Petra Segreta

near Olbia, Sardinia, Italy Book from Eur220

Reviewed by Tom Bell
Small, elegant hotel hidden away in the hills, with big views, a shimmering pool and lovely beaches waiting below
It’s rather like joining the gods on Mount Olympus. You climb up the hill, pass your test of courage (the track that leads up to the hotel), then find yourself lounging about in the lap of luxury, with staff on-hand to carry bags, delicious food waiting in the restaurant, a gorgeous pool encircled by sunbeds, even a small spa in case you need a massage. There’s the view, too, a 20-mile sweep over land and sea to Corsica. It’ll stop you in your tracks as you potter down to your room and you might just spot the odd mortal scurrying about below.

Petra Segreta is the work of Luigi Bergeretto and his wife Rossella, he a famous cook from Rome, she an architect whose gorgeous design is everywhere. When they bought their 5 silent hectares, the hill was strewn with boulders. The biggest, most beautiful stones survived, but the others have made way for manicured lawns and 24 lovely rooms, which are dotted about the hill, bringing beauty and comfort in spades. All have shaded terraces, some with sea views, while 21st-century rustic charm runs throughout; gorgeous bathrooms come as standard, and the 2 Suites have private plunge pools. Beaches galore are close by (10km), but the island's interior is worth a visit, too. A popular spot with honeymooners.

Highs

  • The beautiful grounds with their fabulous views and sparkling pool
  • The warm design and cool rustic chic that flows throughout
  • The privacy and peace - this is a very romantic spot
  • The beaches of the Costa Smeralda, the stuff of glossy magazines
  • The staff, who speak lots of languages, and who go the extra mile

Lows

  • There’s not much nightlife up in the hills and it’s a bit of a slog if you want to eat down on the coast
  • Prices soar in July and August, but the sun is hot from April to mid-October, so come when rates are low
  • No kids aged 2-11 allowed
  • We've heard mixed feedback on service but we found it excellent when we stayed
  • Little extras - eg fresh OJ or boiled eggs at breakfast - cost a lot

Best time to go

The season typically runs from Easter to the end of October, though the hotel is open til early December. In June-August prices soar (as do temperatures, often above 40C), restaurants are hard to book, beaches are packed and roads are slow; in short, come earlier or later if you can. May is lovely - the water is warming up, prices are still low, staff are fresh, and the roads are clear. Late September is excellent, too, with lots of sun and the warmest water of the year, though beach cafés and restaurants start closing around the 20th and the seasonal air operators (including EasyJet) stop flying.

Our top tips

The weather in Sardinia is fantastic - we visited in October when the temperature was 25C. However, the mistral can blow, which means you might end up on a beach with sand flying through the air. An easy solution is to change beaches for the day. Some face east, others west, and with lots of tiny peninsulas on the island, it’s easily done.

Great for...

Beach
Foodie
Great Outdoors
Honeymoon
Spa
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 24
  • Restaurant and bar (open daily)
  • Under 2s and over 12s only
  • Closed: 1 Nov 2015 - 23 Mar 2016
  • Heated Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
  • Outdoor running machine
Room:

Rooms

All the rooms are lovely. Some are bigger than others and a couple don’t have sea views, but the same chic style runs throughout and all have shaded terraces where you can escape the midday sun. They are scattered about the manicured grounds in sculpted buildings of golden stone that hold one or 2 rooms. Smart paths weave past beautiful rocks and deliver you to your front door. Suites and Junior Suites tend to be more private, while the terraces of Standards and Deluxe Double Rooms might overlook the path or even the pool, though all have a great sense of peace.

Interiors have stylish earthy colours. You find crisp linen on smart kingsize/twin beds (several have four-posters), terracotta-tiled floors, beautiful showers or a bath to soak in. There are flat-screen TVs and minibars, perhaps a contemporary chaise longue or a beamed roof. Best of all are the terraces, especially the bigger ones in the Junior Suites - alfresco sitting rooms where you can while away the afternoon with a good book or a snooze. As for the 2 Suites, they may cost a bomb, but they come fully loaded with living rooms, private plunge pools, enormous views, cushioned sunbeds and fabulous walk-in showers plus tubs. All rooms have bathrobes, Etro toiletries and air conditioning.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Coffee maker
  • Coffee tea making
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Internet access
  • Internet access
  • Minibar
  • Mosquito net
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • Wifi internet
  • Wifi internet

Eating

When the weather is good you eat on the terrace. Otherwise, you eat in the rustic-chic dining room, with walls of glass to frame the view.

Breakfast is the usual continental feast: jugs of juice, croissants and pains au chocolat, homemade cakes, plates of cheese and ham, bowls of just-sliced fruit. Hot options are available on request. It’s served from 7.30am-10.30am so there’s no rush in the mornings.

Snacks are available in the bar overlooking the swimming pool - salads, sandwiches, perhaps a slice of pizza. You can eat light lunches here, too - Parma ham and melon, a plate of pasta, fresh fish or spicy chicken. We had a delicious bowl of homemade fettuccelle with aubergine, tomato and ricotta sauce washed down with a glass of red wine.

Dinner is the big event and you’ll want to eat here at least once. The food is all local with fish and seafood straight from the sea, perhaps pasta with a langoustine sauce to start, then fresh lobster or steam-cooked sea bass to follow. Meat from the hills is just as good - local lamb chops or roast suckling pig. As for puddings, try strawberry millefeuille, bitter chocolate tart or rosemary-scented apple with lemon cream.

If you want to eat out we'd recommend Ichnos in San Pantaleo (3km down the track) for an excellent pizza. Alternatively, rub shoulders with the jetset at Love or The Belvedere in Porto Cervo (about a 25-minute drive); both are extremely popular in high season.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Coffee maker
  • Coffee tea making
  • Food and wine
  • Minibar
  • Organic produce
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Hang out at the pool, top up your tan on your private terrace, or stroll across to the small gym and run on the outdoor treadmill while gazing at the view

  • Arrange a massage or a pedicure in the small spa or in a cave. Or book the steam room, Turkish bath and sauna, free for i-escape guests

  • Those glorious beaches. They’re everywhere and you don’t have to look hard to find them. We loved Báia Sardinia to the north, where you can hire a couple of sunbeds and an umbrella

  • The hotel has its own boat, an Itama 38. It can be hired for daily excursions or for romantic candlelit dinners at night

  • Check out San Pantaleo’s market on Thursday mornings. It’s the best for miles and brings the tourists up from the beaches below

  • Head to Palau for a boat tour through the Maddalena archipelago. There are small villages, more lovely beaches and you can see Garibaldi’s house on Isola Caprera

  • From Santa Teresa you can take the ferry to Corsica for the day and explore Bonifacio, which teeters on top of a cliff. It’s only 10 miles away

  • Head inland - Sardinia’s interior is stunning, easily accessible and much ignored. You can ride, hike, even quad-bike, while 2 olive trees near Témpio have been classified by UNESCO as the oldest in Europe; one could be 6,000 years old

  • Explore the archaeological sites - check out the Giant’s Tomb at Li Lolghi or visit La Prisgiona, a well-preserved Nuraghic settlement close by

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Food and wine
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse-riding
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Quad biking
  • Sailing
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Well being

Kids

This is not a great hotel for children, a quiet spot up in the hills with many guests who come for the peace. However, babies under 2 and children over 12 are welcome. You'll need to bring a baby cot but extra beds are available and can be put in the Junior Suites and Suites.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

Extra Beds Available

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

8/
Rooms
8/
Food
7/
Service
7/
Value
7/
Overall

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