Forte Village, on the sun-drenched Sardinian coastline, offers a truly unforgettable experience for families.
Travelling with children can be a tricky and tiring task, but imagine a resort that actively helps you to become a more relaxed parent by thinking of every little detail, and removing all the stress. Forget frazzled and anxious, think patient, proactive, smiling and calm: all possible for mums and dads at Forte Village, a 50-hectare utopia in southern Sardinia, where every vacation dream is met and happiness is pretty much guaranteed from the moment you arrive.
With dozens of sports and activities, a leading spa and Michelin-starred food, everyone’s holiday checklist can be smoothly navigated at this five-star haven. Citizen Enfants checked in to find out more.
WHAT TO PACK FOR YOU
For the past 24 years, Forte Village has been named the ‘World’s Leading Resort’ at the World Travel Awards, and it really is no surprise. A go-to for Europe’s rich and famous, it maintains that tricky balance of all-encompassing luxury with a welcoming family feel. It helps that the vast destination, just 45 km from Sardinia’s capital Cagliari, really does have it all – a pristine white-sand beach lapped by crystal-clear waters, 11 freshwater and seawater swimming pools, sumptuous dining and a packed sport and activity schedule. Even the hot Sardinian climate feels fresher amid the dense canopy of tropical gardens and palm trees. For busy families looking to redress the daily juggle, all ages have been considered and are given the space and freedom to relax, enjoy and bond.
The Food + Drink
Oh the food! With 21 restaurants, from bountiful buffets to fine dining, which include both Italian and world cuisine, even the most discerning palette will be satisfied and with excellent children’s menus and a welcoming atmosphere, little guests will be happy too. There is even a special children’s restaurant, dedicated to younger tastes with simple, yet delicious options. Central to each menu are the locally-sourced, fresh ingredients, many grown in the resort’s own kitchen gardens. Its culinary reputation has drawn some of Europe’s most-celebrated chefs, including Heinz Beck, Massimiliano Mascia and Carlo Cracco. There is something to tempt all tastes, from sushi and cocktails accompanied by tropical beats at the Tahiti-inspired Tiki Beach to culinary refinement at the elegant Belvedere, where guests dine on dishes conjured up by Michelin-starred Giuseppe Molaro, all served on a treetop terrace overlooking lush palms. There is also plenty of opportunity to sample glorious Italian cuisine. One of the highlights is the beachside romance of La Terrazza San Domenico, where two-starred chef Massimiliano Mascia brings the excellence of Romanga cooking with his hand-rolled pasta and an abundance of seafood. Fine dining while the sun sets, or a delicious Margherita pizza on the beach between dips – waistlines be damned!
A great holiday always begins and ends with comfort, and the rooms at Forte Village have made that a priority. There are eight hotels – five five-star and three four-star – as well as 13 luxury villas, so there is something for everyone. The boutique style Villa del Parco has sumptuous bungalows and suites overlooking the treetops and their resident parrots, while Hotel Le Palme and Il Borgo are more family focused. Stay in a deluxe villa at the five-star Le Dune to be just a quick skip from exclusive beach cabanas, the kids’ club and an elegant infinity pool, complete with an ice bucket of cooling sprays. As well as having a dedicated reception and concierge service, the villa offers space and privacy with its secluded garden filled with Sardinian flowers, a patio shaded with bougainvillaea and a plunge pool, plus king-sized beds and lavish marble bathrooms. Although the resort exudes that all-important Italian style and glamour, Sardinia is also very present throughout, in the unique art and textiles, not to mention spectacular views of the coastline.
The Child’s Play
This is where Forte Village really comes into its own. Children are anything but an afterthought at the resort, starting with the Children Wonderland kids club, just steps from the beach. Here little ones up to the age of 12 can escape their parents (or parents can escape their children!), make friends and have fun. It includes a fully-supervised nursery, a stimulating creative lab for painting and crafts, a Barbie house filled with a world of pink and a child-sized town with everything from a hair salon to a petrol station. Kids will love the motorised train that tours the resort at the end of the day, while the Acquapark, with its waterslides and watery playground including jets to soak mum and dad, is surely a daily must. New to the resort this year and a huge hit (for parents and children-alike) is the circus – if you have never seen a clown disappear inside a giant balloon or a knife-juggling acrobat, now is your chance. There is also a packed offering of sport academies, where youngsters can be coached by Real Madrid’s foundation, get tennis tips from internationally ranked players, play rugby with British legends or take to the go-karting track under the supervision of champion drivers. Fencing, boxing, netball, dance, table tennis and hockey are also available, while the resort also boasts a golf course, bowling alley and sailing academy. At night, the Piazza Luisa comes alive with ‘baby dance’, the daily disco and open-air stage featuring live performances and entertainment.
The Acquaforte Thalasso Spa was first created 25 years ago, alongside the Italian School of Thalassotherapy, to revolutionise the ancient practice that harnesses the healing powers of the sea for the modern day. Set in four hectares of lush greenery, (even the sauna has a floor-to-ceiling window onto the gardens), the thalassotherapy circuit is a must try. Boasting six Sardinian seawater pools, each at different temperatures and varying concentrations of magnesium and sodium, it restores, balances and boosts the body. Dip into the 38° pool of magnesium, salt and saline to soothe aching joints and eliminate toxins, or lie back in a bath of sea oil, aloe and mint to soften the skin and tackle psoriasis and boost endorphins – you can even enjoy a massage while floating in the saline density pool. There are a range of rejuvenating treatments on offer from Ayurvedic massages to Signature Sardinian Treatments – the salt and honey treatment, with its heated waterbed, energy-inducing salt and essential oil exfoliation, and cocooning Sardinian honey will make you feel reborn. Alongside the spa is The Forte Lab diagnostic centre, which boasts a world-class medical team on hand to offer medical assessments including cardiovascular checks. Everything from aesthetic to dietary needs are catered for. And there is even a private spa with its own thalasso pools and dedicated entrance for anyone who wishes to rejuvenate in complete privacy.
The To Do List
While there is very little reason to leave the resort’s perimeter, Sardinia is a beautiful island and there is so much to see just an hour or so from the resort. Among the highlights are the extraordinary Dolomite Caves of Is Zuddas dating back 530 million years, the Necropolis of Montessu, one of Sardinia’s most important archeological sites occupying a rocky amphitheatre and the nearby towns of Pula and Cagliari, which, as well as a traditional Italian old town, has a colony of pink flamingos. For those who prefer retail therapy, shopping at the resort is fantastic, with 40-plus boutiques, from luxury designers like Jil Sander to exclusive Milanese stalwarts such as 10 Corso Como, as well as an incredible fine-jewellery haven where it’s easy to fall in love with some seriously beautiful diamonds.
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