With good reason most visitors to the beautiful Mediterranean island of Sardinia flock to the coast, as the beaches are among the most beautiful in the world, but, if they don’t ever venture inland, they are really missing out.
I have recently been on one of the most scenic drives imaginable from Sardinia’s west coast, inland to the hotel Su Gologone, near Oliena. The scenery was breathtaking and the hairpin bends numerous! It was well worth every twist and turn though, not only for the views along the way but the reward at the end, in this lovely boutique hotel. Most visitors arrive via a much easier route but we were on a tour of the island and approached it from the south. It is only rated as a four star hotel but if it is good enough for the likes of Madonna and Richard Gere, than it is good enough for me!
The hotel is decorated with local crafts from the handmade cushions to the pottery chickens that peek out at me, as I turn every corner. Works of art, exhibitions, including a lovely collection of traditional costumes, both antique and modern Sardinian masks, pottery as well as everyday objects from Sardinian rural life adorn the walls and many a nook and cranny.
And every detail of the hotel charms and delights me as I wonder through patios, up some stairs, across a terrace…. the hotels rambles up the hillside… I wonder how many guests get lost here! But this is THE place to lose yourself.
A trail of painted pebbles led me from the reception to the terrace bar where I enjoyed a spritz aperitif before dinner.
A memorable feast…
Before I came to Sardinia I had heard good things about the restaurant at this hotel and it didn’t disappoint. Our charming waitress, Romina, helped us choose just what to have and it was all superb. To start with she brought out dish, after dish of wonderful delights, some familiar and some not so familiar! Next the pasta course and the culurgiones, a raviloi stuffed with a type of ricotta found only here, was perfect – light and tasty, rich but not too rich. Then the main course, which had to be the porceddu allo spiedo, spit-roasted suckling pig that is cooked in the restaurant on an open fire. I’ve tried this traditional Sardinian dish a number of times and the Su Gologone’s pork was even better than the rest, succulent and tasty and the crackling, which I don’t usually like, was superb! The American couple sitting next to me in the restaurant, mentioned that they have friends that come over from Rome just to eat in this restaurant and now that I’ve tried it for myself, it doesn’t surprise me.
From polyphonic singing to stargazing to trying your hand at a local craft…
There is plenty to do here too. In the old stables you’ll find 6 workshops featuring the very best in local arts and crafts, some of which you can partake in yourself in one of a number of classes held each week. From May to September stargazers meet up, once a week, with guests staying at Su Gologone and observe the stars and planets through telescopes. Once a week canti a tenores, a traditional polyphonic singing group perform. Plus there are regular tasting sessions held in the hotel’s cellars of aromatic wines and robust grappas or, if you wish, a cooking lesson can be arranged.
In addition, the hotel is ideally situated to explore the Sardinian countryside with mountain grottos, underground tunnels and ancient ruins to explore and rare birds to look out for amongst ancient juniper and olive trees. It is also within easy reach of the spectacular beaches of the Costa Smeralda.
I arrived in the dark and had to leave first thing, which is such a shame as Su Gologone is one of the most charming hotels I have ever been to. I do hope I am lucky enough to return there one day.
My visit to Su Gologone may have been fleeting but the memory will last forever. This really is a very special place.
Please note that I was visiting Sardinia on an assignment for Sardinian Places, an independent UK company selling both package and accommodation only holidays to this beautiful island. My opinions expressed here, however, are my own and should not be considered the opinions of Sardinian Places or Serenity Holiday Ltd.
Boutique Travel Blog’s founder and editor, Kathryn, also blogs at TravelWithKat.com where she shares her passion for discovering new countries, cultures and cuisines.