Orosei is located on the Gulf of Orosei, part of the Tyrrhenian Sea on the east coast of Sardinia. Larger than its neighbor Cala Gonone to the south, it’s a lot less “sea town” and more of a community with homes, jobs, shops, and restaurants. Like Carbras, it’s in a bit of a revitalization and still has some improvements to go, but it really is a gorgeous town, on the sea, with lovely buildings, streets, and the kindest residents.
The proximity of Orosei to the Bay of Orosei and the near-prerequisite to do at least one boating trip on the sea means that there are a lot of options in Orosei. We chose to stay at the Mannois Albergo Difuso (https://www.mannois.it/), a lovely collection of rooms peppered throughout the centro storico, all comfortably designed and accommodated, and just like a traditional hotel, with varying room types. A lovely buffet breakfast is served every morning at reception. (Note: there are some rooms in the building that also houses reception and the morning breakfast so if you’re a late-sleeper, you might want to ask for a different building when making your reservation.)
AN IMPORTANT NOTE TO FUTURE GUESTS: Although I loved the Mannois Albergo Difuso hotel, there are some much-needed improvements that the management really needs to implement. By not doing so, they will be passed, and passed quickly. So before you go, and before you book, just be aware.
When I booked my reservation, there was nothing on the website that indicated the access to the hotel beach club – a short trainino ride from near the hotel, down to the sea – was NOT included in the price of the reservation. In fact, my confirmation email listed everything that was not included EXCEPT, apparently, use of the beach club. I am confident in this recollection, but when complaining to the hotel, it was their word against mine. SO TRAVELLER BEWARE: access to the Mannois Beach Club IS NOT INCLUDED and is insanely expensive. In September 2022, first row lounge chairs and umbrellas were €40 per day (for 2 people), the second row and back was €30 per day, and the back rows were €20 per day. Sure, there was access to a bathroom, and they had a bar (but you paid), so ask yourself why?
And although the Mannois Beach Club appears to be part of the hotel, it is a rather long walk (40 minutes) there, and another 40 minutes back, or you have to take the public Orosei trainino for €2.50 each way/€5 round trip. The trainino is great, but if you’re going to pay that sort of money for access to their beach club, not to mention the price per night for a room, they could serve their clientele with service to the beach.
INSIDER TIP: right next to the overpriced Mannois Beach Club is Peppe’s Bar. For €5 each, you can rent a sun bed! Okay, the staff at Peppe’s is pretty non-plussed about things, so you’ll have to carry your sun bed to the beach but that just means you get to sit where you want. And shhhhhhhh, it’s a little known secret: if you head left, closer to the Mannois Beach Club – but not so close that you can hear their piped music, guests of the Mannois Albergo Difuso will have wifi access, but not pay their crazy prices for the same beach and ocean access. But shhhhhhhh, don’t let on.
And one last thing: the Mannois Albergo Difuso will NOT make dinner reservations for their guests. I wrote to the hotel asking for a number of reservations and they wrote back saying that wouldn’t be possible. Thinking I misunderstood, I wrote back asking for clarification, and they said that “they have had too many problems making reservations for their guests, because when the guests show up, the restaurant says they have no booking.” In all of my years of travel, I’ve never had a hotel say this. And when many of their guests are non-Italian speaking, they are in trouble. I set about making each of the reserved tables noted below in bites – some in English and some in Italian – and I had not problems. Again, the hotel management needs to radically improve their offer or get left behind by hotels under development in Orosei or neighboring villages.
If I only had one night in Orosei, I would be in a serious pickle as I have two favourites and wouldn’t know which to choose! They are both truly that great, both for their views and their food. But I guess, if I was forced to choose, I would first go to Ristorante Lungomare (https://lungomareristorante.com/). An unabashedly fish restaurant located on the Spiaggia Marina di Orosei, the views are stunningly gorgeous, the lighting divine, and the food truly outstanding. And if you follow me, you know I’m vegetarian so how did I make out? Outstandingly! With a note upon making a reservation, and a reminder a few days in advance, there was never a problem.
And because Orosei and the beaches really are stunning, I’m hoping that there will be at least one additional day on your visit and you’ll be able to visit Ristorante Belohorizonte (https://www.facebook.com/riisto.belohorizonte). A sturdy hike uphill, the views and the food at this lovely restaurant are outstanding. Their website shows indoor pictures but if you’re lucky enough to dine here, request outside seating on the piazza that overlooks the valley below, out to the sea. It really was breathtaking. And the food and service sheer perfection. (How can you not love a hostess who greets you with “hello my lovelies!”)
Another find that I truly cannot stop thinking about is the Agriturismo Gollei (no website). I honestly don’t remember the blog post that I read that lead me to this find, but what a lovely evening of great food is on offer at this Agriturismo. Outside of Orosei, it will require either a car, or a car service – as Orosei, oddly, does not have taxis – but it really is worth the price of a car service because, not only is it difficult to find, but then you can enjoy the wine and after dinner drinks that are included in the insane price of €40. There is only one sitting at 20.00 and everyone is served at the same time a multi-course feast that is truly representative of an Italian meal. Allow 2 hours for your meal, and be sure not to snack before going because the food is plentiful and although simple, truly outstanding.
Not trip to Orosei or the west coast of Sardinia is complete without an excursion along the coast of Sardinia. There are multiple companies along the port offering everything from private hire dinghies to larger boats with near 100 of your closest friends, and all at slightly varying costs.
I was fortunate enough to stay at the Hotel Costa Dorada in Cala Gonone (https://www.hotelcostadorada.it/en/) years ago, and did such a trip. I loved it so much, I contacted the hotel this time, explained that I we were staying in a different village, but that I loved my previous experience so much that I wondered if I could do it again, even though I was not a hotel guest. And they said Yes! So we boarded the Marlin with about 8 other people and spent the day cruising up the coast, jumping off occasionally, and just enjoying the crystal turquoise waters of the Gulf of Orosei.