With white sandy beaches, rustic local cuisine and a perfect climate, this island might just be the perfect summer destination
Just two hours from the UK, Sardinia is an island that combines the best of Italy – great hospitality, guaranteed sunshine with a cool coastal breeze, and superb food- but without the stress and queues of the mainland. It’s blessed with an array of white sandy beaches, picturesque prehistoric villages and plunging cliffs as well as great shopping. As the second largest island in the Mediterranean after Sicily, it’s traditionally popular with Italians as well as the international jet-set who flock to the Northeastern coast during the summer months. But provided you stay outside the main glitzy hot spots such as Costa Smeralda, it can be both affordable and relaxed for a spring/summer break.
Visit anytime between May and late September, when you can expect reliably sun-filled days and pleasantly warm evenings. But expect it to be busier in August when much of Italy closes down for the holidays and naturally thousands head for the island’s beautiful beaches to unwind for the month.
The award-winning hotel Chia Laguna Resort, which has just undergone a 60 million pound renovation in time for its re-opening in May 2017. Consistently voted one of the best hotels in Europe its location is difficult to beat in terms of natural beauty. Perched atop a rugged hillside with mountainous views, it is just five minutes away from the golden sands of the beautiful Dune di Campana Beach, which boasts the clearest calm turquoise waters, and sand dunes, the top of which offer unparalleled views of the picturesque coastline. Don’t be surprised if you see a flock of flamingos as you drive up the winding road on your arrival – the hotel is fringed by a stunning lagoon where they can be seen roaming around in their hundreds. Its truly unique.
The resort has four very different hotels including the main two – the Five Star Hotel Laguna geared towards couples and the Four Star family friendly Hotel Village – a collection of villas. It also has the Hotel Baia and the Hotel Spazia. The collection of properties with a total of five pools and 9 restaurants also share a central square (piazza degli Ulivi) which has a great atmosphere in the evening when guests gather to watch the live entertainment or mill around the quaint boutiques, ice cream deli (to die for!) and café bar. Whether you opt for a traditional room, suite or cottage with self-catering, all boast well designed living spaces that are light, modern and airy.
Its the sheer range of facilities at Chia Laguna that is truly outstanding. As well as daily fitness programme including Tennis, cycling, golf, riding, yoga and water aerobics in the sea lead by the rather impressive muscle bound instructor Marco, there is beautiful spa with jaw-dropping panoramic views of the entire coast and a huge range of treatments including Turkish baths, and local salt-water therapy. The refurb also includes an impressive new semi-Olympic swimming pool. If you’re travelling with kids, you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere that offers such a full programme of activities. The main draw is the football academy, which runs coaching sessions lead by professional players including premiership football legends Andy Cole, Darren Anderton and Yannick Bolasie. There is also a daily kids club offering a host of arts and sports activities, and a dance academy to keep them occupied so parents can fully relax. As if that wasn’t enough, every night sees a different live show in the open-air theatre in the square – from fully choreographed cabaret to music concerts.
You really must:
Make a trip to the spa to try the signature detoxifying Salt Massage at the spa followed by the Sea Heaven Ritual, which finishes with a head and foot balancing treatment, which will left us totally energised. After your treatment take a few minutes to savour the serenity of the spa’s impressive outdoor rooftop infinity pool with views of the entire coast. Simply amazing.
Make sure you sample at least one long lazy lunch at the fabulous beachside restaurant Le Dune, which serves a great selection of authentic rustic Italian dishes. From the fresh lightly grilled daily catch with seasonal vegetables to home made fresh pasta specials and wood oven pizzas, everything we tried here was excellently made using the freshest ingredients and was bursting with flavour.
Experience the natural beauty of the area by exploring the rugged coastline and local nature trails on horseback or by bike, both available through the hotel.
Finally, make sure you savour one of their signature aperitifs such as a cold Aperol Spritz in the village square at sunset while you watch the evening performers warming up for the nightly entertainment on the main stage.
Sardinia’s two main airports are Cagliari Elmas in the South, and Olbia in the north. Chia Laguna is one hour’s drive (approx 50KM) from Calgiari, which is served, well by British Airways and Easy Jet with flights starting at around £120 return from London.
Rates at Chia Laguna’s Hotel Village (four star) start from £276 per night per room on a half-board basis, while rates at Chia Laguna’s Hotel Laguna (five star) start from £512 per night per room on a half-board basis.