Tim Firmager checks into the secluded Su Gologone Hotel in the central Nuoro region of Sardinia, to discover more about this secluded art hotel
When looking for the next LGBT-friendly holiday destination, Sardinia may not seem like a top candidate. But there are an abundance of beaches dotted around its coastline, good quality local food, and of course a few handsome Italians for good measure. Given also the growing trend there for beautiful luxury properties offering great value, Sardinia suddenly become a lot more appealing. Su Gologone hotel is no exception to this, so we at Vada went to explore what the venue has to offer.
Part one of our review explores the hotel’s accommodation, food and bars. In part two we look at the wellness facilities, arts and culture, and price.
Situated just over an hour’s drive from Oliena, at the base of the Supramonte mountain, Su Gologone hotel blends luxury, tradition and a proper authentic experience. The thing with Su Gologone though, is that it is less a hotel, and more a continually evolving museum of Sardinia art, which happens to allow guests to stay. If you’ve ever visited Ilan Goor’s home / museum in Tel Aviv, this feeling will be familiar. Given this scenario, the hotel can only ever be boutique.
Su Golgone’s interpretation of boutique straddles the fine line between rusty and rustic. Where some will become smitten with Sardinian charm and quirkiness from the hotel, others may see tired spaces. If rural settings for a holiday aren’t for you heed caution, else those who do enjoy this charm may find blissful peace within the hotel’s grounds.
Su Gologone hotel offers a range of accommodation categories across just shy of 100 rooms. We stayed in an Art Suite (room number 90). Like the rest of the hotel, the room showcases art work, which will either exhaust or enthral.
A small entrance leads to the bedroom, with four-poster King-bed and ample room for a sofa, chairs, and storage areas. This room is lined with prints of men and women in traditional clothing. If this were a Tudor-style property we would imagine these would be all of Henry VIII’s wives and lovers. Cushions are all handmade on site at Su Gologone hotel , and even the hand-made tiling in the bathroom incorporates the hotel’s colours and bird emblem. Aside from the soft furnishings, the mattress was comfy, but not quite memory foam contentment-level.
Leading off the bedroom is a further living area, with windows on three sides of this room means there is always plenty of light. This living room is set up with a large L-shaped sofa, with more hand-print cushions. We imagine this is the the bed for a third person. This living space also has a fireplace, although we doubt the temperatures ever drop low enough to warrant this, it is a homely feature that does not feel out of place. Leading out of the living room is a large balcony, which by far is one of the best selling points of this junior suite – with room enough for rattan chairs and a large outdoor bathtub. Lighting a few of the candles for a late evening soak, this is the definition of Sardinian tranquility.
The main bathroom has a single sink (although there is room for twin sinks) and is spacious enough for a large walk in shower. Local toiletries are provided, although we didn’t spot any hair conditioner so remember to pack your own.
Vada rating for accommodation: 8 / 10
Su Gologone hotel has one primary restaurant, which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. We tried out all three offerings. Breakfast is the usual buffet affair you will find in most hotels. Timing breakfast well at Su Gologone hotel, will mean a chance for a balcony seat overlooking the pool and the Sardinian countryside beyond. Fresh pastries and local charcuterie and cheese are a highlight, but those looking for eggs florentine or avocado on toast will have to abstain for their visit.
If there are no excursions planned for the day, we recommend lunch at Su Gogolgone hotel (as the remote location means there is no other choice if you don’t have a hire car). There is a fixed menu, with a selection of pasta, meat and seafood dishes (ranging from 8€ to 15€ each) with vegetable sides. For a reasonably portioned meal, we recommend one dish and one side, our favourites being the Ravioli with fresh cheese and meatballs (14€) and Rolled & stuffed veal with aubergines (15€), and definitely try one of the local wines from the nearby town of Oliena. It is very likely the grapes were grown on the vineyards surrounding the hotel – and you cannot get more local than that.
During dinner service, Su Gologone hotel’s kitchen offer a special daily menu in addition to dishes available from the lunch menu. Having sampled across both, we were rather disappointed with the seafood, being practically inedible – the prawns were all shell and no meat, and squid cooked to the consistency of car tyre rubber. Meat and pasta dishes however are executed far better, and we couldn’t fault either of these. A conversation with a local uncovered that traditionally the Sardinian’s in this in-land region have focussed (and continue to do so) on farming sheep and goats, which may explain why the meat dishes were consistently impeccable.
Su Gologone hotel also offers a traditional bread making experience at the outdoor Nido del Pane restaurant. Here guests have the opportunity to dine outside, witnessing various bread dishes being produced (Focaccia, cheese breads, potato bread and many more) in a traditional bread oven by women in traditional clothing. A large buffet of vegetables, meats and cheeses is also provided, and wine and aperitif are also included. We recommend not rushing your food, as it takes time to produce each bread dish, and then there are desserts. Every morsel should be tried and savoured. And you will want to save room for seconds of the cheese bread. This unique dining experience is highly recommended for any cheese or carb fan, or foodies in general.
For all lunches and evening meals, regardless of whether included a full- or half-board package, we definitely recommend booking ahead with reception, as the restaurants are always busy.
Vada rating for food: 7 / 10
There are several bars and terraces at Su Gologone hotel, and in fact so many places to just sit and relax, that it is simply not possible to grow wearisome of the same atmosphere.
Bar Tablao and the adjacent, new addition, Champagnoteque are white outdoor spaces, surrounded by cacti, and adorned with sculptures on display and aforementioned handmade haberdashery. Here guests can enjoy a cool drink in the early evening, looking out on the Supramonte mountain. We recommend an Aperol Spritz, a glass of Champagne or ‘Mohirto’ – a Mojito made with a traditional Sardinian liqueur Mirto (made from Myrtle), or simply a Limoncello.
Two further terraces (known as the terraces of dreams) offer ideal spaces to watch sunset or simply to chill-out during the day, where guests are welcome to take food or drinks. There are so many other chill-out areas, and sofas dotted around the complex they cannot all be listed. Sufficed to say, if you want to sit in sun or shade there will always be a quiet spot available.
The main bar (next to reception) is indoors and the closest Su Gologone hotel gets to a typical hotel bar. Given the great weather Sardinia is known for, we anticipate you would be found in here only if for a respite from the sun; however on a late June day, the second day of the rain in the year coincided with our visit, so we did actually find ourselves crammed in with many other guests. The seating of this main bar sprawls outside in front of the main reception, so as a newly arriving guest, you can feel slightly lost. As we said previously, Su Gologone hotel is laid out more like an evolving home dedicated to art collection than as a hotel, and this remarkably relaxed style of ‘make yourself at home’ is apparent throughout the hotel’s communal areas.
Vada rating for bars: 9 / 10
Read part 2 of our review to discover the wellness facilities, arts and culture and prices.
For more information on Su Gologone hotel or to book a stay there, visit sugologone.it.