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Hotel Club Saraceno 3.5

Arbatax, Tortoli, Province of Ogliastra

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Great location for nature-lovers, with lots of trails nearby
  • Private beach is located right on the property and has lovely sand 
  • Each rooms is allocated two sun loungers and an umbrella at the beach 
  • Charming rooms with flat-screen TVs, furnished outdoor spaces, and bidets
  • Food, especially at breakfast, is generally pretty good 
  • Large pool with diving board and surrounded by shaded loungers
  • Free group lessons for sailing, windsurfing, canoeing and tennis
  • Mini-clubs, pools, and entertainment for kids
  • Fitness options include a fairly well-equipped gym and exercise classes 
  • Beaches and archaeological sites are within driving distance 
  • Parking is available for free on-site 

Cons

  • Not a lot to do in the nearby village 
  • Some small fees can be annoying: tennis racquet rentals and pool towels
  • Bathrooms have small showers stalls only 
  • Fine-dining restaurant is only open during July and August 
  • Relatively early check-out time compared to area hotels
  • Wi-Fi is only available for a fee after the first four hours 

Bottom Line

The upper-middle-range Hotel Club Saraceno is located in a quiet area of Sardinia, near a village and right on a sandy private beach. Both the hotel and the area offer quite a bit for nature-lovers, thanks to free group sailing, tennis, and canoeing lessons, plus more beaches and archaeological sites within a short driving distance. The 139 simple rooms are decorated in typical Sardinian style and have flat-screen TVs, mini-fridges, and outdoor spaces. The all-inclusive packages are popular, but there are a few random charges -- Wi-Fi, tennis racquets, beach towels -- that pop up. The food is generally good quality. Overall, the hotel is a good choice for large groups and families, offering ample activities and programming available for kids. Couples wanting something more romantic might prefer the La Villa del Rey, which is far more sophisticated.

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Scene

Traditionally decorated, family-friendly hotel laid out like a village. 

A resort-like property, the Hotel Club Saraceno is primarily popular with Italian families and large groups, thanks to the array of activities on offer. Rather than being organized around a central location, it's spread out like a village, with some buildings quite close to the beach, and well-kept gardens with local plants dotting the paved and wooden pathways between units. From the lobby to the rooms, the hotel is decorated in the traditional Sardinian style of terra-cotta floors, wicker furniture, cream walls, light-blue accents, and wood-beam ceilings. Aside from entertainment led by the animation team in the summer, and some background music, the atmosphere is generally quiet and relaxed.

Location

Set in a quiet village, with mostly nature-centric activities available. 

The hotel is located off a quiet side street about a 10- to 15-minute walk into Arbatax. The village is small and spread out (residential areas tend to dominate most of the walk), but it has a few spots to eat, including a pizzeria, Italian restaurant, and gelateria. The hotel is also in a great spot for nature-lovers: wildlife is abundant in the Ogliastra region, as well as hiking, mountain biking, surfing, rock climbing, and horseback riding along the beaches. The Tower of San Gemiliano, which dates from the Middle Ages and offers gorgeous views from the top, is an eight-minute walk away, and the beautiful Red Rocks are about 20 minutes away by car. Two more beaches are also close by: Tortoli and Arbatax are both reachable in 10 minutes by car, or the hotel has a taxi boat that leaves from its beach.

Rooms

Rooms all have furnished patios or balconies; those with sea views are worth the upgrade. 

Rooms keep the traditional theme going, with terra-cotta floors, beamed ceilings, white wooden furniture, and pastel-blue quilts. Nautical paintings accent the walls. All Basic and Standard Rooms are on the ground floor, and each has a shaded furnished patio (the latter look out over the garden). Superior Rooms are one level up and have views over San Gemiliano Bay from the furnished balconies (you can even hear the waves at night from some of these units). Family Rooms, conveniently, are connecting bedrooms -- one for the kids -- and can accommodate four to five people. 

All rooms have air-conditioning, a 32-inch flat-screen TV, mini-fridge, and safe. Handily, there's also a drying rack in each room, and housekeeping comes around daily. Bathrooms, which are all-white except for the terra-cotta floors, all come with small stall showers, hairdryers, and toiletries. 

Checkout, somewhat oddly, is rather early (10 a.m. during our visit) compared to other hotels with late-morning checkouts. 

Features

The beach is great and food is generally good, but hidden costs can get annoying. 

The beach, which is really well-maintained, is almost immediately on the property: A three-minute walk will get guests to the sandy private beach, on the larger shores of San Gemiliano Bay. There' are free group lessons (tennis, canoeing, sailing, and windsurfing -- all available for older kids, too), plus a beach bar, volleyball, and boat rentals. Guests will need to rent towels, which can get expensive, but one perk is that each room is allocated two sun loungers and an umbrella at the beach, so there aren't any worries about getting a spot. The hotel has its own diving center and provides transfers by boat to the dive site. Scuba diving classes are available, including a junior version for kids. 

There are a few board options available, from just breakfast to all-inclusive meals and drinks. Food is generally pretty good across the board, though there's not a ton of variety. Breakfasts, which have more of a selection, can be eaten on a gorgeous terrace that overlooks the beach. Lunch and dinner are also buffet-style and consist of local and international specialities. Mineral water, wine (reportedly very light), and some soft drinks included. There are also two a la carte options: Piazzeta Bar, for casual lunches and drinks, as well as the fine-dining restaurant, Restaurant Le Vele, which is only open in July and August and serves chef's menus. The latter is adult-only, but the animation staff will watch the kids.

Fitness-wise, there's a fairly well-equipped gym, two tennis courts (charges for racquets), plus a rotating schedule of classes that take place in the hotel's little piazza and aqua aerobics in the pool each day. Kids can hang out in the mini-club (4 to 12 years old), which is open in the mornings. A kids' swimming pool and evening entertainment catering toward them are also provided. Evening entertainment is programmed for adults as well (cabaret, night sports, card tournaments), though it's not as good. 

There's Wi-Fi is available throughout the property, though it's not free beyond the first four hours. Parking on-site is free.  

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Address

Loc San Gemiliano, Arbatax, Tortoli 08048, Italy

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