My flight from Naples to Olbia was delayed two hours, and Google maps had estimated the drive from Olbia to Santa Maria Navarrese to be two hours, but it was actually three, so all this meant that I while I had planned to arrive at the Hotel Plammas at 7:00 PM, in perfect time for a nice, relaxing dinner, I wasn't able to arrive until 10:00 PM. Three out of the five hotels I had in Italy on this trip seemed to have "hotel check-in by appointment" instead of full-time desk clerks, so once it got dark in Sardinia and I was driving through an apparently sparsely-population mountain region, I began to worry that by the time I got to my hotel, there would be nobody there to check me in at all.
But I needn't have worried! Strategically-placed signs in town guided me effortlessly to the hotel, there was plenty of street-parking, and when I rushed into the lobby, there were not only TWO people behind the desk, but several other employees running around, as well, so there was certainly no "closing up for the night" feeling about this hotel at all. I had made it!
The woman behind the desk checked me in (I could have hugged her!) and told me that they had a parking lot behind their restaurant, so I moved my rental car, gathered my luggage, and she showed me upstairs to my room. What a nice, spacious, neat-as-a-pin room, and the only one I had in Italy that had a bed that wasn't a miniscule single. This was a double-sized bed, and very comfortable! The room also had a desk, a refrigerator, a TV, and, gloriously, air conditioning, which I had come to depend upon! Also, a beautiful, large private bath! They also had a clever feature I had never seen anywhere before. Attached to your key ring is a pin, something like a black allen wrench except totally straight, that you put into a hole in the panel next to the light switch and it activates, turns on, or connects with the fuse box, thus turning on the electricity in the room. This means that when you leave the room and take your key (pulling the pin out of the hole), all the electricity is shut off. This is a clever saver of electricity, preventing the lights and the air conditioner from being left on, wasting energy. This did not, by the way, harm the coolness of the room; it wasn't necessary to leave the air conditioner on all day, as it cooled the room very quickly and efficiently once you were back in it.
By the way, there were rooms that had balconies at a small extra cost, but I was traveling budget, so I didn't request that, even though I would have loved it. Santa Maria Navarrese was perfect for enjoying the nighttime outdoors. All the balcony rooms faced down the hill toward the sea. My room faced toward the mountain and had a grape arbor with grapes shading the window.
The woman who showed me my room also showed me a listing that gave the breakfast hours. Looking further down on the list were the hours of their restaurant; I don't remember exactly what they were now, but suffice it to say, the listed closing time had passed at least half an hour ago. I said, "Your restaurant is now closed, but is there any kind of food available at all?" I had hoped that maybe at least a sandwich, or something, as it had been a very long day. She said, "As long as there is someone who wants to eat, we will remain open!" I could hardly believe my ears, but absolutely, let's go, let's eat!
We went back downstairs and I picked a table outside on their terrace. It was a glorious summer evening. There were a waiter and two waitresses standing there (all three ended up serving me), and I hoped they wouldn't hate me for making them stay late. But there was no sign of anything like that at all, they were beautiful and friendly and thoroughly professional.
The restaurant serves Sardinian cuisine and specializes in local products--how delicious, and healthy! I knew that Sardinia had fantastic seafood, so I ordered as my main course a large bowl of mussels in a tomato sauce. I considered this to be very special and it sure was wonderful. The house white wine was good and this restaurant followed the pattern I had seen in Italy of wine being served by the portion of a liter (certain numbers of deciliters, I believe) in a marked glass pitcher, if you didn't order a whole bottle. I forget what the measurements are, now, they seem to always come in three choices, with the smallest one being a little less than a "glass" that you get in the United States, so I learned to order the second size, which seems to be about two and a half glasses. I came to enjoy having those pitchers in Italy and it wasn't until I was back home that I realized I should have bought some to have at home.
While I was enjoying my dinner, two different couples came in off the street to have dinner, so I realized that despite the listed hours, this restaurant was used to remaining open later.
I ate breakfast the next morning and even though they have a nice dining room, I chose to eat outside on the terrace where I had had dinner. There were juices, water, and fruit, and any kind of caffe or espresso. There were various kinds of breads and jams (some I think were made there) and other sweet things, and breakfast cereal. It was good and abundant.
The sweet town of Santa Maria Navarrese certainly has quite a few very appealing-looking restaurants, and if I were staying there for more than the three days (I wish!), I would have tried some of the others for dinner, but since I liked the Restaurant Plammas so much, I had dinner there again on my second evening. It was rather popular, but not over-crowded. This time, instead of a seafood main course, I opted for another local meat that I have never eaten before, what they call capra, which is goat. Well, I have had lamb and mutton and really like them; capra, too, was wonderful, tender and juicy, and a very good choice.
On my final day in Sardinia, I had to go to bed before dinner, because I was getting up in time to leave the hotel at 1:00 A.M. I needed to drive the three hours back to Olbia in order to catch a plane to Rome and then back home to Los Angeles. My iPhone alarm woke me up at the right time, I got dressed, gathered my luggage, and quietly snuck down the stairs, not wanting to wake up anybody. However, what should I find downstairs on the terrace, but a table with six people, still partying, with several bottles of wine. I assume they had been there ever since dinner. I thought seeing that was the perfect ending to my stay at the Hotel Plammas in Santa Maria Navarrese, that I regretted having to leave. The enjoyment simply goes on and on, far into the wonderful night.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Plammas is a small, family-run hotel located in Santa Maria Navarrese, a 5-minute walk from the beach. The rooms offer free Wi-Fi, and the restaurant specialises in meat and fish dishes, traditional of the Ogliastra area. The rooms at Hotel Plammas are all air-conditioned and have minibar, TV and en suite bathroom. Some have a balcony with views over the coastline.The restaurant uses the freshest products of produced in the family's farm. Meals are also served outdoors in pleasant weather. Breakfast includes organic food, sweet and savoury. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Plammas Santa Maria Navarrese, Sardinia