ISLAND IN THE SUN

Today we’d like to share this wonderful article featured in ‘Absoloutely Chiswick’ this month focusing on the Forte Village Resort in Sardinia. We can just imagine being back in the spa pools.

On most holidays guests can expect to be treated like kings and queens by hotel staff, but how many times can you say that you got to play the role of God on holiday? I don’t mean stomping around with a fleet of man-servants and discovering the ability to eat unholy amounts of the local delicacy – in this case Sardinian pasta fregola – without putting on a single pound. No, On the second day of my holiday to Sardinia’s Forte Village Resort, in their unique Thalassotherapy pools, I found myself enhanced with the uncanny and downright godly ability to walk on water.

I have been very lucky thus far in my career to visit some of the best spas in London, but Forte Village in the Santa Margherita di Pula region of Sardinia have patented something that i could never have imagined in my wildest dreams. It is in their circuit of six Thalassotherapy pools that this little miracle occurs.

After a short walk up a winding arbor lined path, my companion and i found ourselves at a beautiful pool area with the large current-driven jet pool and two smaller oil pools. In the first little lagoon, murky brown and scented, i became endowed with complete weightlessness – literally walking on water, (well almost). The density of this oil is so intense that you struggle to move through the pool without your limbs being vaulted upwards onto the surface of the liquid. Cue hilarious bobbing motions and eventual dace first flop into the oil; true bliss, in my humble opinion, is being presented with the opportunity to have a good giggle whilst being able to deeply moisturise the skin.

The ensuing sea water lagoons, of which you visit one by one, are heated to varying temperatures and each has a different density of salt. All encourage complete relaxation, allowing the mind to float away; and little inflatable head rests are provided by most of the pools so that you can keep your face dry whilst floating off to your happy place.

I finished the circuit, probably enacting another godly power – floating on cloud nine. The icing on the cake of this, my second day in Sardinia was a Honey and Salt exfoliating massage. In a little hut surrounded by greenery, i was scrubbed and buffed with natural sea salt, before honey was drizzled on my body and massaged in. Whilst lounging in the courtyard afterwards, i discovered the spa stock one of my favourite international skin brands Murad, meaning skin is in safe hands.

It is not just relaxation that this resort does well – although i should quickly mention that the private pristine beach, beautiful enough to rival any Caribbean stretch of sand, and a plethora of pools and canopied bars – food is also very important to Sardinians, as well as using fresh ingredients and creating dishes lovingly from scratch. I learnt this very quickly during a cooking lesson, experienced on site, with one of their charming chefs, Fiscio. Never admit to a Sardinian that you occasionally buy ready-made pasta sauces from the supermarket, the withering look that ensues is not pleasant. Luckily for me, the man himself was about to reveal some secrets at the heart of this well-loved cuisine that i could take home and show off with.

We learnt to make a perfectly smooth creamy tomato sauce, with the juicy Camona tomato typical to the region and the largest fresh basil leaves that i have ever seen. The sauce accompanied little balls of special Sardinian pasta fregola, and we also cooked pasta en papillote, (the kind of treatment i thought only fish received). the resort has its own kitchen garden and as well as these fun and informal cooking classes, guests can enjoy a tour around the garden with the chefs, learning and tasting as they go.

Most excitingly for food buffs, the resort often brings in culinary greats to head up the gourmet restaurants and give lessons to the guests. Gordon Ramsay regularly makes appearances at special gala dinners and hosts classes, in between cooking up a storm in the kitchen – as does Rocco Iannone, a Michelin-starred chef from Naples who takes over the chic white space that is Forte Gourmet every summer from June until the end of August. The opportunity to grill world-renowned chefs while tucking into their fare is just too juicy an opportunity to miss. The thing that struck me about this resort is that they have the space and facilities to cater for all sorts of holiday-makers. Set in the sprawling tropical gardens, Forte Village contains a variety of different accommodation and the surrounding facilities reflect the area’s unique vibe. Two giant pools, one with 250 meters of slides, are dedicated to kids and they sit near the picture perfect Il Villaggio complex.  Ideal for families, these bungalows feature a patio and for balmy evenings and play – and the suites have all the mod-con you could expect.

Personally, i recommend staying in one of the southern most handful of bungalows, tucked away a stones throw from the beach. The very luxurious Le Dune villas charmed me as soon as i saw them. A nice retreat from the busier areas of the resort, every suite has its own tropical garden and a patio on which i found myself reading a book before dinner on more than one occasion. On my first night i had an indulgent long bubble bath in the massive tub (there was also a rain-forest shower in the bathroom), before opening-up my floor-to-ceiling sliding french window, sitting on the patio and letting my body lotion sink in whilst watching the sun sink behind the horizon.

The thinking behind most resort holidays is that you never have to leave the surroundings of the resort, and this very fact might scare people off – what if you don’t like the environment you find yourself in? With Forte Village Resort, I didn’t actually want to leave. It is very easy to venture out and explore the island in a hire-car if you so wish, but between the go-karting, spa trips, 21 eateries of varying styles, the beach, kids clubs, shopping arcade featuring beautiful luxury brands and evening stage shows in the Piazza Maria Luigia (i saw the gypsy kings during my visit) – I’m not sure you would find the time nor the compulsion to leave.

For more information on the Forte Village Resort, you can call to speak to our specialist team on 0208 9732296 or visit our website.

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