After 3 nights in Florence we were ready for a change in scenery. Our journey from Tuscany to Sardinia and the Hotel Pitrizza was less than direct. We took a quick train ride down to Rome and hopped on an old Meridiana MD (88?) plane from FCO to OLB.
Two of my friends have recently asked me for advice for their Honeymoons to Italy in 2012. As a result I’m posting a series of reports from our anniversary trip to Florence, Tuscany, Sardinia and Rome.
- Tuscany And Westin Excelsior Florence, Italy
- Starwood Luxury Collection Hotel Pitrizza Sardinia, Italy
- Westin Excelsior Rome, Italy
Ride To Hotel Pitrizza From Florence
The Meridiana flight from Rome to Olbia was pleasant and relatively quick at about an hour. The departure from Rome was an experience. We headed downstairs in the terminal to the boarding area and waited until the airline called the shuttle bus to drive everyone over to the plane. The boarding on this plane was completed from the back, something you rarely see with Delta or American’s MD88s. Upon landing in Olbia, we knew we had arrived in the right place when we saw over 15 private jets on the tarmac.
Our destination in Sardinia was the Luxury Collection Hotel Pitrizza located in Porto Cervo. The drive from Olbia to the hotel usually takes about 45 minutes, if you know where you are going. We got slightly lost on the way there since the directions were tricky. Make sure you print out directions if you plan to go here. I’ve included some pictures at OLB airport and the car ride to Costa Smeralda.
Booking & Hotel
The Hotel Pitrizza Luxury Collection was one of the most difficult SPG awards I’ve ever booked. This is because the hotel is only open for a portion of the year and it commands a high price for their rooms. Fortunately we reserved our award for this hotel when SPG top tier awards were only 20,000 per night. We used a total of 60,000 points for three nights. This is where I wish I had used the reserve 4 award nights get the 5th free, but you live and learn.
When I searched SPG.com for availability there was no award availability for the entire season. So I went to work with the SPG platinum desk to “stalk” award availability at this hotel. I started the booking process in November of the previous year for mid summer of the following year. Apparently the hotel doesn’t open up award space online often or much at all. About the late January time frame the hotel finally began to open up availability “at request”. I was able to confirm through the Platinum desk because the hotel was still not showing availability online.
The check in process was very simple. We arrived at the hotel in mid afternoon after a long drive from Olbia. We pulled the car up to the front building and checked in, then parked the car just behind the front desk building. At the time of this stay I was a Starwood Preferred Guest Platinum member. They took great care of us with a platinum amenity upon arrival and an upgrade to an ocean view villa.
The pool was made on top of the natural rock, which you can easily see in the picture. From the pool there are spectacular views of the hill side and ocean. The hotel is very close to the island of La Madalena and the hotel offers guided day tours of the island by boat.
We were upgraded to an ocean view villa. These rooms usually command about 1,600 Euros a night. We were extremely happy to pay with points at this hotel. In fact, we realized a tremendous SPG point value at $0.104 per point (assuming a 1.3 US/EU conversation rate) by redeeming 60,000 points for 3 nights.
The room had a couch and chair in the living area, a very large bathroom, and a patio with spectacular views. I recall the bed was sub-par for a 1,600 Euro a night room.
We had a great view of the ocean and would frequently spend happy hours on our patio with a nice bottle of local wine. You can take a 5 minute drive and find plenty of wine selection for under 15 Euros. We noticed the cool automatic lawn mowers on top of the villas, you can see one in the last picture within this section below.
The best part is we were only a short 2 minute walk to the beach from this villa. To get to the beach we walked down a little stone path way to the main building by the pool, stepped through a small wooden gate, and down a flight of steps.
The water was on the chilly side but refreshing. As you can see, most of the time we had a private beach all to ourselves.
The area around the Pitrizza is called Costa Smeralda. The area boasts some of SPG category 7 hotels including the Romanzzino, Cervo hotel and Cala di Volpe. In fact, all four of the hotels are category 7s. Out of all of them we found the Cervo hotel to be the least desirable since it is directly in town.
We ventured off the grounds to a few neighboring towns including Porto Cervo. There are a couple nice casual restaurants nearby including a fresh seafood restaurant and wait for it…wait for it…Italian restaurant.
The Hotel Pitrizza was a great way to spend a view days in Italy soaking up the sun. We achieved significant value at $.104 per SPG point.
Rome was the next and final stop on our trip where we stayed at the Westin Excelsior hotel. In Rome we secured a spot in the Excavations tour at the Vatican. Even if you are not Catholic it could be one of the highlights of a trip to Rome.