I think I might have found one of my new favourite places in the world following a recent trip to Sardinia. At least I know that I have definitely found the best hotel in the world after discovering the Hotel Su Gologone, where I stayed for two nights. I swear my trips away are always too short.
It’s the first time I’ve ever been to Sardinia, and whilst I’d heard of it, I’d never really considered it as a holiday destination, but here I am now urging you to put it on your holiday destination list after only experiencing it for two days.
If you’re not familiar, Sardinia is an Italian island and is only a couple of hours away from England on a plane. We took an EasyJet flight to and from London Gatwick, so you could go for a weekend, although you’re probably going to want to stay for longer! The island is full of tradition and culture, beautiful mountains and hidden beaches, the food is some of the most incredible I’ve ever tasted – I think my waistline grew in the few days I was there. But it was so worth it!
I don’t even think that words or photographs will ever be able to describe exactly how incredible this hotel is, but I will do my very best. The Hotel Su Gologone is a hotel hidden amongst the mountains of Sardinia and every single part of the hotel is a unique and visual celebration of Sardinian art and culture. The owner, Giovanna Palimodde, is an artist and also a proud Sardinian, and she wanted to mix Sardinian traditions with luxury to create the perfect place to escape and enjoy the rich culture of Sardinia. She put her designs into every part of the hotel, which is spread over acres of land. Every single corner of the hotel has been well thought out, I can’t get over the attention to detail. We were lucky enough to have dinner with Giovanna one night and she told us that she took a photo of every single place in the hotel to make sure it was picture perfect!
The hotel has over 70 rooms and it was full whilst we were there, however it was so peaceful it never felt crowded. Plus, whilst children are allowed (so are pets), there is no dedicated area for children so they are few and far between. This is amazing if, like me, you prefer not to listen to the sounds of children on holiday.
Each bedroom is dedicated to a different Sardinian artist, so every single room is unique, and ours has even housed Madonna, who stayed on the entire floor for a month whilst she filmed Swept Away in 2002! Our bedroom was a suite and so we were fortunate enough to have a bedroom, huge bathroom, a living room area, and a beautiful terrace is with our own outdoor bath.
There are different terraces around the hotel, my favourite two were the Terrace of Wishes and the Terrace of Dreams. The terrace of wishes overlooks the vegetable fields that are covered in scarecrows (all of the food and wine served at the hotel is locally produced). There are two big jars on either end of the terrace in which you can write and pop your wish. I made a wish and popped it in as we watched sunset, and we were told that when the jar becomes full Giovanna burns them and sprinkles the ashes over the field. The Terrace of Dreams looks onto the mountains, which shine an amazing pink as the sun is setting, and it’s on here you can view the stars through telescopes with an astrologer at night!
Another terrace worth mentioned is the Champagnoteque, because it’s brand new. It’s an open bar that overlooks the mountains and is so instagram-friendly (I hate myself for saying that) with it’s all white seats and handmade cushions and comfy couches. Here you can sample a wide variety of both champagnes and sparkling Italian wines. Plus on each of the terraces there’s a Mediterranean antipasti, which is basically a buffet inspired by the local area. Think meat and vegetable dishes, hams, cheeses and olives.
The Food and Drink
There are three different restaurants at the hotel, all serving incredible Sardinian food. One overlooks the pool, which shines bright at night time, and another is an outdoor restaurant called Nido del Pane (Bread Nest in English) and it’s situated between the Terrace of Dreams and Wishes, and there are local ladies making the tradition bread in an oven. It was amazing to be served food that was that fresh.
I knew the food and drink was going to be exceptional, I mean it’s a part of Italy, but I had no idea it was going to be quite so amazing. I’m kind of grateful I don’t live there as I really would be the size of a Sardinian mountain! We ate some of the freshest and most incredible pasta, focaccia, cheese and hams, but some of my culinary highlights of the trip were:
We were served a dish that was a flat bread with a fresh tomotoe sauce and pecorino cheese similar to pamersan on with a fried egg in the middle. I’ve got to be honest, whilst I love eggs, I’m not usually a fan of eggs on pizza so I was quite dubious about the dish but it just shows you have to try things as I was so wrong! You spread the yolk and egg around the base before folding the bread up like a calzone and it’s one of the greatest things I’ve ever tasted. Apparently it’s a local speciality and I’m definitely be going to try to recreated it at home.
I mean, I didn’t taste a single bad wine whilst I was there (both the red and white were so light) but the highlight had to be the discovery of Passito! It’s technically a dessert wine, but I ended up drinking it throughout the whole trip. It’s thicker and sweeter than a normal wine and the only way I can describe it is like the taste of the alcohol on a Christmas pudding!
Also, I’m not really a fan of beer usually, but Giovanna insisted that we try the local beer and I’m really glad I listened to her as it was amazing! I only wish it was available in the UK. It was lighter and less bitter than a normal beer and almost tasted like it had peaches in it!
The boat trip and picnic
We spent one day exploring Sardinia by sea, a trip the hotel can organise for you, and it’s one of the most amazing days I’ve had for such a long time. We drove about 40 minutes to the port in a jeep driven by Gianni, the hotel’s guide, stopping along the way to take images of the postcard worthy landscape views. Then we were straight onto the boat, joined by our driver and tour guide Federico Mula. I love being out at sea at the best of times, but parts of the Sardinian sea is so turquoise it honestly looks like someone has dropped paint into the ocean. We were shown some of the incredible caves and alcoves of the island, one even had an altar inside complete with the Virgin Mary, it was created by fishermen years ago and is still looked after today! We cruised for ages and I never got bored of the views, and we even saw three dolphins jumping through the sea and underwater right in front of our boat. We stopped twice along the way, once at Cala Sisine beach, a secluded pebble beach you can only reach by boat. Here we had time to soak up the sunshine before we had a picnic on the beach, which was brought and prepared by Gianni and we got to taste the tomatoes and lettuce from the hotel vegetable patch!
The second beach we went to in the afternoon is called Cala Luna and is the most famous of the Sardinian beaches, as its featured in many films including Madonna’s Swept Away. It’s also made of sand, although I think I preferred the more secluded Cala Sisine beach.
It was a perfect day, and if you go to the hotel I really recommend you take this trip.
Jewellery making on the Botteghe d’Arte Su Gologone Style® workshops
As I mentioned earlier, the hotel’s owner, Giovanna Palimodde, is an artist and all her designs, branded Su Gologone Style®, are available to buy at the hotel’s Botteghe d’Arte. There’s beautiful crockery and habedashery, as well as jewellery and mosaics created by 4 other Sardinian artisans.
Giovanna has recently exhibited her pieces at an exclusive trunk show in New York called ‘Brushstrokes from Sardinia’, which will also take place on 8 June at 93 Palm in Miami Beach, Al Capone’s former mansion, but they are only for sale at the Hotel Su Gologone. One of the designers has embroiled for the big fashion houses such as Gucci, and her work is so delicate.
We took part in a jewellery making class where I made a bracelet using bronze, a black and bronze gem, and a blue stone that reminds me of my nonna as she left me a pair of earrings of the same stone when she passed away. I absolutely love it especially as I now have a souvenir to remember what was the most incredible trip ever. I’m only sad I didn’t bring an extra suitcase so I could have brought home a whole new crockery set, I guess I’ll have to go back!
A few cultural discoveries:
We learnt a lot about the local customs and traditions through the hotel and through stories Giovanna told us, but my favourite stories involved the chickens. There were sculptures of chickens all around the hotel and Giovanna explained to us over dinner that they were a symbol of luck and fertility. It is traditional for the mother-in-law to present the bride with a real life (and very decorated) chicken on her wedding day in Sardinia, and they even put earrings on the chickens ears! Giovanna also informed us that when you date in Sardinia and you don’t tell anyone at the beginning, and then when your friends find out they make a trail of hay from the girls house to the boys!
I felt so refreshed and calm on leaving, which is amazing given how stressed I was on arriving. I can’t believe I was only there for two days as not only did I feel like I’d been on a retreat, I learnt so much about their incredible and preserved culture in such a short space of time.
I will definitely be going back to Sardinia and more specifically the magical little Sardinian haven that is the Hotel Su Gologone. I can’t recommend it enough as a destination, whether you’re looking for somewhere to go with a friend or a lover (it’s so romantic it made me wish I wasn’t single – sorry Charlotte!). There’s a peaceful tranquility at the hotel like I’ve only ever experienced in Ubud in Bali. I kept saying that if ever I decide to write a book I’m going to go back there and drink wine and eat good food in the sunshine.
Let me know if you have ever stayed at the Hotel Su Gologone, or if it’s now on your bucket list after reading this post. I hope you enjoyed reading this post either way and I managed to convert my passion and do such a magical place justice.
Speak to you soon.