This hotel’s stunning location is diminished by what appears to be the second-rate decisions of the ownership group that owns it, Delphina. So many of the companies policies are lazy, outdated, cheap or poorly-executed, that it made what was otherwise a nice stage of our Sardinia trip a bit laughable.
From the beginning, at check in, the staff at first insisted on seeing our “voucher”, as if we were staying at some cut-rate, discount establishment. While we normally do bring print-outs of our reservations, in this case we did not have it, and both of our iPhones were dead, but so what? It is 2014, everything is online, they had our reservation right in front of them, and they had our passports to confirm our identity. Quoting company policy, they also wanted us to pay in full at check-in for the entire stay. In decades of travel to over 60 countries, I have never been approached to pay in advance quite in this way. When the staff tried to explain the policy they said the hotel had had some “bad experiences”, which a hotel should never say to arriving guests. In fact, the only reasons I could see for this policy were a) the hotel does not have confidence in itself, b) the hotel does not trust the quality of its guests or c) some combination of the two. Ultimately, they gave up, and the staff were nice enough, but it was not exactly a stellar check-in experience.
At check in, we also learned of two other odd policies of the ownership group. First, any extras beyond the half board package we had, like cocktails, bottles of wine or snacks, can only be purchased through a card you must pre-pay to use. Again, it is a policy that suggests they do not trust their guests enough to not inconvenience them by limiting their payment options. It also means that on this sprawling complex, if you forget your card, you cannot simply pay cash, use a credit card or charge the drink to your room; instead you have to walk all the way back to your room or go without. Second, on top of the main building, there is a great open air dining area with sweeping views of the stunning peninsula, but they only allow guests to dine there three nights a week (Mon, Wed, Fri). Since we arrived on a Friday, the space was booked and we were checking out on a Sunday, we had no chance of accessing this space. The explanation for not opening the rooftop seven days a week is that it is too much trouble on days when there are lots of people checking in and out. What? That is just laziness. It is almost criminal to prevent guests from accessing this space four days out of the week.
To make matters worse, the hotel has a pretty irrational bad weather policy. If you cannot get access to the rooftop that is only open three days a week, then you end up in the buffet area. It could be fine, except that they wall off the open air plexiglass section for the most whimsical of reasons. The first night we were there, it was walled off with plexiglass because it was too cold. Too cold? Just 45 minutes before coming to the dining area, we had been swimming in the sea. It was not too cold, except if maybe the person making the call is Sardinian, thinks 28 degrees Celsius is too cold, and does not want to bother to take the plexiglass down. Moreover, on the second night, it rained for five minutes around 5 pm, and this ”weather catastrophe” prompted the management to close the outdoor bar down for the rest of the night. By 7 pm, everything was dry and by 830 the most spectacular sunset was on view, but the management insisted on sticking with the decision to keep the bar in the ugly indoor reception area, which was cramped and unappealing. The only explanation for not moving the bar back outside is laziness.
The gym and spa is a total joke. In three days, I saw a total of three people using the spa and no one using the gym. The reason for this is that the spa is an extra 25 euro and the gym and extra 10 euro. The gym in particular is completely laughable. It is small and all of the equipment is outdated by at least a decade and poorly maintained. Even if there were no charge, it would be unacceptable for a four star hotel, but to charge for it is ridiculous. The only people who would not be annoyed by this gym are people who never exercise. The only exercise bike was missing toe straps, a basic for anyone who is serious about exercise.
The grounds are also poorly managed and maintained. Despite sitting on a spectacular promontory, they have neglected the location. There are a number of sections where lounge chairs have been placed on small cliffs overlooking the sea; however, the chairs have not been cleaned or maintained. The cushions were dirty and faded, and the chairs themselves were warping so badly that nails were protruding from many of them by as much as five centimeters. It is not surprising then that no one was using them, despite the spectacular view. Equally, their maps are deficient. At check in, you get the impression that you can simply wander down to an easy access to the sea. Not true! The closest cliff accesses are treacherous – full of rocks, sea urchins and waves, while the closest beach is very poorly indicated and is at least a 15 minute walk. None of this is explained at check in. My wife and I are adventurous travelers, and I am an avid open water swimmer, but there is no way we could get into the cliff accesses to the water without, at a minimum, water shoes. Later we read at the pool that such equipment was available, but no one informed us of this at check in, and we only learned of it by chance and too late.
To be fair, the food in the buffet was better than some reviews had indicated. The trick is to figure out what to avoid, such as pasta sitting under heat lamps. And many of the staff were completely accommodating. However, overall, it appears that the oligarchic ownership of this hotel is screwing up what could otherwise be a fantastic establishment.
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Relax Torreruja Thalasso Isola Rossa
- Hotel Relax Torreruja Thalasso And Spa
- Hotel Torreruja
- Hotel Relax Torreruja Thalasso & Spa Sardinia/Isola Rossa