Hotel Panorama, Olbia - Review
About Hotel Panorama
Hotel Panorama is a modern four-star city-centre hotel in Olbia, a port and airport town on the north-eastern coast of Sardinia. The hotel is in a convenient location and boasts parking, a wellness centre and a panoramic rooftop terrace. I stayed at the hotel in September 2011.
Booking and arrival
The hotel offered competitive prices when I carried out a booking search for Olbia, and I booked two nights in a double room for myself and my mother at 79 euros per night.
We arrived in Olbia by bus, and after some initial brief confusion in orienting ourselves, we followed our guidebook map towards the hotel (directions below), which was easy to find, and nearer than expected. We were greeted warmly by several staff members behind reception, who all seemed to be falling over themselves to welcome us. Having confirmed we wanted twin beds, we were taken to the lift by one of the receptionists, who whisked us up to show us the hotel's sixth-floor roof terrace, with views over Olbia, of which they are very proud. After admiring this, we were then accompanied to our room on the second floor.
Our hotel bedroom
Our room was a large twin room, with muted cream décor combined with red and gold fabrics. The room had a wooden floor which was a bit squeaky and occasionally slightly slippery. It was situated on the corner of the building, so we had two windows with different outlooks, thoguh the views were only of narrow lanes and overgrown roofs. Furnishings were decent quality and included a large dramatic mirror with coathooks, a large desk with a chair, two bedside tables with storage space, effective air-conditioning, a large safe, a wardrobe with too few, fixed hangers, a marble-topped suitcase stand, a mini-bar and a large flat-screen TV. There was a good selection of electricity sockets, and the room had a welcome range of lighting options, unlike many dimly-lit hotel rooms.
Our bathroom was large, with twin basins, lots of room for toiletries and a good big shower. There were plenty of white towels, though one was a little threadbare and we would have appreciated more rails to hang the towels on. The hairdryer was attached to the wall and was rather awkward to use, requiring constant pressure on the 'on' button. We had a fair toiletry selection.
The cleaner came in and tidied and cleaned remarkably effectively while we were at breakfast. There weren't the extras provided in some Italian four-star hotels - tissues, body lotion, a turndown service - but the hotel's offering was nonetheless good for its category. The room was quiet at night, and I never heard other guests coming or going.
Public spaces and roof terrace
The hotel's roof terrace was furnished with sunloungers, sofas and tables - not a huge space, but an attractive one. The terrace had wonderful views over the city, the surrounding hills and out over the port and bay to the steep island of Tavolara. We saw a plane descending to the airport, and a cruise ship departing. A couple of guests sunbathed; we sat in the shade and the helpful hotel staff brought drinks upstairs for us.
On the ground floor the hotel had a lounge area with comfortable seating, as well as the breakfast room which doubled as a bar. There is also a wellness centre in the hotel, with a fixed price for a specified length of time. The hotel offers free wi-fi internet access to guests.
Breakfast was served from 7.30 until quite late, and on arrival the receptionist assured us that it could be arranged even earlier at our request. The breakfast room was a good-sized space on the ground floor. Breakfast consisted of a typical Italian buffet, with a few extra additions for foreign guests. Hot drinks were served by a smiley waiter - everyone at this hotel seemed overjoyed to help us. The range of food and drink on offer included warm chocolate croissants, a choice of cakes, fresh and tinned fruit, fruit salad, yoghurts, bacon and scrambled eggs, cold meats including mini frankfurters, cherry tomatoes, celery sticks, carrot sticks, good crusty bread rolls, the usual packaged stuff and watery fruit juice.
Directions / location
The hotel is only a short walk (five to ten minutes) from the railway station and airport/inter-city bus stops. Buses stop in Via Mameli, by a level crossing where a railway crosses a road junction. From this junction, take Corso Umberto, a shopping street leading gently uphill. This leads up into Piazza Margherita, a pleasant little square lined with cafes and shops. Cross the square heading right, and take Via Romana, one of the narrow parallel lanes on the other side of the piazza. The hotel is easy to find, with its entrance on Via Mazzini, a side street between the parallel lanes. There was a decent unpretentious trattoria over the road (Da Paolo) featuring local specialities on its menu, and plenty of other restaurants and bars within a few minutes' walk. The interesting part of central Olbia is quite compact and the hotel is very centrally placed for exploring on foot.
Impressions and recommendation
Hotel Panorama offered very good value for money; providing four-star service and facilities in an extremely convenient location. We appreciated the extra-friendliness of the staff and their helpful attitudes. The roof terrace made a lovely place to sit in the afternoon, after sightseeing, and the central location meant our onward journey was easy. Although Olbia does have some other well-rated hotels, I think for most of the year the roof terrace would weight the scales in favour of the Panorama. Unless prices were to increase dramatically, this would be the hotel I'd choose on a return visit to Olbia, and I'd recommend it to any category of traveller.
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