking expeditions

  • Visit Tharros (8th century BC), the Phoenician town at Capo San Marco. It was abandoned in 1070 AD by locals who were fed up of attacks by Saracens and Vandals. The town moved inland, founding Oristano; the ruins remain, flanked by a lovely sandy beach

  • Several lagoons behind the beaches fill with migratory birdlife every year. You’ll see pink flamingos in April, when you can ride through, watching them from horseback

  • Learn to cook Sardinian style - cooking classes are available and you’re taught how to conjure up fish soup on the beach. Classes for 2-8 (enquire in advance)

  • Explore Oristano, the provincial capital. Reception can help you hire bikes. The cathedral has an octagonal tower and an onion dome

  • The fast road is close, making much of the island accessible for day trips: Bosa, Alghero and Cagliari are all within easy range, as is Nuoro in the interior.

  • Or spend a day at Fordongianus for its old Roman ruins and a spa with Turkish baths and a sauna

  • In early July head up to Sedilo above Lake Omodeo for S’Ardia, one of those centuries-old, testosterone-fuelled horse races; it draws an eager crowd

  • There’s golf up the road at Is Arenas. Also, diving courses can be arranged, you can hire dinghies and explore the coast or saddle up and ride on the beach

  • Spend a day cruising the coast on a Sardinian fishing boat with lunch on board. Or go wind- and kite-surfing

  • Head down to Barúmini and the World Heritage site of Su Nuraxi, the finest and most complete Nuraghic settlement on the island. Built on a hill, it dates to 1500 BC

  • Come home after a tough day on the beach and have a massage in a quiet corner of the garden - perfect stuff

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Boat trips
  • Cooking classes
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse-riding
  • Kayaking
  • Kitesurfing
  • Mountain biking
  • Sailing
  • Scuba diving
  • Scuba diving courses
  • Snorkelling
  • Surfing
  • Swimming
  • Well being
  • Windsurfing
  • Yoga

Kids

Children are welcome, and stay for free up to 2 years old; thereafter there is a supplement charge. Baby cots and extra beds are available; babysitting can be arranged.

Best for:

All ages

Family friendly accommodation:

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available

Babysitting:

On request.

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

9/
Rooms
9/
Food
10/
Service
9/
Value
9/
Overall

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