In the haze of hotel searches and the best beaches on the island, I discovered that there’s only one question you have to ask yourself before booking flights to Sardinia – what type of holiday do you want? If it’s glitz, glamour and super yachts, Costa Smerelda is for you (but expect the hefty price tags to match) or if it’s a quiet and relaxing break with untouched beaches and rustic charm then southern Sardinia is a no-brainer.
Flying into Cagliari from Stansted Airport, the island appeared tranquil and almost inhabited with turquoise waters and crumbling ruins. Although it was different from the Italy I’d experienced in Tuscany and Rome, it held an authenticity that I hadn’t anticipated. Driving through the countryside on our way to Villasimius, the roads were deserted and the houses were few and far between – suddenly it became clear why I struggled to find luxury accommodation on the island. On that note, although southern Sardinia boasts a more local way of living, with that comes a lack of luxury hotels in favour of cosy B&B’s and villas offering the bare essentials. So when I came across images of manicured lawns and crisp white bedding I knew that the Pullman Timi Ama Sardegna Hotel was a rare find, and what a find it was.
With a pure white interior, contemporary décor and a calming disposition, Pullman Timi Ama Sardegna have resisted the urge to embrace the traditional choices of aesthetics and opted for a more luxe approach and I couldn’t have been more relieved. Although I’m in favour for authenticity, sometimes a girl just needs a little luxury in her vacation! The rooms were brimming with understated elegance and a modern atmosphere – from the earthy colour palette to the gleaming mod cons. But with so much to see and do, reclining in our room was the last thing on our mind, when there was an emerald sea and white sandy beach to be enjoyed just a short walk (or shuttle bus) away.
Making our way through the hotel took a good ten minutes as each space is vast and busy – from the chilled out library and boutique shops (diamonds, anyone?) to the resort’s panoramic restaurant and pool cabanas. Although Sardinia is known for its boutique hotels and cosy B&B’s, Pullman Timi Ama Sardegna is an all singing, all dancing resort – quite literally when we stumbled across a staff production of Aladdin that evening. To withdraw from the bustling energy of the hotel, we decided to tread the immaculate paths to the beach, passing sporadic exercise equipment, joggers and the hotel’s photographer (keep your eyes peeled for a pap or two). But it wasn’t the lizards or honey bees that stopped us in our tracks, it was the swarm of wild pink flamingos in the hotel’s salt water lake – an exotic sight that became a familiar and no less novel part of our stay over the next two days.
Although it’s a public beach, the hotel has an exclusive area for guests that includes roped borders, rattan loungers with white cushions, tiki hut umbrellas and a Walls kiosk for your every whim. After an afternoon of snorkelling and swimming, we made a pit stop to Pullman Timi’s Ama Sardegna’s beach restaurant, I Ginepri – a typically Mediterranean open-air eatery encased by white drapes overlooking the vivid blue sea. We feasted on a selection of seafood risotto, fresh salad and chocolate torte before rolling ourselves back to our room for the evening. I Ginepri was our go-to for all of our meals for a sense of Sardinian authenticity and to escape from the over-crowded surroundings of Il Mediterraneo and La Veranda, Pullman’s additional restaurants offering an a la carte and buffet option.
When travelling, I tend to seek out the smaller, independent hotel’s for a more intimate and traditional experience – a resort girl I am not. Yet there was something about Pullman Timi Ama Sardegna’s exceptionally friendly staff members and attention to detail that allowed me to see a different side to the typical all-inclusive package. Its loud and family-friendly nature is fantastic for those looking for an all-round holiday but a little overwhelming for smaller groups and couples. Perhaps not a complete convert, but impressed to say the least.
Hotel Pullman Timi Ama Sardegna, Via dei Ginepri, 3, 09049 Villasimius CA, Italy
Tel: +39 070 79791
The hotel is located in Southern Sardinia and is less than a ten-minute walk from the beach and Mediterranean Sea. You can fly into Cagliari from Stansted on EasyJet or many other major European city airports.
Type of Hotel: 5-Star Family Resort
Number of Rooms: 275 rooms and suites with complimentary Wi-Fi and a Health Spa
Keep your eyes peeled for the hotel’s upcoming aromatherapy steam showers. Simply inserting a small capsule into the shower’s fitting releases a delicious scent for your own in-room spa experience.
Price Band: High
Reviewer’s Rating: 7/10
Jessica Harris is a UK-based journalist with a background in fashion, beauty and travel journalism
Photographs courtesy of Hotel Pullman Timi Ama Sardegna