Wylde World: Forte Village, Sardinia
Report by Leanne Bracey
I don't have kids, but if I did, I would be here every year, without fail. For the sheer amount of things to do the Forte Village in Sardinia wins over Disneyland everytime, minus Mickey and Minnie. But it’s not just children who will want to relish in the sheer amount of amenities here. Despite its family reputation, I visited at the end of Summer with two friends for a weekend of relaxation and Thalassotherapy in this giant maze of a resort. Because adults can have a blast here too.
After a quick early morning flight to Cagliari and a pleasant 45 minute drive to Southern Sardinia, we were seated for lunch on the terrace of the pizza restaurant by 2pm with a huge bowl of salad from the endless salad bar and a fine Italian pizza, soaking up the perfect heat in October. Turns out this is one of the best times to come, after the mad rush of the school holiday and the stupefying temperatures of the Summer, the ambience is still bustling but it's more relaxed and less busy… the perfect way to start a chilled-out weekend. Over the course of the next few days, we gorged our way through just 4 of the 21 restaurants on offer at peak season. A glass of wine and Italian canapés at the elegant wine bar before dinner at Le Dune restaurant, a romantic setting with top class service and food. And a great breakfast buffet with a lot of variety at Cavalieri, that also serves into dinner time.
With 8 hotels and 9 villas to stay at, we decided to go all-out and each stay in one of the 4 beachfront suites, known as Cala del Forte. They’re not cheap, but you get what you pay for and, I think, as a special honeymoon treat, this would be perfect. In the room on my own I was happy to get lost in the sprawling space covering 400 square metres, from the huge bathroom and walk-in wardrobe, down to the main bedroom and sitting room and out to the private terrace with direct access to the beach. When I sat in my huge comfy bed, all I could see was the sea. The beachfront suites are done up like typical Sardinian houses with terracotta floors and white walls, rustic style. I woke early each day on purpose to catch the sunrise, wrapping myself in a robe and lying on the sun lounger. Cala del Forte is a discrete option, for there’s not only a private entrance and lobby, but also a butler to hand and immediate access to one of the many freshwater/seawater pools here. I am planning on coming back with a group of friends and staying in one of the new villas, sleek in design and totally private, yet with all of the amenities on offer. And with an epic entertainment arena, dance classes and evening entertainment every night, I know we wouldn’t be bored.
Forte Village encompasses a vast 47 hectares, set in tropical gardens, so many use the village bikes to get around to make things a lot quicker. But with only a few days here, we were happy to walk and discover all the nooks, crannies and tiny details of this vast space (check out the turtles outside the spa). The spa is like a mini village in itself, and at the heart of it are the one-of-a-kind Thalassotherapy pools; our reason for being here. Having carved out a whole afternoon for wallowing in water, the three of us relished the opportunity to relax in the 6 Thalasso sea water pools, all varying in temperature and levels of salt. In brief, Thalassotherapy is actually quite incredible, and for a resort, the whole of the Spa at Forte is very special.
Firstly, it has a team of experts at the helm, running a diagnostic lab. I had a remarkable body test treatment that was non-invasive and super quick. Just a week beforehand, I had a really bad reaction to some bread which left me crippled with horrible cramps so I was relieved to see the test results; high allergy to yeast, not gluten as I suspected. So no more beer and bread – especially together – but I could relish sourdough (which made me happy). I also showed extreme sensitivity to caffeine, which I’ve always suspected. Further to this, the test showed that I had an emotional monkey mind and problems with my kidneys due to some emotional stress and a pain in my arm due to some RSI. Spot on! If I really wanted to start treating an illness, this test could inform a diet plan I could follow at Forte over the duration of my stay (and with the Spa making incredible healthy food, I wouldn’t complain). Also any muscle anomalies could’ve been worked on by one of the brilliant personal trainers at the fully equipped gym. I had a fantastic session with a PT, and we focussed on my weak points, my lower back and shoulders, and was able to understand why the muscles here ached. Further to that, a thorough massage with the most brilliant masseuse I've ever encountered confirmed my kidney issue, for when she worked on it, she noticed it was very tender. It’s easy to see how the spa fuses everything together so wonderfully.
Back to the Thalassotherapy. My friends and I whiled away a good hour pool-hopping, from oily, high salinity water that felt like brine, to relaxing bath-like temperature each day we were there. The effect of the first pools are highly detoxing, followed by the less salty ones that help to regenerate. Each pool has a reason; to energise, relax the muscles, help produce endorphins, to toning and helping circulation in the veins. Your time in each pool is timed but what’s more, it’s really fun and is a good chance to either have a good in-depth chat (like we did) or lay back and relax as you’re propped up by the natural buoyancy in the water. I would come here just for the Thalassotherapy. What's more, as a guest at the hotel, you can bath here as often as you like; daily if you desire. The spa has such a vast array of treatments, from Oxygen therapy to Carboxytherapy to Radiofrequency treatment to high-power laser therapy and relaxing Ayurvedic massages.
What is brilliant about Forte is the sheer amount of things to do. It even has a top-notch tennis academy, used yearly for the Futures Tournament but also for group and private lessons with brilliant coaches. A first-class Sports Academy (with coaches from Chelsea Football Club) encompassing a whole range of sports from football to basketball to dance and even boxing. I was really impressed by the cycling amenities too, a whole range of bikes to suit any need from racers to mountain bikes with a varying degree of thickness in the tyre, depending on what sort of ride you are looking for. Seriously, that’s the level of detail here. Wanting a leisurely amble along the local coastline, we hired out some bikes and went on a mostly flat cycle along the sea, working up an appetite for lunch.
Young kids couldn’t be any better catered for, either. The Children’s Wonderland is totally marvellous and Mario’s Village is a real-life play town that I would’ve gone crazy over when I was 8 years old. I became excited even at the age of 38, posing for selfies in the hairdressers and greengrocers. But I reckon, as a family, you could lose yourself in this maze and not feel guilty – the rest of the family will be having a great time without you. It sounds like a cliché, but there really is something for everyone.
Forte Village’s spa will open as early as 17 March in 2018 to take full advantage of the sunny Sardinian weather and warm temperatures. Forte Village offers rooms starting from €245 per person per night on half board basis from 17 March 2018. 4-day spa packages are available from €1,395. For further information about Forte Village please visit fortevillageresort.com