Cascioni Eco Retreat is a sleepy Sardinian stazzo near the wave-lashed shores of the emerald coast. Its low-lying farmhouses, though unassuming at first, are home to 15 immaculate suites (all with private plunge pools and gardens), a sun-soaked swimming pool, organic spa, and oak-scented wine cellar. Olive trees and fields of alfalfa border the hotel – the estate harvests and bottles its own extra virgin olive oil every October – perfect for dipping your just-baked carasau flatbread in while dining alfresco in the garden-to-table restaurant.
Get this when you book through us:
€50 credit, per room, to be used at Cascioni during your stay.
11am, but flexible, subject to availability and an additional charge. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from £599.53 (€680), including tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €5.00 per person per night on check-out.
Rates include breakfast – don’t miss the local civraxiu bread topped with freshly laid eggs and tomato salsa – a very Sardinian start to the day.
Nature and nurture are central to this eco retreat. You can learn from the best of garden-to-table dining with a cooking masterclass; or if you’re more akin to clothing than cuisine, pick up tips on how to use plants – madder, buckthorn, lavender and daphne to name a few – as natural dyes for wool, linen and silk.
The hotel is open from the first week of May to the last week of October every year.
At the hotel
Pool, spa, Techo-gym equipment, restaurant and bar. In rooms: private porch and garden, heated plunge pool, tea- and coffee-making facilities, mineral water, TV, free WiFi, hairdryer, minibar, bathrobe, laundry service.
Our favourite rooms
All 15 suites have private plunge pools, gardens and earthy interiors, but the prestige rooms are slightly more spacious. Bag the last of the bunch – room 15 – for mountain views.
Trees act as umbrellas around the sinuous pool – dappling shade over the socially-distanced sunbeds (the small number of rooms means there’s no need for poolside crowding). An uninterrupted view over Gallura – and up to Sardinia’s steely blue skies – make this the epicentre of the hotel, albeit an incredibly peaceful one
The post-coast feeling – one of beach breeze, sun-kissed skin and sandy everything – slips away in the hotel spa, with its Mediterranean-scented sauna, heated swimming pool, herbal teas and natural treatments. And if you’re not content with only using olive oil with your food, why not book one of the treatments using the estate's own batch: nature and nurture go hand in hand here.
Leave laptops at home: this retreat is too wholesome to spend time at your screen. Instead, leaf through a pocket-sized Sardinian dictionary – the language has been classified by UNESCO as an endangered language – so pick up a phrase or two while you still can.
Yoga classes are held in the garden against a background hushed by countryside; and spa treatments can be taken from the comfort of your suite.
Children above the age of six are welcome at Cascioni: an additional bed can be added to rooms upon request (with a charge).
Home-grown and home-made is the ethos at Cascioni – starting with the one hundred species of Mediterranean plants grown on the nature reserve. The 3,000-tree olive orchard is impressive, too, and houses varieties such as Bosana, Nera di Gonnos and Becco di Cornacchia, grown as nature intended. Olives are pressed and bottled on site to make fragrant extra virgin olive oil, natural jams and the toiletries that you’ll find in your room. The restaurant’s menu is drawn from the harvest of the estate's vegetable garden, herb plants and fruit trees – from freshly laid eggs to just-picked aubergines – making it sustainable, seasonal and kind to the land. The spa uses organic products from the estate – honey, myrtle, mallow and lavender – and saves water by populating the space with cacti and herbs, instead of more water-guzzling plants.
You can dine indoors or alfresco at Ulia, and both have a view of the olive groves, but we recommend a table near the pool.
It’s the kind of restaurant that makes you want to dress up, despite it forgoing any real formalities. Linen is a good middle ground, or match your surroundings with neutral, earthy tones.
Ulia puts on lavish banquets from the land; local breads dipped in freshly harvested olive oil, bowls of garden vegetables, and pastas stuffed with locally sourced meats. The garden-to-kitchen menu is entirely vegetarian, while the ‘Grande Carte’ includes octopus, sea bass and quail. Expect rustic and honest dishes that are rich in flavour and tradition.
Aperitivo hour at Ulia is best served with an Aperol Spritz in hand, or a cocktail creation incorporating fennel, rhubarb, sage and marmalade (not all at once, mind). The Mojirto is the signature drink; a tangy concoction of white myrtle liqueur, lime juice, basil, and ginger beer. If wine is more your tipple, arrange a tasting in the cosy cellar of crisp Asinara Indolente bianco or rich Cagnulari red, all in the company of the in-house sommelier.
Farmer’s breakfast is available 7–10.30am, lunch from 12.30–3pm, and dinner 7.30–10.30pm, where you can choose from vegetarian, vegan, meat and fish menus. The lounge bar and its impressive array of cocktails are available until midnight every evening.
A tailored menu is available for room service 7.30–midnight, whether you prefer to dine by your plunge pool, in your private garden or in bed.
SP 59 bis Porto Cervo - Baia Sardinia, Località Cascioni
Beyond the bright lights of Costa Smeralda sits a lantern-adorned eco stazzo; a rustic estate where coast meets country, and country meets Cascioni.
Fly into Olbia Costa Smeralda; it’s a 30-minute drive from the airport to Cascioni. Contact the hotel to arrange a transfer, or grab a taxi when you land.
Hire a car to make the most of Sardinia’s mountainous hinterland (there’s free parking at Cascioni). Our in-house travel team will be happy to arrange a rental for you to pick up at the airport.
Boats and ferries drop anchor at Olbia harbour, with departures from mainland Italy and France.
Worth getting out of bed for
As DH Lawrence said, ‘Sardinia is different’ – an Italian island for those with an air of independence. Skip cruise ship hop-off point Porto Cervo and instead set your sights on Porto Rotondo or pretty San Pantaleo, with its famed Thursday market. Sparkling shores and rugged coves can be found at Cala Ginepro, Cala Sassari and Spiaggia del Principe, or for truly luminous waters visit the cave complex of Grotta del Bue Marina – a maze of underground beaches, rock carvings and stalagmites. Further afield are the deserted islands of the La Maddalena Archipelago – the hotel can arrange a private yacht trip, with the option of dinner under golden-hour glow and candle light.
If the scalloped bays and beaches of the emerald coast are too pristine for your liking, head inland to Sardinia’s hinterland to discover the hills, streams and gorges of Mount Limbara. Canoes can be hired to navigate the hushed river of the Saloni nature reserve, which also affords excellent bird watching; or go on the lookout for blue-eyed albino donkeys on the Isola dell’Asinara.
A day of sand or streams will likely result in a renewed appetite for more of Sardinia’s bread, pasta and dolci. Dine at La Coltifarmhouse for local Gallura specialities like Mazza Frissa, chiusoni (a take on gnocchi), and spit-roast pork. Overlook Canningione beach at Cutter Loungeand feast on tartare, pizza and lasagna; or tuck into fresh seafood while harbourside at Tanit in Poltu Quatu. Il Fuoco Sacro is the setting for chef Luigi Bergeretto’s signature fregola al frutti di mare – a Sardinian-style seafood risotto – to be devoured on heavy oak tables under bamboo beams, all within original farmhouse walls. But you don't need to go far for rustic dishes rich in flavour – the hotel's Ulia restaurant serves up vegetarian feasts just steps from your bedroom.
The MiraLuna lounge bar combines a panoramic view of the Cannigione Bay with refined cocktails. Or stay put at Cascioni for an evening in the cosy cellar, wine glass in hand, listening to the stories of the in-house sommelier.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this away-from-it-all hotel in Gallura and unpacked their postcards of pristine waters and freshly bottled olive oil, a full account of their island break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Cascioni Eco Retreat in Sardinia…
Sardinia is Italy-but-not: set apart by language, culture and cuisine. It’s been known to attract travellers from the world’s wealthiest enclaves – particularly to Porto Cervo with its white-sand beaches, golf clubs and sparkling port-side hotels. But Gallura is different. The soundtrack to a day here is more likely to be hens clucking than the clicks of a paparazzi’s camera; a gentle breeze through the hinterlands instead of the thrum of a mega-yacht. This is Cascioni – sleepy, sophisticated and truly Sardinian.
A sweeping view of distant farmhouses and fields of alfalfa greets you beside the hotel's pool – but when each room has its own plunge pool and well-manicured garden, you’d be forgiven for opting for privacy. Days can be whiled away by moving from spa to pool, pool to restaurant, restaurant to room. But the solitude of late summer and harvest season might appeal most, especially when it comes with the opportunity to make your own batch of olive oil at Cascioni’s private mill.