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.
In part one of our review, we explored the hotel’s accommodation, food and bars. This second part looks at the wellness facilities, arts and culture, and price.
Su Gologone hotel boasts a range of wellness facilities, including a large (and deceptively deep) outdoor pool, two outdoor jacuzzis, a gym area, spa facilities and a tennis court. These wellness facilities are an amenity that we suspect will, like the rustic nature of the hotel, cause divergence in opinions.
The outdoor pool is surrounded by grass, and adorned with wooden parasols, each teetering at a slightly different angle. A few concrete slabs set out in a partial path give you the feeling you’re in someone’s back garden rather than in a boutique, luxury hotel. There are no handsome bartenders bringing you drinks to your sunlounger, Su Gologone hotel is not that kind of establishment. Nevertheless, in our experience, cut off from the rest of the world, with beautiful vistas and an (audio)book to hand, the time taken to ease out of work mode is deceptively fleeting.
Gym facilities overlook the pool, and the equipment is quite basic, there really is no getting around that fact. There is a running machine and a static bike, so cardio enthusiasts can get a work-out, and just enough other fixed equipment to be able to workout all the muscle groups, but no space for yoga or stretching mats. On one occasion, the facilities were just being cleaned (including water, towels and fruit replenished) for the day about 11am when we had a workout, several hours after the facility had opened.
The spa facilities are also quite minimal i.e. a couple of treatment rooms. We did indulge in a massage treatment, and whilst there. There is a large selection of massages and treatments available (all need to be booked as in advance as possible with reception), including Swedish, deep tissue and even a chocolate massage. However our massage felt more like an underwhelming hybrid that didn’t really do any of the main massage techniques justice.
Vada rating for wellness: 6.5 / 10
As an art gallery, Su Gologone hotel feels more like a continually-evolving, curated museum of Sardinian art and antique furniture. There is a considerable amount for guests to appreciate. The botteghe (workshops) at the top of the hotel allow guests to witness where all the haberdashery for the hotel is made, and a hidden away kiln explains the source of the ceramics. Every room and public area is so filled with artwork and local creations and designs that there is always something new to see that wasn’t spotted before.
Talking with staff – in broken Italian, apologies to all those Sardinians who didn’t understand us – Su Gologone hotel has helped revitalise the local area. With the arts and crafts, dyes and wools are all sourced locally, providing income for local farmers and shepherds. Equally much of the food and all of the wine available at the hotel is locally sourced, some from vines that grow within a few hundred feet of the hotel. In a region of Sardinia where there is not much choice in profession beyond the traditional jobs, Su Gologone hotel is able to support employment both as hotel staff, and also with regards to secondary jobs and production.
The hotel’s name is shared with the local spring, which roughly translates to ‘throat’ in English. This natural spring is known for its superbly clear water, and is the source of all the water to the Su Gologone hotel. It is approximately 500m away, so an easy walk and worth the experience.
Other excursions can be arranged via the hotel, and hiring a car – definitely recommended – gives even more flexibility given the remote location of Su Gologone hotel. We suggest taking a drive to Cala Gonone, to take a boat and explore some of the many glorious beaches on the east coast of Sardinia – accessible only from the turquoise water of the Tyrrhenian Sea
Vada rating for art and culture: 10 / 10
Room rates at Su Gologone hotel vary by accommodation type with full and half-board options. We have found classic rooms from 180 EUR per night, and an Art Suite (like the one we stayed in) from 370 EUR per night. Half board is circa 60 EUR.
Given the room rate is for two adults sharing, we believe there is significant value at the price point of Su Gologone hotel.
Vada rating on value: 10 / 10
Su Gologone hotel offers boutique luxury in a unique quirky way, with a focus on localism in every sense. It is for those who have a preference for art and rustic charm over modern uniform luxury. Whilst it is not for everyone’s tastes, we couldn’t not find peace and relaxation at the base of a Sardinian mountain.
The suites do not skimp on space, so although they are packed full of artwork, there is none of the claustrophobia that you might get from an ageing London hotel room for example. Similarly, Su Gologone hotel’s locally sourced food and wine offers a delicious menu (bar the seafood) and stunning terrace views offer a taste of genuine Sardinia.
Vada overal rating: 8.5 / 10
For more information on Su Gologone hotel or to book a stay there, visit sugologone.it.