Localita Montepetrosu Ss125 Comune San TeodoroSan Teodoro, Italy -See the map
Amy AdejokunSection editor
Once a Club Marmara hotel, the Grande Baia Resort is a relatively new hotel that benefits from a prime location facing the sea and the island of Tavolara. This vast resort may not be to the liking of those who prefer charming little establishments, but it does have some real attributes to satisfy fans of the all-inclusive package and more specifically families.
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The Grande Baia is not an easy place to find. Halfway between Porto San Paolo and San Teodoro, it is accessed via a side road that runs off the main coastal road. Olbia Airport is around 13 mi north of the hotel.
The resort's immediate surroundings consist of unspoilt countryside with the sea as its backdrop. This is a beautiful place for walks along the cliffs and the beach. The only downside is that outside of the resort, there are absolutely no bars, restaurants or shops within walking distance.
The guest rooms are the hotel's principal attribute. The establishment has a total of 286 guest rooms, 118 of which are apartments with their own kitchenette and sitting room. The apartments are a long way away from the main areas of activity, which can prove rather laborious at times as some of the paths in the resort are incredibly steep. This is definitely something to bear in mind for those who have difficulty getting around! On the upside, some of the apartments do benefit from a very tranquil setting and afford a superb view of the sea and the island of Tavolara. Measuring between 45 and 60m², the apartments can accommodate up to 4 people thanks to the sofa bed in the sitting area. Some of the apartments have two bathrooms, while others have just one.
Spacious, well-furnished, well-equipped, modern, and featuring a minimalist decor, the 168 guest rooms are really very pleasant. All of the usual amenities are provided, including a flat-screen television, a safe, individual air-conditioning and a hair-dryer. Unfortunately, there is no Internet apart from the Wi-Fi Internet connection available at reception. There is also the added bonus that all of the rooms have their own bathroom with both a shower and a bathtub. What's more, they all even have their own little terrace.
The 30 suites here can accommodate up to 6 people comfortably, especially since they have two bathrooms. It is an excellent option for families.
Located on an esplanade, the reception overlooks the entire hotel, which gently slopes down towards the sea. The hotel grounds are very vast so accessing some of the rooms can prove difficult. This especially goes for the 118 apartments that are located furthest away in the scrubland. The 168 guest rooms, located in the main part of the hotel, are slightly easier to access. With two swimming pools, a large spa, a kids club with its own paddling pool and playground, two bars, and a multi-sports field, it's safe to say the resort is well-equipped. Given that the Grande Baia only opened in 2010, the advantage is that the facilities are still modern and in excellent condition. Above all, though, it's the view of the sea from almost everywhere in the resort and the refreshing sense of space that guests notice most about this establishment.
Unlike the accommodation, the restaurant is far from being one of the Grande Baia's best attributes. We found the fact that there is just one buffet restaurant serving the three meals of the day for an establishment that can accommodate up to 800 holidaymakers very limited indeed! All the more so since there are no alternatives outside of the hotel that are easy to reach. The huge dining room is quite sombre and noisy, but the decor and the setting are pleasant and the majority of the tables are set for just 4 people, which does give you that little bit of privacy. Plus, the restaurant has a large terrace set up with tables where there is also a grill and pizza area.
Between 10:00am and 6:00pm, the snack bar next to the main swimming pool is open for guests to grab a light bite to eat. Once a week in the high season, the hotel organises a barbecue evening with music down on the beach.
If it's a refreshing drink you're after, there is a bar next to the main swimming pool and another one on the roof. Situated above reception, at the hotel's highest point, it affords a magnificent view. Finally, there is also a lounge bar near the spa but unfortunately it is not included in the resort's all-inclusive offer, meaning guests will have to pay extra for anything they order here.
The closest beach to the Grande Baia, the 'Spiaggia La Pipara' (La Pipara beach), is superb but it is a good walk from some of the rooms and is rather small considering the number of people it attracts, meaning it is always busy. Holidaymakers staying in the guest rooms and apartments closest to this beach will have to walk just 600 metres to reach it, but for the rest it's nearly a half mile along a dusty path. To make up for this, the club provides a shuttle service in the form of a large golf cart. It leaves from reception and makes two stops inside the resort before heading to the beach. This can still be rather arduous however, especially since there are no toilets down on the beach (just deckchairs and parasols).
That being said, the water is crystal clear and the setting is stunning. There is also the option of two other beaches, situated on either side of La Pipara beach, which are just as, if not more, beautiful and a little less crowded.
Among the many organised excursions for guests is a boat trip to the island of Tavolara.