Le Dune Resort & Spa: the perfect welcome for weary travellers
I usually know whether I’m going to like a place by the welcome we receive on arrival. You can be in the swankiest, most luxurious hotel in the world but if you arrive and feel lost or unwelcome it’s not going to be an enjoyable stay.
We arrived at Le Dune 11 hours later than planned due to some flight issues. We’d been up since 4am and it was almost midnight. We were hungry, tired and feeling irritable after having to wear face masks most of the day.
On arrival we were greeted with very cheerful staff, the promise of a dinner being brought to our room and the suggestion that we do the bare minimum for check in and return in the morning for the welcome info.
We got our keys, were shown to our ozone cleaned room, we were served a delicious cold dinner of salads, meats, fish, breads and fruit (at midnight!) and we slept…
After breakfast the same member of staff greeted me at reception and talked me through everything we needed to know about the hotels, pools, restaurants and activities. Information I definitely wouldn’t have taken in the night before.
An overview of Le Dune Resort & Spa, Sardinia
Le Dune is a ‘village’ of sorts with 5 hotels and pools, a multitude of restaurants and even a little parade of shops. Facilities like the kids club, tennis courts and equestrian centre are shared between the hotels. It is situated right by the beach but because the site is so big you don’t get the feeling of it being coastal. You can’t see the sea from many places on site; although there’s a restaurant right on the sea front with sunset views.
We visited just as the 14 day quarantine rules to and from Italy were relaxed and there were almost no other Brits there. The hotel usually has 1500 guests at capacity and the week we stayed they had 500. Running at a third capacity they had closed one of the hotels within the complex but everything else was open, but sometimes with a slightly reduced service. While the hotel was running at 30% capacity, I have to say the staff we giving 110%! They were absolutely excellent, from reception to the kids club and the restaurants.
The pools at Le Dune Resort & Spa
Each pool has a lifeguard although they tend to take a break from 1-3pm.
The pools are all quite different and as a hotel guest you can visit any pool apart from Le Sabine which is reserved just for the Sabine guests (Sabine is the luxury accommodation on site). My personal preference was the Le Palme.
We started in I Ginepre pool as that’s where we were staying. It’s a little rough around the edges; quite literally the floor and walls were so rustic they were very rough to touch. My girls both scraped their feet so badly they bled which was not fun on day one of our holiday. My tough old feet we’re absolutely fine though!
We moved round to The Palme pool later in the day and much preferred it. The pool has a slightly more modern design with a safer shallow end for the kids to play in. My girls can swim fine but it’s nice to know they have a very shallow end to hang out in without us having to have an eagle eye on them constantly in case they get tired of treading water. Around the pool is an open space, with manicured gardens and the accommodation just peaking through behind the giant bamboo and deep purple bougainvillea. The Ginepre pool has more of a ‘hidden in the forest’ vibe being surrounded by pine and juniper trees.
Both these pools are huge for swimming in and there were always plenty of sun beds available. I don’t know how representative this is of visiting in normal times – due to Covid-19 the sun beds must be more spaced out (ie fewer sun beds) but they are only running at 30% capacity. But as things were we had plenty of space and never needed to compete for a bed.
There are 2 Baby pools – both very shallow splash pools and one with water falls and jets to play in. Mine have sadly outgrown the super shallow pools now but if I had a toddler it would be a lovely place to hang out as little ones can comfortable run in and out the water, playing their heart’s content.
Activities and Entertainment at Le Dune Resort & Spa
There is a daily schedule for kids and adults. There are tennis lessons, yoga classes and aqua aerobics available daily for adults and kids have a busy schedule with the kids club alongside football and tennis lessons – if they can stand the heat that is. We had temperatures of over 40ºc some days. Phew!!
The kids club started off strong at Le Dune as Monday morning’s activity was horse riding at the equestrian centre! The girls were over the moon. We walked up there too to spy on them and it felt just like we were on a ranch in the ‘Wild West’ with desert, cactuses (cacti?) and horses. Other than this activity though there wasn’t a huge amount going on there (I think due to Covid restrictions) so the girls spent almost every waking moment in the pools!
The kids disco after dinner was perfect for getting all the kids on the dance floor in the central Piazetta. As the adult live music took over the kids club team opened up the flood lit giant play area and go kart track for the children to entertain themselves. It’s very well thought out for families of all ages with a separate area for older kids to play arcade games, pool and table football.
Accommodation at Le Dune Resort & Spa
There’s a range of hotels within the resort to suit different budgets. We stayed in the I Ginepre hotel which was the lower end of the price range and the layout of the suite was great for us. It is spacious with plenty of storage. The kids had a single bed each in the living space and we grown ups had our own separate room. The bathroom was a good size with 2 sinks and a shower. No bath, which we might have missed had our girls been younger and not so happy in the shower.
I decided to go with the lower priced option because outside of the room all the facilities are shared and so long as our room is well laid out and clean I don’t mind so much about the decor.
All the accommodation is single or double story suites and rooms. There’s no high rise in sight here!
Eating at Le Dune Resort & Spa
Most people staying at Le Dune are either half board or full board.
Breakfast is a buffet eaten in your hotel’s restaurant. I don’t know what the other hotels options were like but we had the very typical continental options paired with a hot food buffet including eggs, bacon and sausages.
You have 3 options for lunch:
- The pool bars: each Pool bar serves the same selection of sandwiches and light snacks and salads.
- The spaghetti restaurant on the beach for pasta dishes
- The main lunch restaurant for a full 3 course lunch including your wine. This is where you’ll likely eat if you choose full board.
You have plenty of options for your evening meal. Our favourite was the pizzeria serving a buffet antipasti followed by your choice of pizza. If you need gluten-free you request it at the time of booking at reception. Other options included a traditional Sardinian restaurant, traditional Mediterranean and the Italian restaurant. For full and half board guests the evening meals all include water and wine.
The location of Le Dune Resort & Spa
An hour and a half from Olbia Airport, Le Dune is situated on Badesi beach also known as Le Junchi. It’s a long stretch of golden sand with an area reserved for hotel guests. It’s actually on quite a steep sandy hill and it’s not the deepest beach we’ve been on. We found far prettier bays when driving around Northern Sardinia.
There’s nowhere within walking distance to visit and it’s not great as a jumping off point to explore Northern Sardinia. The roads are slow and steep and it takes a long time to get around. The nearest town is Badesi. We were advised not to bother going there as there’s nothing to see. We did stop there for the ATM on our way out on our sightseeing trip.
To see any local life you’ll need to get a taxi or hire a car. Hiring a car is expensive, working out at almost €100 for a 24 hour period. We crammed a lot of sightseeing in to one day to make the most of the car hire. Castelsardo to the West and Isola Rossa to the East – both around a 15-20 minutes drive are nice to visit. You can read more about our exploration of the local areas here.
The resort is great if you’re looking for somewhere to settle down for some R&R. There’s enough variety of restaurants to keep you from getting bored over the course of a week and you can vary your pools too. If you need some away from your littles the kids club staff are incredible with the children and will definitely keep them well entertained while you have a well-earned break.
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