To the ‘Golden Bee’ of Sardinia: Abi d’Oru, the first five-star hotel on the Costa Esmerelda, and still a gracious, upscale resort overlooking the white sand beach and turquoise waters of the Gulf of Marinella

An ancient crossroads between East and West, Sardinia emerged from mystery and obscurity in the 1960s with the creation of the Costa Smeralda by the Aga Khan—and historic Abi d’Oru was the first hotel to be built here on the northern coast. This high-class resort has been welcoming guests for five-star relaxation and pleasures, combined with that special Sardinian warmth and hospitality, since 1963.

Three generations of guests have loved its charm and beauty and continue to do so: Its luxurious Sardinian comfort and style, its soft white-sand beach lapped by the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Marinella, the gentle sea breezes, the wonderfully attentive staff and the warmth and relaxation offered by sun, sea and spa.

Abi d’Oru means ‘golden bee’ in the unique Sardinian ancient dialect which is close to spoken Latin. This beautiful hotel is indeed a golden treasure, overlooking its private fine white-sand beach at the end of the Golfodi Marinella, just three miles from Porto Rotondo. Marinella Beach, one of the most beautiful in Sardinia, lies just beyond the garden, the pool and the natural pond. Its fine white sands meet a turquoise sea which shimmers in every shade of blue as it melts into the horizon. A section of the beach is reserved for guests of the Abi d’Oru with complimentary loungers and umbrellas for guests—and this is also the most sheltered part of the shore.

The Costa Smerelda, a 34-mile tract of pristine, boulder-strewn coast, was wild and unblemished when it was purchased by Prince Karim, the Aga Khan, whose goal was to create a Xanada playground for his consortium’s members and friends, while maintaining the area’s pristine beauty. The tasteful five-star developments they created transformed the island’s traditional economy of shepherding and farming, Abi d’Oru among them, at Porto Rotondo, just south of the main Costa Esmerelda. Sardinia is now considered one of the world’s most glamorous places to holiday.

Elsewhere, in the island’s wild interior, the Sardi still live and maintain their traditions, folklore, costumes and unique dialect. This is the other Sardinia, light years beyond cosmopolitan Costa Smerelda, where intrepid travellers can still venture. The mountainous interior is dotted with more than 7,000 mostly conical nuraghi, stone structures dating back to the Bronze Age and which are unique to Sardinia. Little has changed here since D H Lawrence’s visit in 1921, when, astonished, he described the island as ‘lost between Europe and Africa and belonging to nowhere’. Sardinia is a joy to explore for history seekers in an unspoilt, rugged and ancient island.

Abi d’Oru combines the character of Sardinia with contemporary style and a longtime knowledge of how to give their five-star guests the holiday they seek. The characteristic hexagonal pavilions, with their stunning views over the gulf, mean that many rooms and suites face the glittering turquoise sea. The beach is just a few steps through a Mediterranean garden with a natural pond and a swimming pool and relaxation area and Jacuzzi.

Guest rooms (24 Deluxe, 15 Junior Suites, 10 Family Deluxe, four Deluxe Suites, two Premium Suites and two Signature Suites) all have views of the sea or the hotel gardens. Sardinian and Mediterranean style furnishings create a fresh atmosphere, enhanced with marble from Orosei and Samugheo rugs. Many offer wonderful views over the Gulf of Marinella from private balconies or, on the ground floor, from patios with direct beach access. They vary from 28 to 32 sq metres and are equipped with air conditioning, Wi-Fi, satellite TV, minibar, safe, beach towels and dressing gowns. Other rooms and suites offer more space and fine views, contemporary elegance and airy, sunlit style—and the fabulous new Signature Suites are 100 sq metres. The rooms are individually decorated in a relaxed island style with colour-washed furniture and tiled floors. The Double Standard rooms feature a balcony that shows off the pretty hills behind the resort while the Superior Rooms have views over the grounds towards the Mediterranean. For direct access to the garden from your own terrace, choose a Garden Deluxe room.

Three bars and four restaurants serve local specialties and international cuisine. The Beach Restaurant conjures up timeless flavours of summer holidays, perfectly complementing a long day by the sea. Later, enjoy the spacious, sea-view Marinella Restaurant for seafood by the sea, or Tzia Maria Restaurant for Sardinia’s rich variety of traditional cuisine and wines, while Mediterraneo Restaurant offers breakfast and dinner served on a beautiful terrace overlooking the sea.

Guests have a choice of water sports, from canoeing in the gulf to visiting nearby Porto Rotondo by jet-ski, exploring the coast in a rib or sailing boat, diving in Tavolara island’s marine park, or courses in windsurfing. The Yacht Club Porto Rotondo has an excellent sailing school, while the resort offers tennis courts, horse riding from nearby stables and hiking on the paths of the Capo Figari headland. Just 15 minutes from the Abi d’Oru are the 18 holes of the Pevero Golf Club, which last year introduced the Pevero Trail, a free fitness itinerary on the Costa Smeralda’s most panoramic promontory.

And then there is the brand new spa and wellness area. It’s a perfect place in which to relax in five-star comfort with contemporary amenities, traditional Sardinian hospitality and style. The spa features a sauna, a Turkish steam bath, two chromotherapy showers, an ice fountain and a relaxation area with a salt wall. Three cabins, named after Sardinian essences (myrtle, helichrysum and mastic), offer pampering beauty treatments. Yoga, Pilates, Shiatzu and aqua-gym lessons are available—and aimong the most popular spa treatments are the Remedy Ritual and the Himalayan Salt Massage. Herbal tea and infusions are served in the indoor relaxation area, while the outdoor solarium, facing the pool, is the place to relax and enjoy the gentle Sardinian sunshine.

All in all, Abi d’Oru is an easy, relaxing, sun, sand and sea holiday on a beautiful island that is easy to reach from the UK. Flights to Olbia are about 2 hours 20 minutes and the hotel is only 16 kilometres from the airport.

CountryClubuk Members enjoy advantageous rates and extras including a welcome drink on arrival and in-room VIP treatment, international breakfast, complimentary room upgrade, early check-in and late check-out (all subject to availability), complimentary aperitif on the sea-view terrace. To check availability and best Club rates for your dates,  click the link below or call us on 020 7399 2960.

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