An immediate sense of calm descends on us as we arrive at Forte Village in southern Sardinia, a short, 40-minute drive from Cagliari airport. The resort is a mix of modern and traditional buildings set across 50 hectares of luscious gardens where palm trees tower over winding pathways lined with brilliant pink bougainvillea.
The surrounding Foresta Demaniale di Pixinamanna National Park hugs Forte Village between its mountains and the calm, aquamarine Tyrrhenian Sea to create a serene, tropical micro-climate, perfect for sun chasers like us.
When we visit, it’s early May, before the half-term rush — the perfect time to enjoy the resort at a more relaxed pace. Accommodation ranges from five five-star and three four-star hotels to quaint bungalows. If your budget allows, there are 13 breathtaking, high-spec villas, complete with private pools, plus 40 suites.
Our sprawling, beach-side suite is designed in a traditional style with a super-king bed that enjoys unobstructed views through the balcony doors that overlook the beach, two floors down. That night we sleep with the curtains open to watch the stars, and the next morning, we enjoy the magnificent sight of the sun rising out of the sea.
The resort has nearly 20 restaurants to choose from. Its notable chefs include Massimiliano Mascia, winner of two Michelin stars, and Heinz Beck, recipient of three. As it’s off-season, not all the restaurants are available, so we alternate between the five-star Cavalieri buffet, the Pizzeria and Le Dune, which offers an à la carte menu and overlooks the sea. On my other half’s birthday, we visit the Wine Bar, where the resident sommelier treats us to a divine selection of local wines accompanied by a superb Parmesan.
Activities are as adventurous as your energy levels can cope with. On day two, we cycle on hotel mountain bikes to Pula, a small town south of Forte Village, where we follow the ancient coastal Roman road that winds along the deep-red cliffs and down steep inclines to reveal incredible views of a radiant blue sea below.
The next day, we take a spin around the go-karting track. If you’re sporty, more challenging activities offered include fencing. Instead, we head to the resort’s Acquaforte Thalasso & Spa.
One of the world’s first thalassotherapy spas, Forte Village revolutionised the industry with the concept of detoxing through a series of pools of varying salinity. Beginning with the hottest — a 38-degree, open-air bath of magnesium salts you can float in — the six pools gradually cool you back down until the last bath of pure seawater at a cosy 26 degrees. On day three, we treat ourselves to the private pool experience next door, lunching on fresh fruits and juices as we enjoy the solitude.
We close our long weekend back at the spa for its signature honey and salt body massage, which sends us home well and truly rejuvenated.