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In the heart of Sardinia, surrounded by ancient olive groves and vineyards, enveloped by the aromatic smells of rosemary, myrtle and bougainvillea, stands Su Gologone Experience Hotel, with its time-honoured walls and legendary hospitality. Originally a favourite local restaurant serving quality traditional dishes, Su Gologone became too irresistible to its patrons to the extent that guest rooms were added and the hotel was born.
Each room here encapsulates Sardinian tradition from the juniper wood beams right down to the authentic shepherding fabrics and white-washed walls with periwinkle inlays (the very same blue used to dye the traditional costumes of Oliena no less). The Art Suites are individually dedicated to iconic 20th century Sardinian artists, including sculptor Francesco Ciusa, with some featuring fireplaces, four poster beds and large terraces. The single Art Studio Suite used to be Giovanna's atelier, and is the perfect retreat for aspiring artists. This suite offers guests an outdoor double bathtub, verandah, private rose garden, butler service and artists equipment, and all just steps from the swimming pool.
The hotel was built up around the existing restaurant serving up fresh homemade pastas and lip-smacking roast meats on a hundred-year-old open fire - and these origins have certainly not been forgotten. Instead, what was once reserved for special occasions can now be enjoyed day-in day-out. Days at Su Gologone start with a no carbon footprint breakfast including Oliena honey, conserves, cheeses and charcuterie with breads and sweets fresh from the oven. Naturally they end with equally delicious seasonal dinners. If you ever encounter these rich aromas again they will take you back to long evenings on a Sardinian terrace with friends enjoying succulent porceddu allo spiedo (spit-roasted suckling piglet) and seadas al miele (honey fritters), glass of wine in hand. Guests can even take a wander through the herb garden, and select some infusions for dinner that evening.
You won't be stuck for activities at Su Gologone which offers guests a spring water swimming pool, tennis court, minigolf course, playground and fitness suite. Lack of time certainly won't be an excuse for those of you who fancy a paddle in a canoe, or a horse ride across the Barbagia landscape. There is plenty for the artistic types too, with classes in embroidery, sewing, pottery and painting. Alternatively, sit back with a good book in the Jacuzzi among the olive trees, sip a sunset glass of Champagne at the Tablao Sunset bar, find your zen with Yoga and Reiki classes, or completely switch off in the spa.
Once revitalised, you may have trouble deciding which of the many nearby wonders to visit first: a choice of ancient archaeological sites, the viticultural town of Dorgali, the dramatic stalagmites and stalactites of the Ispinigoli caves, the beach at Cala Cartoe, the astonishing Gorruppu gorge, the typical Sardinian seaside town of Cala Gonone… the list is neverending.
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Harriet and Kate L are our 'Su Gologone' experts and as seasoned travellers they have the inside track on the most memorable adventures.