Is Benas Country Lodge is as the name suggests set in the country. It's well away from the nearest main road and the surroundings are wonderfully peaceful.
Our stay (August 2014) was in a Junior Suite, which was well proportioned, nicely appointed and very clean.
The Food was simply superb. Our stay included our evening meal and breakfast. Lunch, and all drinks (including water) had to be paid for separately. The evening meal ranged between a five to seven course taster meal and alternates between fish and meat from night to night. But there was no repetition of any dish during our stay. Each element of every meal was wonderfully prepared and very nicely presented. It's worth mentioning too that many meals included ingredients grown on the premises. All ingredients were fresh and of a very good standard. (see further comments below)
Accompanying the food the Lodge had an excellent selection of Sardinian wines some of which were even produced in the Lodge's own vineyard. We tried more than half a dozen different wines while we were there and were very satisfied with all that we tried. It's worth noting too that Sardinian wines tend to be made with traditional Sardinian grapes, some of which may have been used for making wine on the island for thousands of years. This was a wonderful opportunity to try wines away from the mainstream grape varieties such as Shiraz and Cab Sov etc.
The Lodge offers a wine tasting experience twice a week, which you have to book for in order to attend, but is very well worth while and gives you a good overview of the history of wine in Sardinia (dating back to Roman era). The wine tasting also includes an opportunity to sample some Sardinian olive oils along with local foods.
The grounds of the lodge are surrounded by beautifully maintained gardens which include many edible plants including: fig, banana, olive and bay trees, and many herb bushes such as rosemary. There is a very inviting pool, which is discretely hidden, and beyond that there is a large garden where more produce such as tomatoes are grown.
A major highlight for our stay was our wonderful fellow guests. We met and dined with some wonderfully interesting people; collectively with a wealth of travel experience. During the day time we all went out to explore various parts of the island and then on a night time. So on an evening aside from general conversation not only could we chat about the wonderful cuisine but also exchange experiences from our various days out.
Ambiance (5 out of 5 stars):
To be honest it would be hard pressed to fault the ambiance.
Staff (5 out of 5 stars):
The staff here are excellent. They were all very friendly and ever so helpful. We had a couple of issues with our room (e.g. leaking air con), we reported these to reception staff and the issues were dealt with quickly.
Food (4.5 out of 5 stars):
As per my comments above the food was exquisite. For the whole week there was only one dish that my wife did not like and that was personal choice; nothing to do with the quality of the ingredients or the way it was cooked. I greatly enjoyed all of the food. I'll also take this opportunity to say I just can't understand why people have given poor ratings due to small portion sizes. Perhaps they don't understand the concept of a taster menu. Each of the individual portions are small, but as a whole I never left the dining table feeling hungry. We love our food and fine dining and this experience ticked all the boxes.
So why the 4.5 rating and not 5? For the first few days each table was given a bottle of oil and balsamic, but part way through the week there was a shift in how the olive oil was distributed. Instead of distributing the bottles so we could help ourselves we had to ask for a small bowl containing the oil. We were told that this was because of standards and that the manager did not want his guests serving themselves, but this didn't ring true and instead seemed to be a way of saving money. The change during the week was not welcomed by most guests. The other minor observation I had was that the lunch menu was lacking more salads. It would have benefited from the addition of some typical Mediterranean salad dishes.
Cost (4.5 out of 5 stars):
Given how enjoyable our experience at Is Benas was then I'd see the cost of our trip, which was booked through Secret Escapes (cheaper than booking directly with Sardatur), as being very reasonable (the cost included our flights and car hire). However, the wine, bar drinks and mineral water were a little pricey. For instance a large bottle of mineral water is four euros, which becomes an issue when you are dependent on bottled water during your stay. At the end of the day though this was a minor point and didn't detract from our stay.
Overall Average Rating: 4.75 out of 5 stars.
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- Also Known As:
- Is Benas Country Hotel San Vero Milis
- Is Benas Country Lodge Sardinia/Province Of Oristano, Italy