First impressions are everything. First impressions have the power to transform a travel experience from one of uncertainty to one of calm, one of nervous excitement to one of gleeful anticipation. And of course, the right hotel is able to set the tone for an entire vacation, to define a destination and make it yours.
So it was when I arrived at the Villa del Golfo Lifestyle Resort, a family-run property in Gallura, a subregion of northern Sardinia. This was my first visit to Sardinia, Italy’s second-largest island and a destination that was at the top of my long Italy wish list. My first Sardinian hotel, the Villa del Golfo, made me feel at home from the moment I arrived.
Villa del Golfo Lifestyle Resort invited me to stay at their hotel. All opinions are 100% mine.
Set on a terraced hillside overlooking the Golfo di Arzachena and the Bay of Cannigione, just 20 minutes from the heart of the Costa Smeralda, the Villa del Golfo Lifestyle Resort is a collection of rooms and suites that blend into the landscape and native structures in such a way that I was surprised when my ride from the airport told me that we had arrived.
The circular drive of the covered entrance was hidden behind a bushy myrtle tree and creeping ivy, a small sign on the lawn whispered, rather than shouted, the name of the resort.
The reception area was equally discreet. It wasn’t until after I had picked up my room key and walked up the stairs to the first level of the hotel that I realized that Villa del Golfo is an excellent example of unexpected luxury.
Luxurious Rooms and Details
My first glimpse of Villa del Golfo was the saltwater pool, the centerpiece of the hotel’s communal area where I would return many times during my stay to write, lounge, or sunbathe. The aquamarine water makes for a rather evocative backdrop to meals and drinks, particularly at night when the pool is illuminated.
I really enjoyed the chill, communal vibe of the pool area, which was a few steps away from my Charming room. But many guests who come to Villa del Golfo splash out for one of the hotel’s Superior or Luxury suites, which come with their own pools.
These secluded hideaways are located further up the hill from the main area of the hotel and are treated to daily private breakfast and concierge services. Villa del Golfo provides swift transportation by golf cart for those who would dare leave these cozy confines.
Want even more private luxury? Check out the Stazzo Le Saline, Villa del Golfo’s private luxury villa.
Farm Fresh Food
Whenever you stay in Italy, you know that you are going to eat well. And this was immediately apparent at Villa del Golfo, which put out one of the most incredible breakfast spreads I have ever seen.
But the focus on food did not stop at breakfast, nor did it stop at the property line of the resort. In addition to MiraLuna, the on-site restaurant, Villa del Golfo owns several restaurants in the town of Cannigione, including Cutter Lounge and Restaurant, a casual pizza restaurant; and La Colti Farmhouse, where diners can feast on “km zero” cooking, aka food that is grown and made at the farmhouse or very close by.
In addition to serving up hearty Sardinian suppers, La Colti Farmhouse is also the site of fun cooking class, one of several activities offered by Villa del Golfo.
We met with the delightful Chef Prisca Serra, who taught us how to make fresh pasta and a few other Sardinian delights using the dough we had already made and kneaded. The cooking class was fueled by Prisca’s good humor and, afterward, by generous pours of Prosecco.
Yet another activity on offer by Villa del Golfo is a sailing trip on the resort’s private yacht. Captain Andy and his assistant Monica took us out on the yacht Bonaria to get closer looks at the coves, crags, and beaches of the Archipelago della Maddalena.
This is why people come to Sardinia: the blue-green water framed by islet after rocky islet. You really haven’t seen Sardinia until you have seen it from a boat. And I was extremely grateful that the hotel took the guesswork out of booking this sailing experience.
I would recommend making a reservation for the Bonaria yacht as soon as you can as it is one of the most sought-after activities that they offer.
Conclusion: A Resort That Is Its Own Little Village
While Villa del Golfo’s realm seemed to take up the entirety of this seaside town — hotel, farmhouse, pizza restaurant, a yacht at the marina — it didn’t leave me with the isolated feeling that so many other branded properties do. The resort encouraged guests to explore the village and island around them while still offering several places to relax. In addition to the hotel pools, the resort has a private sea deck where guests can sunbathe and it provides transport to Barca Bruciata, a local beach.
There weren’t any children at the hotel while I was staying there, though children aged 10 and up are welcome. I know my kids would have enjoyed the amenities and the yacht excursion, but I couldn’t help but think that I would have been urging them to keep quiet had we stayed there as a family. Villa del Golfo was friendly and sophisticated, the kind of place where if you paused for a moment, you could hear the movements of sails and masts in the distance.
Book Your Stay
You can make reservations at Villa del Golfo Lifestyle Resort directly on the hotel’s website.
Disclosure: I was invited to stay at the hotel mentioned in this post and was provided with free lodging and meals. Opinions expressed here are my own.
Last Updated: May 4, 2021