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“Bizarre, confusing and basic...the oddest place I've ever been.”

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Monte Turri Luxury Retreat
Ranked #11 of 12 Hotels in Arbatax
Reviewed September 13, 2012

It's hard to know where to start to describe this, the most bizarre hotel / resort I've ever been to! First of all I would say BEWARE! because what you see on the website is not what is included in your Monte Turri charges i.e. they have pictures of swimming pools, beaches and facilities that are NOT included in the Monte Turri price - instead you have to pay €5 per person per day to use these other facilities (we were so indignant at the false advertising that we refused to!).

We booked airport transfers through the hotel from Olbia airport and were unceremoniously 'dumped' at the reception of the one of the other hotels in the resort. Basically, Monte Turri is one of three hotels in a small resort which is kind of like a mini safari park or nature reserve. The other two hotels are kind of like Italian Butlins...a little bit cheap, noisy and overcrowded. By contrast we definitely had picked the nicest hotel of the three - Monte Turri is more couples than families and was quiet and peaceful compared to the other sites which were carnage during the day.

Not many of the staff speak English although a lot speak French so we managed to get by and get a lift from the other reception to Monte Turri which was lucky given that this place is built on a cliff / hill and a lot of uphill walking is involved! This is definitely not a site for the lazy or lacking in mobility. We had buns of steel by the end of our week there.

The Monte Turri rooms are not 4 star level at all. They are however rustic, charming and basic which suited us fine but is going to be a shock for anyone expecting luxury. We had a twin room 641 which had a lovely view and air con - that's all there is to say really. The bathroom was small, the decor dated, and the wooden wardrobes had been saturated in air freshener that made them stink for a week so all our clothes smelt 'pine fresh'. We spent all day outside though so weren't really that bothered. It would have been nice to have tea and coffee making facilities in the room as there aren't many places to get a drink.

The staff are an odd mix...Francesca booked us in and was a little brusque but maybe that's the Sardinian way? Luca was the porter who (as per other reviews sweated buckets) was the only person I tipped in my time there for his sheer good cheer and carting our luggage up and down hundreds of steps in 35 degree heat - a star! We also loved the waiters and waitresses - they were funny, charming, very eager to please and remembered our morning tea preferences etc. These are the staff at the Monte Turri restaurant by the way...we ate one night at the Borgia (the closest hotel to Monte Turri) and my advice is AVOID AVOID AVOID. It was a buffet style canteen that descended into chaos and you share tables with other people with everyone looking awkwardly at the ceiling so as not to stare at the total stranger sat eating opposite. That and the fact the food was terrible...

The food at the Monte Turri however was at least fresh and although not all to my taste for the most part was fine. You get a set entree, choice of starter, choice of main, fruit and salad buffet and dessert for €35. The desserts were odd to be honest - I'd fill up on fruit and avoid the 'frozen cake' which was kind of like frozen pepto bismol.

The biggest issue we had with the Monte Turri was the total lack of services during the day. Their restaurant doesn't do lunch and their bar didn't open til 4 and only services crisps / nuts (when there was actually someone there to serve you which was infrequent as we waited aaaages for cocktails in the evening and usually gave up). Your only option for lunch (or indeed just a drink of water!) is; eat what you took from breakfast or get some fast food (hot dog / burger / ciabatta / panini) from the Borgia bar which is a 5 min walk downhill and a 10 min gasping walk back uphill. And to buy anything from any of the other hotels you need a pre-paid chip card that you have to load with cash...that's a pain in the wotsit too.

The beach at the Monte Turri has ROCKS only and limited sun loungers on the two tier deck they have. You have to get there early to get a lounger as there are probably only 20 or so to go around and even less parasols. It's not that easy getting into the water, or rather getting out of the water once you get in as there is a rope ladder up a rock on which I grazed various toes and fingers during our stay. BUT the water is amazing, the view is beautiful and I happily spent all my time down there. One thing to bear in mind - there's no toilet at the beach so it's an uphill hike to your room or pee in the sea!

There are lots of hidden (and bizarre) delights at Monte Turri - the late night cinema in the Amphitheatre, the boar, donkeys, deer and other animals roaming around free (I did tell you it was like a safari park), the fact that after the peak hours you can actually roam around the other faclities without having to pay (unofficially like - we swam late at night in some of the restricted pools just out of principle).

Overall, this place is nothing like advertised, is definitely not 4 star, takes several days to figure out (and don't rely on the useless maps they give you) but that said we did have an enjoyable, restful holiday here and the view is stunning.

I probably wouldn't recommend it to a friend as it was really overpriced for the service and facilities you actually get included in the price. Final word on the Arbatax resort - beware the Adam and Eve buses that cart the €5 paying holiday makers from one end of the resort to the other...they nearly ran us over several times...

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with friends
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1  Thank LionHeartedGirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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42 - 48 of 357 reviews

Reviewed August 6, 2012

The price isn't in proportion to the quality. The pictures on the site of Montetorri are misleading, because they're taking when the park was new now everything is old and neglected. The rooms are depressive, dark, very damp and they have now privacy. The rooms are decorated with old furniture and it's not clean. The length of the bed is to short. You have to buy a wristband to use the facilities they offer. The garden rooms are behind a iron gate with a lot of stairs. Walking with your suitcase is a disaster.

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Nicole B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 5, 2012

Our dining room waiter told my niece that she wouldn't be eating unless she ordered what he suggested, is not what you expect to hear at a 5 star resort and a meal costing 35 Euros each. The staff are rude and non very helpful, except for the sweating bellboys who work overtime lifting bags up and down stairs. Lots of stairs in this gorgeous place but easy to get lost (which we did). Breathtaking views don't take away the stale smell in the expensive room either. Any 5 star hotel in UK or N America would put this hotel to shame.

Room Tip: Choose a room with plenty of windows to get rid of the stale smell.
  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled with family
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Thank BriscoePower
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 3, 2012

We had not realised prior to booking that this hotel was based within Arbatax Park. The park is a collection of properties, with Monte Turri being far and away the nicest - some of the others that we saw, were quite frankly, cheap and nasty. We were very surprised that Monte Turri was based in such close proximity to and shared facilities with these other properties.

In order to access the beaches at the park, one has to board a bus which runs frequently around the resort. We were very surprised to learn that we had to purchase wristbands in order to use this bus service. The charge was €5 per person per day and accessing the beaches without the bus service would be near impossible - they are very far away from the hotel and at the bottom of a very steep hill.

We spent one night in room 1 after which we requested to move. Room 1 is under the restaurant and the constant noise of tables and chairs being moved upstairs was too much to bear. Room 1 is also located next to the lift and in an empty corridor which only acted as an amplifier to the voices of the cleaning staff very early in the morning. It was also a very dark and somewhat claustrophobic room - not what one expects when you have paid extra to stay in a 'Tower Room'. The reception staff were very understanding and arranged a move very quickly. I can not remember what number room we moved to, but it was the at the other end of the building, 3 times the size of room 1 and 10 times quieter!

We ate in the restaurant the first night that we stayed there, but the service was so appauling that we went elsewhere on the second night. Breakfast was of a very poor standard and the service had not improved by morning either. The reception staff on the other hand were very friendly and helpful.

Room Tip: Do not stay in Room 1
  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Sabina_Andy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 23, 2012

Absolutely lovely location with spectacular views. We had a garden room which was rustic and involved many steps - it got us fit! Hotel restaurant very good if a little pricey, but in true Italian style they managed to get all the bills confused so i think we paid a lot less than we should have done.
Arbatax Park is confusing - billed as a wildlife park there were some native animals - wild boar etc but also ostriches (!). I imagine if you go there as a family and stay in the park its a great holiday destination. I f, like us, you like exploring the surrounding area its a bit isolated. Arbatax town is a short walk away, but not especially interesting. Porto Frallis is worth a visit for mthe look out tower on the headland - a hefty walk in the heat but well worth it.
We caught a bus to Lanusei up in the mountains, again not much to see when we got there.
By far, the best day was the trip on the railway to Sadali it took about 4 hours up mountains and across viaducts - spectacular! and the little town we ended up in for the day was really interesting with loads to see - this is a must if you visit Sardinia.
We found it difficult to find restaurants within Arbatax Park due to the confusing booking system - all the other hotels were all inclusive and guests had wristbands to show where they were staying, and could eat anywhere. We, however, had to book and pay providing we could find someone to pay - more difficult than it sounds!
We had a brilliant time at the traditional Sardinian restaurant - all the food was barbecued over n open fire, we sat on blocks of wood around large boulders and there were endless supplies of wine and some local firewater that blew your head off!
All in all a great if slightly confusing holiday, we would definitely go back to Sardinia but probably stay somewhere else, but only as we tend not to go to the same place twice.

  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank marley100
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 11, 2012

We just got back 3 days ago, having spent 2 weeks at this retreat. The journey to the hotel from Olbia Airport was an adventure in itself. The road, which our Sat Nav insisted upon, was closed for no apparent reason and there were no diversion signs or hints of how we should proceed to get to Tortoli. It took us four and a half hours to get there (it should have taken just over 2 hours).- we encountered herds of sheep, goats and cows on the roads. We thanked our lucky stars that our journey was not in the dark but in the afternoon. We could not find the entrance to the Monte Turri Hotel unproblematically. There are no big signs to say that you are there. Luckily the person we asked on the hillside worked at the resort and was able to direct us to reception.

On arrival we were exhausted and just needed to unwind and relax. Life in the UK seems so crazy and so fast that we just wanted everything to slow down. Two weeks later, we left feeling so chilled out - we had been on something of a journey at Monte Turri but we felt totally relaxed and we will never forget our time there. It was amusing, entertaining and totally enjoyable.

The first shock was that the room was 79 steps down through the gardens from the reception. Had we known this, we would have insisted that someone should carry both our suitcases (and not just mine), as my husband has a weak back from a slipped disc last year. The first question to ask is obviously how many steps down to my room...? I loved the way that the room was like a little house - it was a little dark inside the room but spotlessly clean and also very cool. I loved the window over our bed, which had mosquito netting to prevent unwanted visitors but provided air at night. It was not at all damp but maybe it depends on the time of year. I was able to use the Wifi by sitting just outside the door of our room but sometimes the signal was not strong enough.
The restaurant terrace, where we had breakfast and on a few occasions dinner, had stunningly spectacular views. It was such a pleasure to sit there and enjoy the sound of the seagulls echoing from the cliffs around the sparkling waters. The coffee was Italian and delicious - we had breakfast at a leisurely pace and enjoyed every minute of it. The dinners were more than adequate but more expensive than the Borgo Restaurant, where the "others" dined further down the cliff. The buffet and free-flowing wine downstairs was a very attractive proposition - the range of starters alone was impressive. I liked the large, communal tables, where you could talk to other guests more easily and what a range of nationalities! For 20 euros you could have as much food as you wanted and also red, white wine or beer on tap. I thought that the food was even better than "upstairs" at the Monte Turri restaurant as there were so many dishes on offer every evening. I was pleased that we had not paid for half-board.
The Arbatax Park is a very strange construct indeed. The Monte Turri part at the top appears to be trying to be a 4 star resort (refined and discriminating - for example the piano playing every night in the bar) and down below, where the swimming pool is and the Borgo restaurant, it turns into something else. I found it completely fascinating - the whole concept of 42 orange-outfitted young people of different nationalities, smiling and dancing. At first it was puzzling but I found out after the first few days that they were "animators" and were there to offer services to the "others" - not the Monte Turri guests specifically but "the others", who were wearing armbands to demonstrate their "all-inclusiveness." If you go to any of the shows, put on by the "orange people" I have some important advice - the amphi theatre is not very well lit at night and the stairs down are not evenly spread, so watch your step and do not take a tumble in front of the whole assembled audience as I did! If you have children with you, make sure you ask about the suitability of the show. Out of the 3 which I saw and enjoyed, one was totally unsuitable - much too much sexual content for any age group. No one complained but I heard many people talking about how shocked they had been, having their children with them. It was similar in delivery to Rai Uno TV!
We were lucky enough to have a car for the whole time and we enjoyed exploring at the beginning, looking for a beach where we could hang out. The cove at the resort was lovely for a quick swim in the evening but too small and rocky to spend a lot of time there. Apparently there was kayaking available every morning although we were only informed of this by one of the "orange people". I did join in with their aqua-aerobic sessions when I was there. The evening singers in the pool area were dreadful and my husband objected to the music played every day, which did not facilitate relaxing by the pool.
We discovered some great beaches; Cea and Orri to the south and they became our favourite destinations. In the main season, which apparently starts middle of June, it will be a different experience. A lot of the time we had the whole bay to ourselves but more sunbeds were appearing every day. Also we did not have to pay for parking - the sunbeds are also more expensive later on in the season. The sea here is divine; different shades of blue; pristinely clear and clean, golden sand (but really amazing with flecks of gold everywhere in the sand). I had some great walks along the beach with a bit of scramble across the rocks to get into the next bay. Perfect opportunity to just "stand and stare" and recuperate.
The lack of organisation, particularly the lack of information, which other people have mentioned in their reviews, is irritating. However, I started to find it amusing and regarded it as an adventure. On arrival we were given a map, the mysteries of which we are still trying to unravel. Every time we asked a question, we were given another map! These maps did not help because of the different levels of the resort. I do not think we explored the whole of the resort although we did have some wonderful encounters in the gardens with a wild boar, goats and a little deer. I could write much more but I think I have given you my impressions of the Monte Turri resort. We loved it but I can imagine that you would either hate it or adore it. If you don't like "quirky", don't go but you will miss out on a fascinating and unique experience!

Room Tip: I heard that the rooms 1 - 8 in the main building ( ie no stairs just a lift) are good. Do not acce...
  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank mariannecn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 8, 2012 via mobile

Looking at the hotel's website, our expectations were high. We had some difficulties finding the hotel in Tortoli since the signs for the hotel are rather erratic. Once there, we marvelled at the spectacular view over the bay of Arbatax with the sun setting.

Since it had been impossible to reach the reception of the hotel by phone, we made a reservation via internet. Since we received a confirmation, we assumed everything was in order. However, when we arrived at the hotel, our reservation was non-existent. The friendly lady at the reception (Francesca) managed to find us a room (number 8) after I had forwarded her their own mail.

The room looked beautiful with a vaulted ceiling with wooden beams, a spacious bathroom including a proper shower, a big twin bed, a modern tv (that didn't work) and a sofa. However, the room was incredibly damp. The resulting smell in the room persisted even with both windows open.

Dinner was served on the terrace. We had made reservations for a table outside so that we could enjoy the view but again there had been some miscommunication and we were seated inside. The waiter had been quite rude to my girlfriend, but his rudeness became hilarious when he refused a couple to sit inside because they thought it was too cold outside. In the end we decided to eat elsewhere and we can highly recommend the nearby restaurant of hotel Arbatasar.

Breakfast was yet again proof for a poorly organised kitchen. Serving instant coffee with whipped milk that was clearly past its expiration date is unworthy of a four star hotel, especially in a country like Italy.

Hotel Monte Turri is part of a Club Med-like resort. You can use the facilities, such as the swimmingpool and the private beach. The potential of this resort is enormous but it would need major refurbishment and probably new kitchen staff. What a shame, such a great location...

  • Stayed: June 2012
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2  Thank MartinK1972
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Monte Turri Luxury Retreat

Address: Via Faro Bellavista sn, 08048 Arbatax, Tortoli, Sardinia, Italy
Location: Italy > Sardinia > Province of Ogliastra > Tortoli > Arbatax
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#5 Romantic Hotel in Arbatax
#6 Spa Hotel in Arbatax
#6 On the Beach Hotel in Arbatax
#9 Luxury Hotel in Arbatax
#9 Family Hotel in Arbatax
Price Range: $136 - $294 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Monte Turri Luxury Retreat 4*
Number of rooms: 42
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Hotel Monte Turri is a small hotel full of charm situated in a suggestive and scenic position, furnished with taste and fitted with every comfort, the ideal solution for those in search of elegance, refinement and complete tranquillity. The rooms are equipped with: air conditioning and heating system, wall safe box, telephone, hair dryer, LCD HD flat screen TV with access to SKY, minibar (pay-per-use for guests of the V. Garden rooms). The hotel provides a scenic restaurant, a swimming pool with solarium, scenic glass elevators used to reach a private cove, equipped with beach beds and umbrellas (upon availability) on wooden platforms. WiFi is available in public areas and is free of charge. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Monte Turri Luxury Retreat Arbatax, Sardinia

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