The Sant’Elmo Beach Hotel is a beautiful hotel in the southeast of Sardegna that our travel agency recommended. It is located at Castiadas, Italy and consists of a main building and many small houses arranged in rows behind it. It is not directly at the shore but it isn’t far away and there is a large green meadow in front of the hotel.
The main building contains the reception (staff speaking Italian and English, some also German), a souvenir shop (they also sell stamps), the bar and restaurant. Next to is you will find a building wing with rooms – most of them at ground level with direct access to the garden in front. We opened the terrace door and our child immediately disappeared between the palms.
Behind the main building, lined up in rows, there are many small houses with rooms. Always with terrace and a bit hidden between hedges. Beautiful large plants grow everywhere and make this a cosy place. When we travel with our child we try to book hotels where you get a separate room for the child. Here you get a sleeping area on an upper level within your room. The stairs up there are protected by a half-height door. Therefore parents can sit on the terrace in the evenings and are still close to their child. And in our case the bar was pretty close and it was possible to take drinks to our room.
The car park is outside behind the houses. Some places are protected by a sun roof. The hotel staff has golf carts to take your luggage from the car park to the hotel and vice versa. As we were there in October the pool was cold but still usable. There you have to wear a bathing cap that you can buy at the reception – quite unusual for someone from Central Europe.
At the reception you can also rent towels for the beach – you are not allowed to take those from your room there. The beach is 500 meters away but easily reachable. There you’ll find a beach bar, sun loungers and parasols that are in low season also part of your hotel rate. Boat rental and boat tours are offered in addition. In October the Mediterranean Sea was still warm enough (and warmer than the hotel pool). It is a sandy beach that – after one small steep section – is pretty flat and good for smaller children.
At the restaurant you have to talk to the waiter when you arrive for the first time and you’ll get a your own table for the rest of the stay. We found this to be nice because you always know where you’re sitting and after some time you know your neighbors. The eating times are fixed and rather short in comparison to other hotels. Breakfast is from 7:30am to 9:30am, dinner from 7:30pm to 9pm. That is typical for Italy but rather late for our child – out worked out well but he was very sleepy at the end of the meal. The waiters are very friendly and always open for a joke – once you’ve broken the ice.
One of the best things is that you can order packed lunch and take it with you on your tours. We did this every day and never had lunch at the hotel. Until 8pm you can see what you can get next day and order it at the reception. They offer three types of packed lunch that only change a little from day to day: standard (two big rolls with changing cheese and cold cuts inside), light (sometimes salad, but also fried sandwiches; I didn’t understand this one) or green (salad). The packed lunch always included mineral water, fruit juice and often also a fruit. When you order packed lunch at the reception you have to tell them a time in the morning when you will fetch it and you’ll receive a small note. This one you have to hand over to the waiter during breakfast and they will get your food.
The Sant’Elmo Beach is officially a four star hotel – according to German standards it rather feels like three stars. There are some limitations that are quite typical for Italy. At dinner you can get just mineral water, white wine and red wine from tap. You’ll have to fill plastic carafes yourself. Other drinks can be order from the waiters and are booked onto your hotel pay card. You are not asked whether you want to order something – you have to ask a waiter when passing by.
The available ‘all inclusive’ option is not worth its name. It is only valid at the bar (not in the restaurant or at the beach) and you only receive beer, water, cola, lemonade, coffee, limoncello and mirto. They are served in plastic cups. But if you pay for drinks you get high-quality spirits. For children there is water ice for free.
Food at dinner is always pretty much the same: three kinds of noodles (one for kids), three types of meat or fish, antipasti and a nice buffet of sweets. The same is valid for breakfast. A drawback there is that you only get good coffee at a coffee bar with a barista. There you have to know that you need to bring your own cup; fetch one before lining up in the often long queue. If you desire cappuccino you have to add milk and milk froth yourself.
The location of the hotel is ideal for people that love to stay at the beach. If you want to see the island you will learn pretty fast that you can’t reach the interesting places in the north within a day trip. We totally underestimated the size of the island. Interesting places at the center of the island were also to far away – if you don’t want to sit for hours in a car. That is why we only explored the south of the island and had to learn that most places of interest are in the southwest and not in the southeast. Every day we had to drive 1.5 to 2 hours in every direction.
If you plan to travel in low season check the opening or closing dates of interesting places in advance. Touristic places like the typical water parks close in mid-September. Nevertheless we had enough interesting places we could reach from our hotel, nice beaches around and a hotel where we absolutely felt well.
Sant’Elmo Beach Hotel
09040 Castiadas CA