Recommended by Associate Editor Molly Feltner
Set on the little-developed southern coast of Sardinia, an area that resembles some of the more popular Mediterranean island destinations minus 25 years of buildup, the secluded Forte Village is where European celebrities like David and Victoria Beckham and Sting go for paparazzi-free vacations. It also attracts well-heeled couples and families from Europe, and a small-but-growing number of Americans.
Although Forte Village comprises seven hotels—all four-star or five-star—14 restaurants, and a destination spa, the property's careful design and lush landscaping create a more intimate atmosphere than you'd expect at a resort of its size. When I visited, the hotels were all fully booked, but I never saw any crowds, had any trouble getting a table at a restaurant, or had to wait to use any of the amenities.
The resort has three five-star hotels: Villa del Parco, a Leading Small Hotel of the World; the more traditional Il Castello, where I stayed on an exclusive club floor; and Le Dune, which has 49 bungalows and suites. The four-star Il Borgo, Il Villaggio, Le Palme, and La Pineta offer more affordable but still-luxurious accommodations. Rates range from 190 euros to 3,200 euros (about $241 to $4,060 USD) per person per night.
Good food and wine are an integral part of the Forte Village experience, with many dishes incorporating fresh, locally produced cheeses, olive oil, vegetables, meats, and fish. Dining options range from casual seaside buffets to formal fine dining, and breakfast and dinner at any of Forte Village's restaurants are included in the resort rates (guests of the four-star properties are required to pay an additional supplement at the more high-end establishments).
The resort's spa, Thaermae del Forte, recently qualified as a Leading Spa of the World, and is best known for its Thalassotherapy treatment in which guests immerse themselves a series of six heated pools composed of varying amounts of salt water and sea oil. There's also an onsite water sports and boating area on the resort's mile-long beach, 12 tennis courts, a kids' club, and a huge entertainment complex with Go-Karts, a bowling alley, ice skating, and a disco.