Italy is filled with amazing hotels, large and small, from budget to seriously expensive. One of the best places to stay is in what’s called an “Albergo Diffuso.” This type of hotel, found across Italy, means what its name implies, a diffused or scattered hotel (“albergo” means hotel). Usually set in small towns, these are boutique hotels where the accommodations are spread out across different (usually historic) buildings throughout the town. The concept was developed in the 1980s to draw tourists to less-visited towns and areas.
On my recent adventure to the Italian island of Sardinia, I had a chance to stay at a few of these very special places. This video shows a tour of my suite at the Hotel Mannois Albergo Diffuso in the small town of Orosei.
What is an Albergo Diffuso?
To be considered an Albergo Diffuso, a property must first be individually owned and operated. Second, they must offer the usual range of hotel amenities and services. Third, they must be situated in a small town or village within historic buildings. Exceptions are made for architecturally significant construction. The properties must have a central reception area and offer food. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, they must be a part of the local community and enable their guests to be a part of it as well.
This Albergo Diffuso was in Orosei, a small town in the eastern part of the island. It features 50 different rooms and suites, spread out along the alleyways of this typical, picturesque Sardinian village.
My Suite (house)
I had Suite 1, which was really a small, multi-level house. The front door opened to the hotel’s courtyard, where breakfast is served each morning. You walked up a flight of stairs to the main level, where there was a large entrance foyer, a bathroom, a huge living room / parlor and a large bedroom. The bedroom had a small princess balcony which looked out over the small village and faced a church. The living room had a couch as a well as a full dining room set.
The highlight of the suite was another flight of stairs away, an enormous, private rooftop terrace, also overlooking the city’s rooftops. In the other direction you could see the low mountains that are present in the interior of the island.
To get to Sardinia, I flew Air Italy’s foodie-friendly Business Class service via their hub in Milan. Air Italy is based on Sardinia and started as a holiday airline flying people there. They’re now an international airline and I flew on one of their direct flights from LAX. They also offer direct service to Milan from New York, San Francisco and Miami. It was an hour flight to Sardinia from Milan. We flew into Olbia, and flew out of Cagliari, the island’s main and capital city.