Posted by Danielle Harvey on 13 November 2023
Louise Prance enjoys her inaugural visit to Italy, discovering the delights of Sardinia with a stay at the impressive Forte Village...
For many, when you think 'honeymoon' you think white sands, clear seas, sunshine and an abundance of rest and relaxation. But, if you're anything like me, sometimes you need a little bit more – enter Forte Village, Sardinia. A self-confessed travel addict with eternal wanderlust, I'm ashamed to say that my recent visit to Sardinia was my virgin voyage to Italy. And what an error or judgement that was. Just a hop, skip and a very short two-hour flight from the UK it was clear from touch down that Sardinia lived up to the Italian dream stereotype and then some.
RESPLENDENT IN ITS BEAUTY
Those looking for the aforementioned honeymoon vision of sun, sea and sand would be hard pushed to beat this beautiful destination. Giving off Greek island vibes, Sardinia is resplendent in its beauty, with the softest white beaches, dream-like crystal clear oceans, and an impressive history – there are Roman ruins at archaeological site Nora and a network of underground grottos some 530 million years old at the Caves of Is Zuddas, to explore. And of course, there's the food. With Italy known for its cuisine, Sardinia didn't disappoint, and neither did the culinary offerings at Forte Village – a resort set in a whopping 50 acres in the South of Sardinia.
While of course exploring the island is a must-do recommendation, when you stay at Forte Village, you really won't feel like you've missed out if you decide to stay put. Village by name, village by nature, the resort emulates a quintessential small Italian town, with residents getting around either by foot or on the quaint bikes provided, where the 21 restaurants (with three boasting Michelin stars) being just the beginning of what's on offer. For me, the focus on health and fitness was an instant draw, there are, wait for it, a whopping 11 pools, a gym, tennis club – the resort offers exciting events such as lessons with tennis legends – football pitches, boxing arena and climbing wall – which induced a severe bout of FOMO from my climbing-obsessed partner back in the UK. If that's not enough, there's a plethora of fitness classes available in the 'FIT-ZONE' including the likes of HIIT and yoga.
A FOCUS ON FUN
The focus on fun doesn't stop at the exercise offerings, with there being something for all the family. Heading off on a Familymoon? The kids club feels like a separate resort in itself with its own swimming pool, Mario's Village and, my personal favourite, life-sized Barbie Dreamhouse. Fancy some family activities to enjoy together? The on-site Go Karting and Bowling tick that box nicely.
Back to newlywed life, Forte Village's spa is its shining glory. Loved by the Italian National Football Team, the Thalassotherapy Circuit was perhaps one of the most memorable spa experiences I've ever had. Offering six Thalasso pools, the circuit is designed to follow a pre-designed route to generate optimum health benefits. My personal favourite? Pool number one was a magnesium-heavy sea oil pool heated to a balmy 38c. Wearing an inflatable neck pillow you're encouraged to simply float in the water, which is effortless thanks to the high salinity. I challenge anyone to leave the pool after the recommended 20 minutes feeling anything other than heavenly. The further five pools offer similar blissful experiences, which were only surpassed by the spa treatment I received after. The treatment rooms are set amongst the trees in a private tropical garden, with floor-to-ceiling (one-way) windows providing an awe-inspiring setting. My full body mud treatment left me feeling rejuvenated and relaxed, ready to take on another day in paradise
The endless fitness, spa, food and activity choices aren't the only things you'll no doubt have the pleasure of deciding upon at Forte Village, with the accommodation options as wonderfully expansive as the rest of the resort offerings. There are a selection of hotels, suites and bungalows dotted around, each with their own restaurant and pool. The decision between beach front, private garden, terrace, or balcony is where the difficulty will end, with each choice being as decadent as the next. My private garden bungalow was the perfect place to relax in my own space, being just a stone's throw from the white sandy beach and breakfast restaurant.
LOOKING FOR MORE?
For me, a getaway is not complete without a water-based excursion, and Sardinia offers ocean activities galore. However, always up for trying something new, I jumped at the chance to be taken out on a Jeep safari up the Monte Santo di Pula. Led by a knowledgeable guide, we bumped our way to the top of the mountain to take in some wow-factor views. We were then met by local Shephard Roberto, who did a demonstration under the forest canopy of how his family continue to make pecorino the traditional way. Coupled with some delicious red wine and authentic Italian fare, it was a memorable experience. It's safe to say that Italy didn't disappoint, with the Sardinian town of Cagliari being a wonderful final destination to explore. And while it may have been my first venture to the country, it certainly won't be my last. Intoxicated by the setting, people, food and culture, Sardinia, and Forte Village, is a destination that should rank highly on your honeymoon shortlist.
S.S. 195 Km.39.600 (09050)
Sardegna T: +44 (0)709218818