You know that first sensation you get when you enter a hotel or a resort, in those first moments? Perhaps they are caused by the elegant decor of the lobby, the friendly smile of a staff member, or the aroma of a fresh bouquet of flowers.
And you begin to relax.
It's that feeling you get after a grueling journey, between rushing to the airport, checking in, boarding and disembarking, waiting for your suitcases at the belt, after all this turbulence, when you finally arrive at your hotel, you are given the key and you float down the hall until you find your much desired room. You open your bags, start planning for your time, wander around to explore the hotel, to understand and begin to orient yourself.
For seven days and seven nights, we were spoiled at Marinedda Hotel and SPA in Isola Rossa in Sardinia. For us, this hotel was not just a refined room in one of the most beautiful parts of Sardinia, with an exquisite outdoor pool or crystal clear beach.
For us it was a feeling.
It was pure happiness "seasoned" with delicious relaxation and comfort. It was meeting our needs before we even knew what we needed, it was the genuine attention from every single staff member. It was the meticulous attention to every detail, from the exquisite meals to the romantic setting, it was when every evening I returned to my room with the huge windows, illuminated by the moon and overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.
But let's take a small step back. Summer 2020 is coming: we have all been going out for 3 heavy and difficult months due to Covid-19, who does not want to leave everything behind and leave for a holiday of sea, sun, beach and relaxation?
We left without a timetable: I wanted to bask in the sun, good food, nature, to be able to do some excursions without hurrying too much and lastly, but those who know me know that it is very important, all in a refined and peaceful environment.
Having never been there, I thought that Sardinia was for us: in this splendid island there is history, a hinterland rich in traditions, a crystalline sea with spectacular beaches and coves, and lastly my beloved Mediterranean scrub with yellow broom, the blue of rosemary flowers and the scent of wild myrtle.
Wanting to spend a week of relaxation, the choice of the hotel must be made very meticulously as it will be our Home away from Home for the whole week. But this time the choice will also have to take into account our safety and that of our nephew.
When I saw the pictures of the Marinedda Thalasso & SPA in Isola Rossa I realized that my exhausting search was over: without a doubt this hotel was just what I was looking for.
Arrival at the hotel
After a long transfer that gave us incredible views at every bend, the car stops in front of the hotel reception, our luggage is taken over by an attendant in order to be sanitized and then delivered directly to the room.
We are greeted by smiling eyes, highlighted by the masks.
The reception is unusually empty and quiet. The restrictions due to the pandemic have made the atmosphere almost supernatural: there are no people coming and going, you can't hear the laughter of children playing, or the chatter of couples of friends having an aperitif.
But there is one thing that restrictions cannot take away: the breathtaking panorama that can be seen from the terrace.
Once the check-in formalities have been completed, we are accompanied to the suite; the first thing that strikes me about our room are the large windows and the terrace from where, given the time, you can see a spectacular sunset. We quickly unpack, we give ourselves a quick freshen up and it is now time for dinner, postponing the exploration of the hotel to the next day.
Il Marinedda Thalasso & SPA it has an incredible position set on a gentle promontory and immersed in the luxuriant Mediterranean scrub.
Its location overlooks the Gulf of Asinara, on the north-west coast of Sardinia also known as Costa Rossa due to the color of the porphyry formations.
The hotel integrates perfectly with nature, the rooms, suites, swimming pools and restaurants are almost hidden by the vegetation that extends towards the sea, facing the homonymous bay and the rock Punta Li Canneddi.
The hotel is located near the village of Isola Rossa, a small fishing village that during the summer comes alive with cheerful vacationers in the compact alleys and tourist boats that come and go from the small harbor. Although at first glance Isola Rossa might seem blatantly touristy, in reality it is one of the few places in Sardinia to have kept its original essence.
rooms and suites they are located in two-storey villas, scattered throughout the hotel and perfectly integrated into the surrounding natural environment.
Our sea view suite is spacious and comfortable, furnished in a warm and traditional Mediterranean style that recalls the typical simplicity of the island with chestnut beams, wrought iron details, fine fabrics and local marbles.
The living room is large, the sea view terrace is furnished and the bathroom is spacious and functional.
There are all the comforts such as WiFI, 2 flat screen TVs, hairdryer, air conditioning, safe, minibar as well as everything you need for coffee and tea.
Everything is perfect, but for me the highlight is definitely The terrace.
Immersion in the embrace of the wild nature of Sardinia is guaranteed: from here the view sweeps from the rippling surface of the bay, to the green of the bushes, to the red of the granite to the deep blue of the horizon. A landscape that changes colors, sounds and scents with the changing seasons, but which somehow remains unchanging, suspended in time.
I will never forget the evenings after dinner, when I curled up on the deck chair to look at the night immersed in silence, and where in the morning, I sipped a freshly brewed coffee, admiring the pastel colors of dawn when the sun gives life to a new day.
During our stay at the Marinedda, I must say that we did not feel penalized at all as regards meals and restaurants due to the restrictions imposed for Covid-19. Everything is managed perfectly: distances between the tables, waiters with masks, sanitization for each use.
The QR code was a quick and very practical way to consult the various menus of the restaurants and bars, thus avoiding having to consult the paper menus.
The Marinedda offers 5 different restaurants, each with different proposals. Unfortunately, due to COVID, not all of them were open, below you will find the ones we have tried firsthand.
ATTENTION: in the Marinedda restaurants they are also offered every day dishes for celiacs.
La assisted buffet breakfast it is served by the pool, which is located just below the reception, and is managed in an excellent way without ever creating queues or inconveniences. The breakfast is rich with a wide choice of sweet and savory.
It is practically impossible not to find something that will satisfy even the most difficult palates. I would like to send a special greeting to the very nice director who every morning between a smile and a joke I served the apple puff pastry !!!
Piazzetta Punta Caneddi restaurant
For lunch we went to the panoramic restaurant Punta Canneddi which in addition to a breathtaking view serves exquisite dishes.
The à la carte menu has a wide choice of appetizers, salads and cold cuts, first courses that were impossible to resist, quality second courses and finally a dessert or a cut of fruit.
The chef makes his talent available, proposing two new culinary ideas every day to promote Sardinian cuisine combined with the right innovation that makes a dish like the Calamarata flavored with basil, the spianata with local raw ham and different dishes based on fresh fish of the day.
In the evening, the restaurant offers an assisted buffet menu (it's a buffet but instead of serving you they serve you), perfect for those looking for a less formal evening. We went there one evening and we were happy with it. The chefs offer both traditional Sardinian and international dishes.
The restaurant also offers dishes for the boys: Lorenzo threw a real burger feast!
For those who love being on the beach all day, it is possible to have lunch at the snack bar of the beach where quick dishes are prepared, but no less tasty or less well cared for.
"Il Tramonto" restaurant
What about the Il Tramonto restaurant with a la carte service? In addition to the excellent cuisine and the high quality of the services, it offers a breathtaking view of the bay and a sunset in which the gaze is lost among the intense and enveloping chromatic shades, from ocher to fiery red.
Tasting tasty dishes while the sun slowly disappears into the sea is unparalleled.
Lo Chief Ramon offers expertly elaborated Mediterranean cuisine such as tuna squid, orecchiette with pesto or lamb chops.
The dining room staff is always ready to meet the different needs of guests and to dispense advice on the choice of wine or dishes.
Beach and swimming pools
La La Marinedda beach, located right in front of the hotel, was recently elected by the magazine Bell'Italia as one of the ten "paradises of sand and water in Sardinia where it is worth diving in at least once in a lifetime".
As a Ligurian, I must admit that it is difficult to talk about the sea. Or rather, in this case it would be easy to describe the bay of fine sand with fairly shallow waters, ideal for everyone even for the little ones, and the color of the water that changes into a thousand shades of blue, from turquoise to emerald green. depending on the seabed and the weather.
The fact is that the sea is a bit like us, that is, it changes according to its mood. There are days when he is angry and battered by the mistral and turns a deep blue and slightly rippled, other days he transforms into an emerald pool, other days when he is scary when the big waves pound hard on the cliff breaking in silver spray .
The sea must be lived, not told. And everything has already been said about the Sardinian sea: we all know its wonder, so words are even more superfluous, indeed they would not do it justice.
Having said that, a peculiarity of this beach are the many balls of egagropilo which are formed from the remains of the Posidonia. These balls, which are of plant origin, should not be removed as they help defend the beaches from wave erosion.
If like us you love to walk here you can discover beautiful sandy coves hidden among the rocks that line the two sides of the beach.
Like all beaches in Sardinia, this is also free but it is possible to rent umbrellas and sunbeds in the reserved area of the hotel. The descent to the beach is a pleasant walk of about 10 minutes, but if you prefer to avoid the heat you can take advantage of the shuttle service which is available free of charge for both the outward and return journeys.
As soon as we arrived at the beach, we were greeted by the smiles of the boys who kindly accompanied us to our umbrella. In this area there is also a small bar where you can have a coffee or drink something fresh, and for those who like to stay on the beach as much as possible, have lunch at noon.
There are also changing cabins and showers to cool off and clean up from salt and sand.
We have always felt safe and at ease for the attention to the sanitation of the bathrooms, common areas and beds, as well as for the distancing regularly held in an unusual context.
For those who love to stay in the pool there are 2 possibilities: one in the main body of the hotel, with fresh water and another, not far from the beach, with sea water. Both equipped with sun beds and bar service.
If you like us like to keep fit even while you are on holiday in the Marinedda gym you will find everything you need.
The gym is free but, at this time due to the provisions for COVID-19, it is only accessible at set times and by reservation.
The Marinedda, in addition to the gym, offers its guests illuminated tennis and soccer fields, mini basketball, archery and trekking routes. The only requirement is the desire to play sports !!!
For your children?
The Marinedda certainly could not miss an area dedicated to children and teenagers.
A free mini / junior club is available for children aged 4 to under 12, open 6 days a week from 09:30 to 13:00 and from 15:30 to 18:30.
In this club many activities are organized in order to keep children and teenagers busy, such as group lessons of tennis, soccer, mini basketball and archery. All this while parents can safely relax and enjoy their holiday, leaving their children and teenagers in expert and safe hands for a few hours.
Obviously, all the provisions relating to COVID-19 are respected.
The Elicriso Thalasso & SPA center
I don't know about you but there is nothing more beautiful, when I'm on vacation, than being pampered at the SPA. And the Thalasso Center & SPA L'Elicriso it turned out to be beyond my expectations.
In this center you will find highly qualified staff and therapists, and it is one of the most prestigious in the Mediterranean basin, a real wellness oasis of 2500 square meters specialized in thalassotherapy.
Here you will find 4 seawater pools heated to different temperatures, a rich variety of Thalasso programs, massages, beauty treatments and a cardio-fitness room for aerobic and holistic disciplines.
For couples looking for tranquility and privacy, splendid Elicriso Executive Suites are available, equipped with a terrace with a private Thalasso pool with heated sea water and hydromassage.
The SPA is at an additional cost but I assure you that it is really worth going there.
What to see around the Marinedda
Unfortunately, due to the restrictions due to Covid-19, the excursions that are usually offered by the Marinedda this summer were reduced, but this did not prevent us from visiting some places in the surrounding area and going on a boat trip in search of beaches and of the most hidden coves of Sardinia.
La position of the Marinedda, being very close to the village of Isola Rossa, a cute fishing village where we used to go for a coffee every morning, has small craft shops and a marina from which it is possible to set sail to discover enchanting places such asMaddalena archipelago, the south of the Corsica and north coast of Gallura.
Do not miss the Spanish tower which probably dates back to 1500 from where you can admire the most beautiful beaches of Isola Rossa.
The walk along one of the most famous beaches of Isola Rossa, namely the Longa beach which is located between the cliffs of Li Becchi Russi and Belvedere.
For those who love to venture inland, it is possible to book theEtnotour of Gallura is the perfect opportunity to discover enchanting villages such as Aggius, il Tempio and the famous Valley of the Moon.
Costa Paradiso where there are many beaches of fine sand and a transparent and emerald green sea, some of which are framed by red porphyry rocks.
Castelsardo it is about 30 minutes from Marinedda and one morning we had a taxi booked that took us to the foot of this magnificent village.
The village lies on a promontory that creeps into the Gulf of Asinara, and has medieval origins, rich in architectural beauties and splendid inlet.
I must say that the climb up to the castle is quite tough but once you get to the castle the wonderful view of the Gulf, the port and, on clear days, the Corsican mountains will reward you for the effort.
Stroll slowly through its alleys, lingering in Piazza Duomo, which overlooks the sea, you cannot help but fall in love with this magnificent village.
Practical information: How to get to Marinedda and Isola Rossa
THEHotel 5 stelle Marinedda it is easily reachable both from the Olbia-Costa Smeralda international airport (about 80 km) and from the Alghero-Fertilia airport (about 95 km).
The ports of Santa Teresa di Gallura and Porto Torres are a short drive away (about 40 min)
Take the SS 127 for Tempio Pausania and turn at the crossroads for Aggius / Trinità d'Agultu. Take the crossroads for Isola Rossa (km 80).
From Porto Torres
Take the SS 200 for Santa Teresa Gallura and turn at the crossroads for Isola Rossa (Km 60).
Take the SS 291 for Sassari and turn onto the SP 42. Then take the SP 34 for Porto Torres and then the SP 81 for Castelsardo. Turn into the SS 200 for Santa Teresa Gallura at the crossroads for Isola Rossa (Km 95).
Our stay at the Marinedda Thalasso & SPA was relaxing and rewarding from all points of view. We felt pampered throughout the holiday, its location is nothing short of superb immersed in the Mediterranean scrub where the scent of wild myrtle reigns.
The food is always delicious and varied, our elegant and refined suite with an incredible sea view, the beach with the shades of the sea, the swimming pools to relax in, the cleanliness of the common areas and the attention to detail.
I am honest I was a little worried about the Covid-19 problem but from the first moment I realized the rigor with which all the rules were applied to protect guests and employees. Everyone wore masks, distances respected everywhere both at the restaurants and at the beach and swimming pool, sanctification at each one of the tables and rooms.
We will never forget our dinners accompanied every evening by an incredible sunset that first sets the sky on fire and then slowly sinks into the sea. I will miss the awakenings at dawn to capture the sunrise, our walks in the avenues surrounded by greenery, the turquoise and crystalline sea and not secondary, the kindness and professionalism of all the staff.
Disclaimer: our stay at Marinedda was not free, the stay was duly paid for. Our opinions are honest and sincere.
I thank everyone, without exception, because you have been fantastic in making our vacation unforgettable despite the restrictions imposed for Covid-19.
Congratulations to the omnipresent director Alessandro, one of a kind, always smiling and welcoming.