After 4 hours of border crossings, visa applications, and transfers, we finally arrived to Zimbabwe, Africa, completely drained from the past 10 hours of transiting. As we stepped out of our shuttle van and proceeding on the dirt path, I caught what I thought was a pig in the corner of my eye. But alas, it was a warthog! A cute little (big) “Pumba” grazing nearby. I had a feeling this was the first of many Lion King fantasies that would come to life on this journey. Little did I know…
We climbed into a small boat with our luggage, where we were escorted for the 10 minute ride across the Zambezi River. We started to feel really giddy as we had no idea what to except for the next 2 days in front of us. That and the fact that the wind in our face was a great wake-up call!
We finally pulled up to a cute little dock where several of the team members of Victoria Falls River Lodge joyfully welcomed us. Is this what royalty feels like? I don’t know, but I’ll take it! We let ourselves feel “cool” for a minute..until we realized each and every guest gets escorted by boat. Oh well, it felt good while it lasted haha.
The Victoria Falls River Lodge is not a Hotel, it’s an EXPERIENCE. Let me explain…
As soon as we arrived into the spectacular open-air lobby, we were given a welcome drink as well as a “briefing”. The basic message of the briefing: “we are situated in the Zambezi National Park with no fences or barriers between us and the wild animals. For this reason, you will need to be escorted back to your rooms after dark by one of our trained field guides. You may not walk back to your room alone”.
Excuse me, what did he just say? We are basically on the grounds of a live nature reserve with NO BARRIERS? NO EFFING BARRIERS!!! Carey and I looked at each other with huge eyes and gasped a little. WOW. This is going to be an intense few days.
This was the start to something fabulous, we could feel it! I mean, what other time in your life are you going to experience something like this?
Victoria Falls River Lodge is made up of 14 luxury tents situated on the edge of the Zambezi River. Included in your stay is 3 gourmet meals a day, free coffee/tea/snacks available all day, one sunrise or sunset game drive AND one sunrise or sunset river cruise, as well as the entrance fee to the Zambezi National Park.
We really loved the fact that there were only 14 tents available because this made this a more intimate experience with only a few guests staying at one time. As a result, the staff were able to give us their undivided attention.
In particular, the young manager named Andrew checked in with us at every meal, making sure we were having the BEST time. He was super engaging and you could really feel that he wanted to make sure this was an unforgettable experience for us. Well, he definitely accomplished that! He became more like a friend in the short 2 days we spent there. If you’re reading this, thank you and we miss you Andrew! 🙂
One of the most visually stunning aspects of Victoria Falls River Lodge is the open-air lobby and restaurant. The lounge area is formed by a crescent-shaped thatched roof and offers panoramic views of the Zambezi River and surrounding area.
On one side is the dining area and the other side is a huge area for lounging with comfy couches and simple local decor.
Down a little walkway off the main lobby is a bar area that opens up with an awesome view over the Zambezi River. It was closed when we were there in August, but we still went and lounged around there and took some photos.
There was also a small pool and lounge area right near the lobby/dining area. We were told that elephants were just grazing in this area a few days before!
Included in your stay at Victoria Falls River Lodge is 3 gourmet meals per day. Alcohol is NOT included and you must pay extra for that. You are given a tab at checkout for all your extras. A glass of wine was only $3.50, and it was a HUGE glass. In American measures, it was more like a double glass of wine. I sat back in bliss as they poured my jumbo glass of wine. Paradise found? Haha.
Yumm salmon salad for lunch
We were given a menu at every meal with a few items to choose from including fish, salads, steak, and vegetarian options. They were also very flexible with gluten free options and offered me a few different varieties of foods. There was also coffee and snacks available at all times of the day. Overall, the food was great! I had no complaints.
Our EPIC Luxury Treehouse
My childhood treehouse fantasies came to life in this magnificent dwelling that we got to call home for 2 nights. First of all, it was super spacious. Second of all, it was so nicely decorated and cozy. There was SO much to do around the lodge but we didn’t want to leave our room.
The shower/bath area was HUGE and it felt very freeing to shower in this big space. A thin curtain could be pulled for privacy from the outside room. There was also an outdoor shower if you fancied it! It was quite cold during the early mornings and late night so we didn’t use the outdoor shower unfortunately.
There was a nice deck with lounge chairs and a jacuzzi overlook the river. It was gorgeous. We were told that this was a popular spot to see hippos, rhinos, and elephants drinking, but we weren’t lucky enough to see that.
A post shared by 🌍Carey Carpenter🌎Traveler (@carebearabroad) on
We did however wake up one morning to all the plants and shrubs trampled over, hinting that a herd of hippos were right next to our tent! A little scary but exciting nonetheless. We also were awoken one night to the sound of scratching noises on our tent. We never found out what it was but it was freaky!
We had 2 separate twin beds that were covered with a large mosquito net. There weren’t outlets near the bed, but they were located in the center counter area. There was also a big comfy couch in the living area, heating/AC, and yes, an actual tree trunk in the center of the treehouse! This place was AWESOME! This was definitely glamping to the fullest!
Note: the tent is raise above the ground so you aren’t in any real danger when you are inside.
Game Drive (included)
All guests are offered an inclusive game drive, with the option of early morning or evening. Although we HATE waking up early, we opted for the early morning game drive as this is prime time for large feline viewing. We were picked up at our treehouse villa around 6am and taken to the lobby for a quick coffee and snack. We were then off on our game drive through the Zambezi National Park, aka our backyard! We were the only ones on the morning game drive so it was like we had our own little private VIP safari!
The early morning air was crisp and frigid, and we were given blankets and a big heat compress to warm our hands. It was pitch black when we started, but the morning sun soon peaked in warming us up a bit.
Nothing but smiles with our awesome safari guide!
Unfortunately, you aren’t ever guaranteed to see the coveted animals during a game drive and we were a little unlucky that morning. We did, however, get to see endless amounts of Pumba’s, colourful birds, a flock of baboons, and a few crocodiles! I look at it as a warm up of what was to come in Africa!
We stopped along the riverbank where we disembarked from the open air vehicle and took some photos of the surrounding area. Our guide set up a nice little breakfast picnic on the front of his vehicle, consisting of coffee and pastries. Usually on safaris, you cannot get out of the vehicle, so this was really cool to step off onto the sole where wild animals roam! The view was spectacular and we basked in it for a bit before packing up and heading back.
A post shared by 🌍Carey Carpenter🌎Traveler (@carebearabroad) on
River Cruise (included)
You also have an option of a sunrise or sunset river cruise, and we opted for the latter. It turned out to be a great choice! We were treated with wine and cheeses/crackers as we set sail on the river.
We though it was just a river cruise, but we had no idea it was a river cruise game drive! (For that reason, we didn’t bring our cameras and our phone pics didn’t turn out so well…so not many animal pics to show). Our guide stopped in a shallow area and to our surprise we saw our first signs of hippos! We couldn’t help but sing the hungry hungry hippo song! C’mon, you know you would have too!
It was incredible to get up that close to a real live hippo! Let alone a whole pack of them. We were then shocked to learn from our guide that hippos cannot actually swim! WHAT? Ya, I didn’t believe it until i googled it. Talk about doubting Thomas. Apparently they are TOO HEAVY TO SWIM! So they just push their hooves across the bottom of the water. The more you know..
A post shared by 🌍Carey Carpenter🌎Traveler (@carebearabroad) on
The BEST part of the river cruise was on our way back, thinking the cruise was over, we spotted a large herd of elephants drinking water at the river’s edge. Our first elephant siting in the wild brought a flood of emotions and we both had tears in our eyes! Our guide pulled up as close as he could (without disturbing them), and we just observed. It was incredible! The first big animal sighting is something you will never forget!
The newest addition to the lodge is a spa with a spectacular view of the Zambezi River offering massages, manis/pedis, and more. We snuck in a 30 minute massage into our hectic schedules and it was incredible. There is something extra relaxing about getting a massage right on the edge of the peaceful waterfront. It was the perfect way to wind down from all the adrenaline activities we had participated in.
Oh, did I mention Victoria Falls River Lodge will help Plan ALL your adventure activities?
This made it so much less stressful. We were given a little booklet with all the activity info in our rooms so we could get an idea of what we wanted to do. We relayed that to the concierge and he contacted the 3rd party vendors to get all the details. They even arranged a shuttle to transport us (and by shuttle I mean one of their open air safari vehicles!).
The activities we decided on were the gorge swing, the flying fox, Devil’s Pool, and a microlight flight over the falls! You can read all about them in my recent blog post (+video) here, where I coined Victoria Falls the “Mini Adventure Capital of the World”.
Here’s a short YouTube video I made of all the awesome activities we did in Victoria Falls:
We were first dropped off at the entrance to the falls, where we ventured to view the falls up close. Entrance is $30. After that we walked about 5-10 minutes to the Lookout Cafe where they offered most of the high wire activities, including bungee jumping, gorge swing, flying fox, and more!
Tip: make sure you book your activities as far in advance as you can because they do sell out, especially in peak season!
To sum up our 2 days in Victoria Falls River Lodge, my travel partner in crime CareBear Abroad made this awesome video:
PIN for later 🙂
Disclaimer: We were guests of Victoria Falls River Lodge; however, my opinions and AMAZING experience are my own. I would never recommend a place I didn’t truly LOVE. Carebear Abroad and I had a blast!
(Blog post by Crazy Travslista (me!) and video by my travel partner in crime CareBear Abroad) ♥
I am a sucker for boutique hotels, what can I say? I cherish the small, unique, and more personalised feel of staying in a boutique hotel, as opposed to a big chain. When I tell you we found the perfect boutique hotel in Cape Town, we really mean it!
Is it a house, is it a hotel? Who cares, it’s freakin’ awesome!
The Derwent House Boutique Hotel used to be a house. It has since been transformed into the cutest little hotel consisting of only 10 rooms in the main house, as well as 18 self-catering apartments located in the rear of the property next to the pool. It also has a pool plus jacuzzi and great outdoor seating area that would be great for parties. Although we didn’t have much time to try them out, it was nice to have the options. It also was nice to look at from the living room.
It was the perfect little hideaway during our time in Cape Town. Having that “homey” feel in a new city/country is really important!
Oh, and in case you were wondering, it has a perfect 5 star rating on Trip Advisor! I’m not surprised.
That View Though
We were lucky to have a room with a fabulous view of the infamous mountains in Cape Town. We could see both Table Mountain and Lion’s Head from our window and we weren’t expecting that. Such a nice surprise to wake up and pull back the curtains to see these grandiose mountains staring right back at us. With the foggy haze in the backdrop, it was perfect!
The Most Cozy Little Living Room
Th entire guesthouse had a classy interior with pops of color, especially in the living room. The contrasting funky furniture was so pretty we couldn’t stop taking photos of it. The couch was comfy and as soon as we walked in from the frigid nights, it was so inviting, especially with the cute little furnace in the center.
There was one day when it was rainy in the morning so our plans were cancelled. We just sat on the soft couches on our laptops making plans for the day. It was actually really nice to sit back and unwind for a bit.
Friendliest Staff Ever
The staff was super friendly, like to a heightened degree. Luka, the manager, was never seen without a huge smile across his face. He constantly checked in on us to see if we needed anything (but not to an annoying extent). When we were leaving, we mentioned how coffee for the road would be nice. He quickly ran in and ran back out with our coffee to go! The entire staff had a great energy and were always making sure we were having a good time. That definitely didn’t go unnoticed!
What is this honesty bar concept? Well, just like it sounds! The hotel provided many cold drinks, bottled water, beer and wine in the fridge available at all time of the day. You take what you want and mark it down on the list and pay at check out. I’ve never seen something like this in the U.S. before so I thought it was pretty cool! They must be really trusting!
OMG the breakfast! Everything was so nicely displayed I wanted one of each! For coffee, they give you your very own mini French press machine. I thought that was very nice, especially for someone who drinks lots of coffee!
The best part of breakfast were the daily specials. Each morning, we were surprised with a new set of choices. Some of the spicy options included eggs Benedict, chorizo, and Turkish hummus and spices (pictured below on the left).
The quality of food was fantastic and super fresh, it was definitely the highlight of our stay. (You know you’re a little piggy when the food was the best part of your stay haha #noshame).
The one negative was that there were NO gluten free options. This might sound a bit nit-picky, but in a city so extremely gluten-free friendly, this was a bit of a disappointment. I was still able to eat well, however my choices were very limited. There was also no milk alternative for those who are lactose intolerant, so keep that in mind if you have food allergies!
Quiet & Ideal Location
Well, since the hotel used to be a house, it was located in the middle of a residential neighborhood in the trendy Tamboerskloof area. That means it was pretty quiet! It was also right offKloof Street, one of the BEST streets in all of Cape Town for food. They also had plenty of street parking and a few private spots if you rent a car. An extra plus since we had a car!
The city centre and popular Long Street was just a 15 minute walk. The first day when we didn’t have our car yet, it was raining so we took a freakishly cheap Uber ride to the center. I think it ended up being $2. So even if you don’t have a car, it’s super easy and cheap to get around.
Right down the street is a place called Bombay Bicycle. This place is a must! I had the best steak of my life here…and actually might be mybest meal I’ve ever had! The choco-chilli steak isn’t on the menu, but ask for it if you go. The combination of chocolate and spice covering a melt-in-you-mouth tender steak was heavenly! Reservations are required as this place is quite popular!
Other Awesome Features of this Hotel
Super fast wifi-rare to find on the continent of Africa.
Free port and sherry available for guests. Hey, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere, right?
Heating pads under your mattress, for those who like to stay crisp when they sleep.
Free coffee, tea, and snacks all day.
Turn down service nightly with animal shaped chocolates. Because #Africa
Local cellphone to use- we had local SIM cards so we didn’t need this, but I thought it was extremely convenient to offer for guests.
DVD collection and DVD player in rooms. We had a packed schedule and didn’t have time to unwind with a movie, but what a cool idea, huh?
Bathtub with nice bath salts. I don’t care too much for baths, but Carey was super excited for this feature!
Daily weather and events sheet left in room-this was a first for me! Every hotel should provide this if you asked me. We have been spoiled haha.
Secure gate that only they could buzz you in and out. If safety is an issue for you, rest assured the place is very secured! Someone is there 24/7 to buzz you in.
Ok, what we really want to know. How much will this place set you back?
This 4 star hotel will cost you $124 during low season and up to $160 during high season for a standard “Fabulous Room” or self-catering apartment.
Cons (Because not all stays are perfect…)
There was no hot water one night so we had to go to a different room to shower one night. They quickly fixed it the next morning…and also gave us a nice bottle of champagne for the inconvenience.
As I mentioned above, they weren’tvery accommodating for food allergies.
Random, but the bathroom doors were made of stained plexi-glass, so there wasn’t as much privacy as I would have liked. Not a huge deal, but thought I would mention it.
Overall, we had such a great stay here! It was so cozy and we really felt like we were staying in someone’s home! The staff were super friendly and always had the biggest smiles on their faces. Anything we needed, they accommodated very quickly and with a great attitude!
The location was perfect, along with the view, and the breakfast was outstanding! I would recommend this place 100% to anyone going to Cape Town. When I go back, I would never even think abut staying anywhere else.
Note: Carey and I were guests of Derwent House Boutique Hotel during our stay. My opinions, however, remain my own and I am in no way obligated to write a positive review. This place freakin’ rocked and it might just be my new fav boutique hotel! ♥
Nestled between the secluded Sardinian mountains, lined with ancient olive trees and vineyards lies the world-renowned Su Gologone Hotel, an artistic masterpiece. Even if you’re not into art, a walk through the property will surely fester an appreciation for it.
Not only does the hotel reflect the local Sardinian culture, but it is finely crafted with natural elements from the local area, including juniper wood and terracotta. And get this, every piece of art in the hotel was hand-crafted from the owner, Giovanna, herself! Simply incredible.
The property is a lot larger than it looks, yet the spread out design helps it to retain a distinct coziness. There were so many different wings and sections, that you could take a whole afternoon exploring the different areas.
I’m not going to list off the hotel amenities here because I think that’s boring quite frankly. What I will highlight are the aspects of the hotel that really stood out and made it truly a unique place. Ready. Set. Go!
Top 11 Reasons Su Gologone Stood Out from All Other Hotels
1. Art, Art, & More Art
It’s no secret that Su Gologone is an art hotel. The owner, Giovanna and her mother, brought their creative visions to life in this fabulous hotel. Like I mentioned above, staying at this hotel will make you appreciate art a little more, it’s impossible not to!
2. Su Gologone Brings out the Creative in You
They say art stimulates the mind and brings out self expression, and I completely agree! Su Gologone is the perfect place to get away and stimulate the inner creative in you. The hotel offers numerous workshops including painting, sewing, embroidery, origami, cooking, and so much more!
3. Bold Colors Are Easy on the Eyes
I don’t know why but something as simple as color can make me happy. My favorite part of the hotel were the bright hues of color popping out behind every corner. Every little section of the hotel displayed a beautiful color pattern. What’s even more cool is that every decorative item on the hotel property is available for purchase. Score!
4. On-Site Herb Garden
The hotel has its own herb garden with fresh herbs that can be hand picked by the guests and made into an infusion tea! LED lights line the garden at night and it’s really nice to just walk around and admire the scenery. There were also art displays surrounding the herb garden, an unusual yet complementing background for the colorful displays.
5. Secluded Wellness Retreat
The secluded nature of Su Gologone is the perfect setting for a wellness retreat. The hotel has so much to offer to promote fitness & wellness, from the above mentioned fresh herbal teas, to an on-site indoor gym, to yoga classes held on the outdoor terraces, this place has it all! It’s truly a unique place to really get in touch with yourself.
6. My Sweet Suite
“You’ve been upgraded to a suite”. Those magic words we hardly ever hear. I didn’t expect the suite and that just made it more sweet. Ok, I’ll stop. The suite was made up of 2 rooms, and an outdoor balcony with a private jacuzzi. Umm, yes please!
The room oozed with Sardinian character, from the little handmade keychain to the juniper wood beams holding up the ceiling. It was just so adorable. I really liked the little sitting cove overlooking the balcony and I spent most my time there when I was in my room.
7. Nearby Orosei Peninsula
Sardinia is a huge island and everything worth seeing is very spread out. When planning a trip there, you must pick a region on the island and try to stick to that. It would take a month to see all the outstanding beaches on the island, so don’t spread yourself too thin. Su Gologone is in a great spot to explore the Orosei peninsula, one of the most rugged and naturally stunning areas on the island.
I recommend visiting Cala Luna and also Cala Goloritze, one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen in my life. Cala Goloritze requires a 2-hour hike down to the beach, but it is well-worth it. I had the whole beach to myself and was in awe of the rich turquoise waters beating against the white cliffs. It was spectacular! But I would only recommend the hike if you’re in moderate to good shape. It’s not easy!
8. Su Gologone Restaurant
The Su Gologone restaurant is a popular dining spot not just for hotel guests, but is frequented from visitors all over the island. Its reputation precedes itself and its a dinner experience you shouldn’t miss.
Not only was the ambiance alone enough for a visit, the food was outstanding. On the first night, I was really tired from traveling so I went to the lobby, ordered from the menu, and had it delivered to my room. I had the homemade fennel ravioli and it ended up being my favourite meal on the island (they even had a homemade gluten free version for me). After that experience, I came back to the restaurant every night for dinner (and sometimes for lunch). The prices were very reasonable as well.
Reservations are required, even for hotel guests, especially during high season. A restaurant that is booked up every single night speaks for itself! #yumm
9. Terraces To Die For
There are terraces….and then there are Su Gologone terraces. Each decorated in a different theme with a splash of bold green, purple, and pure white, the 3 main terraces were to die for. Each had an amazing view of the property and/or landscape and were the perfect places to relax and get a suntan, or sip on a glass of wine…or both.
I found my fav spot for the sunset..
The Terrace of Dreams was decked out in purple and held once a week stargazing sessions (with telescopes) free to guests! How cool?
10. On-Site Winery (enough said…)
The only thing that could make this gorgeous property any better would be an on-site winery. Are you kidding me? The property has its own winery with tastings and two cellars. Complete heaven if you ask me! I didn’t partake in a tasting, but I had local Sardinian red wine at dinner every night and it was the perfect mixture of full bodied and a touch of sweetness. Just the way I like it!
11. Other Activities Offered
There are literally too many to list and I didn’t have time to try all of them. But what stood out for me was the cinema under the stars, the plethora of outdoor activities on offer nearby such as horseback riding, rafting, nature hikes, and the outdoor pool overlooking the country landscape. There was just so much to do on site of this hotel, that I almost forgot there was a whole beautiful island to explore!
The One Downfall (also a Catch 22)
The one downfall in this hotel was the wifi in the rooms, as it was very weak. I had trouble getting the wifi to work on my iPhone at all until the last day (it worked fine on my computer). It was also a little annoying that the code they give you only lasts 24 hours, so I found myself coming down to the lobby in my PJs late at night asking for a new code. The wifi in the lobby was excellent if you really needed it.
It’s also a catch 22 because this hotel is designed to be a wellness retreat, a secluded place to get in touch with yourself and disconnect with the world. Normally wifi is a huge issue for me because I need it to update the social media as part of my job, but hey, this is one time I let it slide and was actually at peace with it. It’s healthy to allow yourself a break every once in a while.
Overall, this hotel blew me away and I encourage those exploring Sardinia to visit here, even if it’s just to drop by and admire the beauty. The setting deep into the country, the focus on authentic Sardinian culture, the fabulously displayed art, the relaxing terraces, the creative workshops and wellness activities, I can see why this hotel is world renowned and has gotten so much media attention. I can honestly say it’s the most unique, artsy/funky hotel I’ve ever had the pleasure of staying at. This hotel made it to my top 3 favorite hotels ever!
Have you been to Sardinia? What was your favorite part? Do tell, I need some tips for my return!
Liked it? Click photo to PIN IT for later 🙂
♥A special thanks to Su Gologone for hosting me during my stay. All opinions, however, are my own. I don’t bullsh*t and would never recommend somewhere I didn’t truly enjoy!♥
It seems a popular new trend in traveling is shifting toward sustainable tourism.Think traveling with the least amount of harm to the environment as possible. When I found these cozy little luxury huts at L’essenza Sardinia I couldn’t have been more excited to experience it for myself! I’m jumping right on the bandwagon and I hope to find more ecofriendly accommodations in the future.
L’essenza’s key focus is on sustainability and responsible tourism. The ecofriendly property consists of 4 luxury huts, or pinnetos (traditional hut of ancient Sardinian shepherds), each having their own unique color therapy and aromatherapy to stimulate the senses. I had the pleasure of staying in the yellow room which was characterized by the oils of the yellow plant Helichrysum, an anti-inflammatory and fungicidal. The aroma inside the hut was both soothing and calming.
L’essenza Sardinia is located on a hilltop in a secluded setting in the Northeast of Sardinia island. After spending a week on the island, I can confirm that this location was the most ideal and central to all the places I visited. If you really want to “get away from it all”, this is a perfect place to do just that! The property is completely surrounded by nature in a quiet setting, overlooking farmlands, lush olive trees, and the Mediterranean Sea. And I mean, have you ever seen an outdoor living room like this? So cool!
Note: you WILL need a car while staying at this property. In fact, you really need a car to explore the island, as public transportation is highly lacking, especially in the off season.
Luxury Hut Rooms
The unique pinnetos were anything but basic inside. Marina, the owner, designed each room herself each with a special attention to fine detail. The rooms were equipped with (reliable) wifi, an en suite bathroom/shower, queen size bed, desk, clothes rack, and candles to enhance the ambiance in the evenings. The ceilings are finely crafted out of bamboo and give you that sort of outdoor log cabin type feel. The rooms are quite large with lots of space, yet they still retain a nice warmth and cozy aspect to them.
Each morning started out with some fresh made local herbal tea which I drank overlooking the gorgeous panoramic landscape. Both the owner and her daughter are vegans themselves and always had plenty vegan as well as gluten free options for breakfast. I devoured daily vegan butter,vegan cream cheese, homemade jams with toast, home grown fruits and veggies, gluten free pastries, and cereal. Although there were no hot plates such as eggs/bacon offered, there was plenty of variety and I always left feeling stuffed. It was the prefect typical Italian breakfast.
Found this little guy sunbathing outside my window 🙂
If you know me at all, you will know that I am obsessed with cats. Ok, obsessed is an understatement, I am just crazy about them! When I found out that there were around 20 cats living around the property, I was so ecstatic! Luckily for me, one of the cats had kittens on the first morning I was there, and I almost died at the cuteness of newborn tiny kittens. This was the perfect place for a crazy cat lady like me. No shame.
Note: the cats are outdoors and they are NOT allowed inside. So if you are allergic to cats, have no fear, there is no cat hair or dander inside whatsoever. And if you don’t like cats (first off, we can’t be friends), they wont bother you and mostly keep to themselves unless they are summoned to play.
You Will Be Welcomed Into the Family
I may mention this in every review I’ve done so far, but you know what, the PEOPLE are what really makes the experience. PERIOD. I can say it a thousand times. Valeria, the daughter of the owner Marina, helped me plan my trip months in advance and went out of her way to help me with my plans, including renting a car on the island….a dreaded task in Italy.
The family was so nurturing and hospitable and loved to joke around. I was constantly smiling and laughing with them and I felt instantly at home. I felt like I was visiting as a friend, not as a guest. A++ for hospitality!
The Verdict: L’essenza Sardinia
My stay at L’essenza Sardinia was hands-down one of the most unique accommodations I have ever stayed at and I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants something different than your average hotel or Airbnb stay! The setting, the focus on responsible tourism, the cozy/colorful rooms, the hospitality, and of course the kitties. It was all just perfect. And NO, I am NOT obligated to write a positive review by any means. I want future guests to have an honest opinion of my stay and know what to expect. The one negative I will mention is that the road up to the huts was not paved and extremely rocky (and steep in some areas), so just be careful if you’re renting a car that’s low to the ground. I was a little worried I would scratch my car, but it ended up being okay. Also, I had an issue with the hot water, until I was told of the “trick”. You must open the sink and let the hot water run before you turn on the shower water to “open” the hot water pipe. Overall, a unique place with a special attention to details that will leave a lasting impression!
♥A special thanks to L’essenza Sardinia for hosting me during my stay. All opinions, however, are my own. I don’t bullsh*t and would never recommend somewhere I didn’t truly enjoy!♥
Have you ever stayed in a luxury hut? Better yet, have you ever stayed in an ecofriendly property? Please let me know as I would love to add more to my list! 🙂
Last October, I decided to take a mini family trip to Alberobello, Italy, a destination I had been dying to visit for the past 2 years. I desperately wanted to see the unique Trulli of Alberobello, Italy with my own eyes, only to be found in a certain region of Southern Italy. So my little brother, my cousin, and I rented a car and decided to make a stop in Alberobello for a day, as part of our epic Italian road trip, which I’ll write about in a future post. If you ever make it to Puglia, don’t leave without stopping in Alberobello!
Alberobello, Italy: a Trulli Unique Experience
Where is Alberobello?
Alberobello is located in the Puglia region of Southern Italy, in the “heel” of the boot. Puglia has become one of my favourite regions in Italy, and I highly recommend a visit here. It is definitely more rugged and less structured than other parts of Italy, but that means less tourists and a more raw Italian experience.
What’s So Special about Alberobello?
Alberobello is famous for its traditional cone-shaped white-washed housing carved from limestone. The Trulli of Alberobello are so distinctive and unique that they were coined a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.
Viewing the Trulli from above as a storm is brewing in the depths
Quick History of the Trulli
The Trulli originated in Alberobello back in the 14th century. The Trulli were strategically built to throw off the government to hide under the law and evade taxes, so they were meant to look like an “uninhabited settlement”. For this reason, the Trulli were built without mortar so they could easily be disassembled quickly if needed. The clever things people do to avoid taxes. Ha!
What it’s Like to Stay in an Actual Trullo
We found our awesome Trullo on AirBnb for $80/night. Today, trulli are a popular accommodation type in this region and are fully functional with electricity and plumbing. Our specific trullo had 2 bedrooms and could sleep up to 5 people. It had a super cozy feel to it and everything inside seemed a bit miniature.
It was a 5 minute drive from town so a car was necessary. I’m so glad we decided to stay in a Trullo a little outside the city because we had a HUGE yard filled with olive trees and vineyards. Plus, we had the entire property to ourselves! An added bonus.
If you’re interested, here is the Airbnb listing here. If you’re new to Airbnb, use my coupon for $20USD off!
There aren’t a whole lot of activities in Alberobello, it’s just one of those places you come to see and experience for yourself. It’s truly like nowhere else in the world and it’s fun to just wander the streets. There are a few museums, souvenir shops, restaurants, and a bunch of liqueur tasting spots. I can’t say we didn’t do a little bit of our own “liqueur crawl”. Don’t worry, we bought a few bottles as well, to support the local community.
♥Have a Mini Photo Shoot♥
Alberobello is very Instagram friendly, and there are endless amounts of photo ops around every corner. We spent a good hour just goofing off and taking some silly photos.
♥Try the Local Coffee♥
Caffe Leccesse, one of the BEST coffees you will ever drink. Period. My mouth is still watering.
Where to Eat in Alberobello, Italy
Casa Nova il Ristorante-We really enjoyed this restaurant as it had a cave-like vibe being underground. We were surprised at the exceptional service as 2 waiters served us with the utmost respect. The food was really tasty, and they even had some gluten-free pastas and bread for me as well! They also gave us some appetizers for free! Oh, and the best part was the whole entire bottle of Limoncello they gave us to try at the end. I highly recommend this place if you’re in town.
Secret Find in Alberobello
As it started to storm during our day in Alberobello, we ran into this cute little shop called Il Ricardino where they had wine tastings for 1€ a cup. The owner Georgina has owned the place for 50 years and she was so friendly and awesome! She came to drink with us and played some fun Italian music so we could all dance. Then she insisted we all take a “selfie” together. Such a sweet lady!
Cheers to discovering this cute little spot with our own chill out attic
The best part of this little shop was the tiny attic in the roof of the trullo, where there was a little chill out spot where we could relax and sip our wine. It was so cozy and authentic and this was a highlight of our time there. If you’re in Alberobello, make sure to stop at this shop and take a selfie with Georgina! It will make her very happy.
Here is her FaceBook page if you’re interested in visiting.
How to Get to Alberobello
By Car-Having a car in this region of Italy is highly recommended, especially if you want to rent a Trullo with some land away from the city. We rented a car from Bari and it took about an hour to get there.
By Train– you can reach Alberobello on a direct train route from the 2 major ports nearby, Bari and Brindisi. It will take about 1.5 hours from Bari and 1 hour from Brindisi. Check the Trenitalia website for timetables.
How Long do I need in Alberobello?
Honestly, one day and one night is all you need as there isn’t a whole lot to do activity-wise. But I must stress, you shouldn’t come to Alberobello without staying in your own Trullo! It’s one of those once-in-a-lifetime unique experiences that you shouldn’t pass up. When in Rome, right?
Book ahead as they to sell out in the high season.
When to Visit the Trulli of Alberobello
Going to Alberobello in October means you have the whole town all to yourself 🙂
Early spring or late fall is the best time to visit the Trulli of Alberobello, Italy, when there are virtually no crowds. We went in October and had almost the entire town to ourselves, which made it extra special.
Have you been to Alberobello or stayed in a Trulli? Was it everything you expected? I want to hear your thoughts!