Nascar Hotel

Santa Maria di Navarrese, Sardinia, Italy Book from Eur150

Reviewed by Tom Bell
Cute hotel 50 paces from the village beach with fantastic food and local boats to whiz you up to the wonders of the Golfo di Orosei
Come here for lazy days on a lovely beach, for boat trips up the spectacular coast, for the odd diversion into mysterious hills and for some seriously good food in the restaurant. This is a family affair with 3 sisters at the helm: Stefania and Claudia look after guests, Loretta, a fisherwoman, heads out to sea to catch your supper. It’s a perfect spot for 3 or 4 days. After a delicious breakfast in the garden you amble down to the beach, grab a sunbed, roast away, swim in crystal-clear waters, then retreat to a lovely old café for a spot of lunch. Boat trips into the Golfo di Orosei take in soaring cliffs and deserted beaches and leave from the small harbour every day. This a hassle-free destination and a charming one at that - more 1960s than 21st century.

As for the hotel, it sits 200m back from the village beach with wicker armchairs and sofas scattered about its attractive front garden, an open-air sitting room shaded by tall trees. Inside, 12 whitewashed rooms are just the ticket: not overly fancy but rather lovely nonetheless, with colourfully tiled bathrooms and extremely comfy beds. Some have French windows that open onto tiny balconies, while a couple have big shaded terraces. Finally, the history lesson: the daughter of the king of Navarre survived a shipwreck here in 1052 and built a church in thanks, dedicating it to Santa Maria di Navarra, hence the village’s name. It stands opposite in the shade of an olive tree, which is thought to predate the church.

Highs

  • The food is divine, the best we ate on the island by miles and miles and miles
  • Everything you want to do is on your doorstep
  • The village beach, 200m from the hotel, is a cracker
  • Boat trips to the magnificent Golfo di Orosei leave from the village harbour
  • Golgo, the mountain behind, is easy to get to and full of strange wonders

Lows

  • The Classic Rooms have no balcony and limited views, but they are the quietest rooms
  • A little pricey for somewhere without a pool - but it's a very popular spot and the restaurant is excellent
  • In April and October the restaurant is sometimes closed (ask the team when booking)
  • The road through town runs in front of the hotel, but it’s only slow local traffic
  • During low season, the village becomes much quieter and many local businesses close

Best time to go

If you want to walk, come in April, May or October. August is busy, prices are high, there’s probably more noise in the village and excursions will need to be booked in advance. The hotel is closed November-March.

Our top tips

The guided tours in the area are well worth considering for several reasons. Some of the trekking is quite tricky and paths over limestone rock are all but impossible to follow, so you’ll want to be with people who know the land inside out. Also, if you’re driving a hire car, it’s impossible to keep off dirt tracks, which you are not insured for. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t drop down the odd track, but taking the track from Golgo to Cala Sisine, a 1-hour crawl down a rutted track, might not be the best idea. And when you do drive on dirt tracks, drive slowly in low gear and read the road ahead.

Great for...

Beach
Family
Foodie
Great Outdoors
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 12
  • Restaurant and bar (open daily for dinner)
  • All ages welcome
  • Closed: 1 Nov 2015 - 31 Mar 2016
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Bicycles Available
  • Wedding receptions
Room: Superior Garden View

Rooms

Rooms are spread over the 1st and 2nd floors with a lift to whisk you up. Superiors have French windows that open onto tiny balconies, giving views past the church to the village. All come in a similar style: traditional wood ceilings, whitewashed walls, pretty art, terracotta-tiled floors and comfy beds dressed in crisp white linen. Some have exposed stone walls, all have a splash of colour, while good bathrooms come with excellent power showers. You find shuttered windows, beach towels, flat-screen TVs and air conditioning, too. Although not huge, we liked ours a lot and they’ll do you fine for 3 or 4 days; bear in mind, you’ll spend most of your time down on the beach, out on the terrace or exploring the hills.

If you’re here for a week - and why not, it’ll rush by in a flash - then you may want a little more space. Step forward the Junior Suites, which run the full depth of the house and are unmistakably spacious, though neither has a sofa. However, both have four-posters and double-aspect windows, and bathrooms at the back have corner baths as well as showers. For the same price, there are also a couple of Deluxe Terraces at the back on the 1st floor, which both have wicker sofas and armchairs on large shaded terraces. They’re rather peaceful, too, but they don’t have the view.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Beach towels
  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet

Eating

You eat in one of 3 places - out on the terrace, in the vaulted dining room or in the inside/outside dining room, which is completely open to the elements at one end, but other than that has a ceiling and 3 walls.

Breakfast is a help-yourself affair, but it’s delicious, too, and you may well find yourself drifting back for a second dip. For the first and only time on our trip we found freshly squeezed orange juice. Well, actually, what we found was a bowl of oranges by an extremely efficient squeezer, but that was fine by us and quite fun, too. On top of that, there was lovely bread, croissants and pains au chocolat, bowls of fruit, plates of cheese and ham, even cakes and pastries. In short, an exceptional breakfast and you wash it down with strong coffee or a selection of teas.

Lunch isn’t served - you’ll probably be cruising the Golfo di Orosei or down at the café on the beach. However, dinner is a remarkable feast. The food here is extraordinary - impeccably sourced and full of flavour, proper Italian country food (not a pizza in sight!). We started with flawless Sardinian ravioli stuffed with fresh cheese, moved on to one of the best pieces of beef we’ve ever eaten (and which cost half the price it would in the UK), and polished things off nicely with an espresso Tiramisu. This was the best meal we ate in Sardinia by a country mile.

If you want to eat out, try Tanaku for a good pizza or Lungo Mare for fish. Both are in the village, but it’s highly unlikely either will come close to the food here. However, there are a couple of agriturismo restaurants out of town that are worth visiting. Franca’s - she’s your host and cook - is a farmhouse where you eat communally around the same table with Franca’s children pottering about. Her husband farms and you eat his fare, impossibly fresh and apparently extremely good. Also, drive up to Golgo, the mountain behind you, and find Il Rifugio, a community project where they cook every night. We doubt the food is particularly refined - suckling pig, local fish, grilled meat - but the landscape is wild up here and it no doubt makes for an entertaining evening.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • The beach - 200m from the hotel, flanked to the back by a curtain of pine, with golden sands, sunbeds and crystal-clear water. There are a couple of cafés, plus pedalos and kayaks to hire; it's a great spot for a lazy day in the sun

  • Tour the Golfo di Orosei, the spectacular coastline that stretches north for 50km and is accessible only by boat or foot. Daily boat trips leave the village harbour and take in all the iconic beaches and caves - unmissable!

  • Visit Golgo - the mountain behind you. Drive up and discover this accessible wilderness. There are all sorts of strange features to see - an ancient old church in the middle of nowhere, an excellent viewing platform and ‘the mask’, a rock formation that appears to have been sculpted millennia ago to resemble a human face

  • Don't miss remote Cala Sisine - one of the best beaches on the Golfo di Orosei. If you drive up to Golgo and the old church, you’ll see a sign to the beach. If you think your car is up to it, you can drive along a bumpy unsealed road for about an hour, then park and walk in for the last 30 minutes

  • Climb the Supramonte - the limestone mountain range to the north that rises from the sea, its cliffs towering 1,000 feet high in some places. The drive up to Dorgali is seriously beautiful. There’s excellent trekking, but you can explore on quad bikes or horseback, too

  • Visit Tiscali, the extraordinary Bronze-Age village buried in a cave. It’s an awesome 2-hour hike in, so you’ll need to allow 5 hours for the full tour. It’s a proper trek and you’ll need walking boots and lots of water

  • Explore Sardinia's lovely interior: head west towards the mountains and check out the land around Osini - the ancient nuraghic complex at Serbissi and the beautiful gully and rock formations at Gola di San Giorgio. Again, you need good walking boots and lots of water

  • Finally… for adrenalin junkies, Selvaggio Blu ('Wild Blue'), the legendary hike that follows the Golfo di Orosei from this village up to Cala Gonone. One minute you’re scaling peaks that tower above the sea, the next you're passing wild goats as you drop down to tiny coves. You need a guide, it’s hairy in parts (there are various routes) and it takes anything from 3-7 days

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse-riding
  • Kayaking
  • Mountain biking
  • Private guided tours
  • Quad biking
  • Scuba diving
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming
  • Trekking

Kids

Children are welcome, though there is not that much for them to do here. Under 2s stay free with a baby cot provided. Children aged 3-6 receive a 50% discount when staying in an extra bed in their parents' room; from 7-12 it's a 30% discount. Over 12s get a 20% discount.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

Junior Suites and Deluxe Terraces can take extra beds; smaller rooms can fit a baby cot only

Babysitting:

Available with advance notice.

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

9/
Rooms
9/
Food
9/
Service
8/
Value
9/
Overall

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