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“Slightly disappointing - and expensive”

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Hotel Capo D'Orso Thalasso & Spa
Ranked #1 of 17 Hotels in Palau
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed June 9, 2013

We are just back from the Hotel Capo D'Orso, having stayed there Sunday 2nd June to Friday 7th June.

First of all the positives - the Hotel is in a fairly secluded location, a 45 min drive from Olbia and has great views/scenery. It is close to the town of Palau (5 mins drive, c 2 miles). The suite we stayed in was of a good size, air conditioned and well maintained by the staff. The hotel has its own private beach situated in a small cove, with sunbeds provided. There are two other pools. And there are three restaurants (the main hotel one, a seafood restaurant and a pizzeria) plus a terrace bar which serves drinks and 'snacks' (sandwiches, burgers etc). So a good choice.

So why the disappointment? Well, on arrival at Sunday lunchtime the room was still being prepped so we headed to the terrace bar for a drink and snack. And boy was it expensive! Glass of lemonade €5, a 33cl bottle of Nastro Azzuro beer €7 (no draught beer available) and €10 for a glass of wine. The 'snacks' menu was equally pricey, the standout being €25 for a burger/cheeseburger (i'd love to hear from anyone who tried this - I didn't!.

It then transpired that the Pizzeria and Seafood restaurant were closed that week (we did not know this at the time of booking) so our main dining options were either the main hotel restaurant or try elsewhere. We ate in on two of the nights and the food was very good. The four course set menu with choice of 3 dishes per course was c€50 per person, excluding wine. There is a separate a la carte menu.

Unfortunately our suite was well occupied by the local ant population when we were given access to it but the staff did eradicate this problem after the first night and there were no further problems on the insect front. I must say all the staff were very friendly and helpful throughout.

I have some other observations which may be of assistance. The hotel is built on the side of a hill from the beach up to the car park (you drop your car off near reception on arrival, its then taken to a space higher up). As far as I could determine there are no bedrooms in the main reception building - they are all on different levels 'above' this building, so you spend a lot of time walking up and downhill on cobbled paths. As such, the layout and facilities are not kind to disabled persons or anyone with hip or knee problems (my honest opinion).

The pools are quite small and if the hotel was fully booked, space around them could be a problem. The beach was lovely but be aware that there are no parasols to protect users from the sun. The sun beds to have a 'hood' that will protect your face but not much else. The sea was quite warm and there are schools of tiny fish near to shore that will not bother you. However, jelly fish could be a problem - a stronger current on the Thursday brought loads in to the bay but no one was warning the guests about this, so families with young children please be aware. We also encountered similar at the beach at Santa Teresa.

Disappointed by the limited eating options forced us to drive elsewhere for lunch and dinner, but in some respects that was a blessing as we saw other parts of the Island. Santa Teresa was lovely, Palau was pleasant but difficult to get parking near the centre and Porto Cervo is also well worth a visit. Its a lovely coastal drive from the hotel and for a restaurant/pizzeria with a view, i'd recommend breaking your journey at 'la vecchia lampara' Cannigione which was literally on the beach. A really lovely spot, good food and very good value.

So all in all, a slightly disappointing venue for me, for the reasons given above. In general terms it seems to me that having a 4 or 5 star means hotels think they have a licence to charge excessive prices for food and drink - it may be the accepted 'norm' but that does not mean its right.

Finally, if you are going to Campo D'orso i'd definitely recommend a car hire rather than airport transfer. It just gives you more options than staying solely within the complex. We had a Fiat 500 which was ideal for the roads (which were in excellent order) but watch out for the local drivers - the national speed limit appeared to be 50kmh but they will pass you at any opportunity! Fortunately as you move further away from the towns the main roads are very quiet. And take a tom-tom/sat nav - it makes life so much easier!

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Probbo26
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed June 3, 2013

We had an excellent vacation at the Capo D'orso. The setting is idyllic and the service is faultless. The staff were kind, friendly and keen to help at all times. The bedrooms are most comfortable, clean and tastefully furnished. The views are magical. The Hotel even went to great lengths to ensure that musical entertainment in the evenings was of top quality.

Room Tip: If you can push to one of the Suites it is really worth doing so
  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank martinBathBa15sg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 12, 2013

Sardinia is Italy with just a touch of attitude, beautiful, a little wild and spirited. Which is what makes it different and compelling. One of the inspired decisions by the island's long-standing investors such as the Agha Khan made some years ago was to avoid plastering the place with high rise, concrete slabs, fish and chip shops and ocean-sized marinas and, in the process, being overrun by the "costa" effect (not the coffee chain) including unsavoury ex-residents at Her Majesty pleasure. Unlike their Spanish neighbours who have taken a heavenly coastline and turned much of it into disaster area.

Of course this comes at a price. Sardinia is expensive, very expensive and sometimes silly expensive. But there are some lovely properties which set off the Mediterranean at it's sparkling best.

The Capo D'Orso is such a property, set discreetly across quiet a few acres on the edge of the emerald sea with sweeping views across a stretch of regatta-filled waters. The standard rooms are pinched and pricey. The cardinal suites are roomy and comfortable. And pricey. But they are spacious and light. The staff are charming, solicitous and helpful. I like the way sun-loungers are casually spread throughout the property under casuarina and olive trees. The platforms which jut out into the sea inspired. This easy, relaxed feel is reflected in the simple courtesy and charm of its eager-to-please staff. It's a little spartan and has the slight feel of a nice maiden aunt in her fraying Sunday best but if you're not after uber-luxury and fuss that's a plus.

Where I beg to differ with many reviewers is the food. The standard menu is what I'd describe as sanitised Euronosh, an inoffensive mish mash of dishes, including Italian, aimed to please the hotel's cosmopolitan clientele, a growing number of whom are Russians. It has the feel of a half-board eatery, not a great, let alone refined trattoria.

The off-site pizzeria is mediocre and the adjoining restaurant nothing to write home about. Which is a shame. It doesn't, as many hotels in the interior do, provide Sardo (Sardinian) classics. Sardinians are proud of their independence from Rome and this is reflected in their character and their food which has a distinctive, rural and typically robust flavour. This omission is especially noticeable because Palau, the nearest fishing and ferry port is a little threadbare and has few really good restaurants and none of the bustling charm of La Madellena island, a short boat ride away so going out for a meal is hit and miss.

Parking can a problem at the hotel which is unnecessary because they do have the space too much of which are given over to their villa rentals.

Still for for a relaxed break at a nicely laid-out hotel in a lovely location with helpful staff, wonderful views and understated elegance which does not succumb to the bling of much of the Costa Smeralda and Porto Cervo it's a good choice - at a price.

Room Tip: Cardinal suites are the ones to go for
  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Slowflyer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 4, 2012

Ok, so some qualifications.
We stayed during their last week of the season, the place was close to empty.
Large, cliched, over priced resorts are just not my thing.
Technically, it is a lovely place. The staff also did try very hard to ensure our stay was comfortable.
However, it was missing something. Maybe it was the fact that everything was closed, maybe it was the five waiters had nothing to do but serve us (I really don't need my water glass filled at every sip), maybe it was the nervous trainee spa staff who were afraid to actually massage us, maybe it was the 900 euro or so that disappeared from my credit card over two days, that made me expect so much more.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank paulchadder
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 28, 2012

Visited last year so a bit late with this review . Capo D'orso is in a beautiful setting , resort spread out amongst attractive fragrant gardens. The main pool is small , however there is a much nicer one at the spa . There are lots of sunbathing spots scattered throughout the gardens and by the sea . There are two small sandy beaches , one near the hotel entrance and one a short walk along a coastal footpath , we only went to the latter , it was beautiful but no facilities and the sea is crystal clear but very cold ! We stayed in a lovely junior suite , the room was very spacious with large bathroom , netted bed and sitting area . There was a small private garden with terrace at the front but it was a bit scruffy and in shade for most of the day due to a rather overgrown tree .

The main restaurant has panoramic sea views . Sometimes the food was great , sometimes not so good . The staff were all very friendly and helpful . Breakfast was very good although there was sometimes quite a wait for cooked eggs from the outdoor hot food kitchen.

As the hotel is quite isolated with only other holiday complexes surrounding it you really do need a car .We drove into Palau a few times for provisions , from there we caught a ferry to the Maddelena Islands - about a 50 min trip and a good trip for lunch out . Santa Teresa is also a pleasant little town and from there we caught a ferry for a day trip to Bonifacio in Corsica which is highly recommended .

Sardinia is quite expensive in general , particularly in the resort of Porto Cervo where we paid 18 pounds for 2 coffees !

  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank jodinotts
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 2, 2012

We returned to Hotel Capo D'Orso after visiting last year so knew what to expect. We had a relaxing week soaking up the sun and enjoying the lovely food and wine. The service in all the restaurants is very good but we ate most evenings at the restaurant overlooking the harbour as the atmosphere is nice and the staff most helpful. We wanted a pasta dish as a change on one evening and the chef would cook anything requested even if it wasnt on the menu.

The rooms are typical Sardinia style so not flashy but all are clean and comfortable. We had 2 suites as we took our older children and both suites overlooked the bay so the views were great.

We will probably return to Capo D' Orso again as it is a lovely place to relax or a good base to travel and see Sardinia.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank lovemyflipflops
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 29, 2012

We stayed here from 21-28 august 2012. Temperature recorded 34c consistently. The facilities are excellent. We arrived at midnight. The receptionist led us to our junior executive suite and proceeded to park our car and bring our cases, then showed us where everything was in the suite.

The air conditioning was effective if not a bit noisy and gave us a comfortable sleep every night in the super king size bed.

The pools are salt water, the sun beds are never fought over as there are plenty to go round and scattered in secluded areas for privacy. The hotel's own beach is fantastic with pretty views, soft manicured sand. The water is stone free.

The staff are attentive at dinner. If you are on half board you can take your meal at lunch time if you wish to go out in the evening to Palau, just let them know in the morning. The food is nicely presented. If you are a foodie, you may not score it at the high end of your experience but it is still very good and the experience is fantastic. The wine will vary from 30 euro upwards but is excellent. Water is 5 euro for a litre bottle.

You will definitely benefit from hiring a car as there is much to see around within a 20 mile radius. I can highly recommend Santa teresa, Baia Sardegna and if you fly into Alghero get back to the airport with enough time to see the old town of Alghero, it is absolutely stunning.

One note of caution. As they never ask you to sign anything, it can lead to mistakes which i'm sure are honest ones. Check your final bill as we had a 94 euro charge for a lunch which we had swapped for our evening meal and as such should have been no charge. It would have been an honest clerical error but check your bill carefully.

We saw from our room (No.815) dolphins swimming early in the morning so you may be fortunate. Take binoculors it will be well worth it.

Some have commented on the cost. I would agree that you need to be in one of the better rooms to fully appreciate this stunning venue, but I would say if you need to count the cost it would probably be best not to come here as it may frighten those with a fixed budget.

We would definitely come back as it has been the first holiday where I can give absolutely no negative scores and it was a total chillax from start to finish.

Room Tip: the rooms odd numbered from 801 upwards have a stunning sea view.
  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank Paul H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Capo D'Orso Thalasso & Spa

Address: Loc Cala Capra, 07020, Palau, Sardinia, Italy
Phone Number:
Location: Italy > Sardinia > Province of Olbia-Tempio > Palau
Amenities:
Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#1 Spa Hotel in Palau
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Palau
#1 Luxury Hotel in Palau
#1 Family Hotel in Palau
#2 Romantic Hotel in Palau
Price Range: $424 - $719 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Hotel Capo D'Orso Thalasso & Spa 5*
Number of rooms: 65
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Hotel Capo d`Orso Thalasso Palau
Hotel Capo d`Orso Thalasso And Spa
Capo d Orso Hotel
Hotel Capo D'Orso Thalasso & Spa Palau, Sardinia

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