We spent 10 days at this hotel in September 2013 and would say that, objectively, its four star rating is accurate ; the five stars we have given it reflect how much we enjoyed our time there and our appreciation of the hardworking, friendly staff. The size of the hotel (34 rooms) is perfect in the sense that it is big enough to be able to offer a range of facilities and excellent breakfasts, but small enough to be intimate and personal in its service. It is comfortable and attractive, but is not luxurious or formal in a way that might make you feel ill at ease or frightened of breaking something. Unlike a recent reviewer, we would not have wanted, for example, a member of the bar staff to be constantly asking if we wanted anything when we were relaxing by the lovely pool area. Staff are discreetly available should you need anything or wish to have poolside service......only a matter of 10 metres or so away from the pool.
The magnificent views down over the bay may be enjoyed from the pool area, the dining terrace, the balconies of the sea view rooms (a 'must') and from tables inside by the windows. The mountains too are striking and the hotel garden areas attractive and well-maintained. We appreciated the fact that the owners used local stone for the building and the pool area boundaries; similarly, the neutral colours, both inside and out, have been chosen to blend in with the surroundings, with good quality light wood and bamboo furniture, mottled terracotta floor tiles and some accents of charcoal in the ironwork bedheads, mirror surrounds, curtain rods.
We did not encounter problems with our room, although I would agree that plumbing noises can carry and the air conditioning did not seem very powerful. The room, like the rest of the hotel, was very clean and there were three good towels per person, changed daily. The bed was comfortable, the view lovely and there was enough space to bring in the whicker balcony table and chairs in the evening if we wanted to sit socially, talking, having a drink or watching tv. Balconies are fairly large and the ideal spot for picnic lunches after a strenuous morning by the pool or on a beach! The minibar offers enough space to store small amounts of food and drink and has a good, integral safe. As well as the wardrobe, there were plenty of other surfaces and drawers to store your holiday bits and pieces neatly.
Facilities in or around Reception included charming and patient multilingual staff, Signora Paola and Cristina, to help and advise you (or tutor you in Italian on request!); newspapers , magazines and bookshelves with books in several different languages (the hotel has very cosmopolitan guests...we encountered English, Americans, Australians, Scandinavians, Germans, Italians, French while we were there); beach towels and umbrellas, toys for the beach and good quality lounger cushions for the pool area. Wifi in Reception and pool area was very good.
Breakfasts were exceptional, especially considering that this is only a small hotel. There was a good selection of different breads, croissants, fruit flans, yogurts, cereals, cold meats, cheese, flavoured baked frittatas, hardboiled eggs, tomato segments,fruit juices, fresh and tinned fruit. Note for those with food intolerances: the Zizzone supermarket in Cala Gonone sells very good Italian gluten-free bread (Pane di Casale senza glutine), ricecakes, buckwheat cakes and a range of dairy-free milks. When we were staying, the chef had some gluten-free bread sticks, rice cakes and delicious gf fettucine and the delightful waitress Franca often took away the bread I had found and toasted it for me.
We ate in the hotel restaurant most nights, although we usually like to try different places on holiday, partly because we got lazy and wanted to avoid driving, but mainly because the food was very good and the service excellent. The charming Restaurant Manager has the perfect blend of friendliness and professionalism and is a real asset to the hotel. He was very patient with my desire to practise my Italian, even though he speaks five languages himself, and his advice with food or wine was always very good. Like many of the other staff, he worked very long hours, morning and night, day after day, yet his energy, attention and friendly manner never faltered. We particularly enjoyed the dinners we had on the terrace because of the romantic setting, but the Mistral whipped up partway through our holiday, so we ate inside the last few nights. One idea for the restaurant to consider would be to offer a daily Special(s) ,advertised in Reception, to attract guests who might have already tried their favourite dishes from the menu and didn't want to eat the same thing more than once.
All in all, we liked the Gustui Maris very much and want to say to our friends on the staff:
Tante grazie a tutto il personale per un soggiorno molto piacevole e rilassante.........speriamo di tornare un altro anno!
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Gustui Maris
- Gustui Maris Hotel
- Hotel Villa Gustui Maris Sardinia/Cala Gonone