Once docked, you’ll never want to leave Sardinia’s Costa Smeralda. Luckily, with world-class accommodations, exquisite cuisine and a longer life expectancy, you’ll never have to.
Hotel Cala di Volpe on Sardinia’s Costa Smeralda perfectly blends the landscape’s natural elegance with the comfort of luxury accommodations.
Black-and-white photos of assorted Beatles and Sonny and Cher deplaning on the green shores of the second-largest island in the Mediterranean, and Russian oligarchs park their yachts in its ultramarine waters, but the true pleasures of the Costa Smeralda (the northeastern coast of the Italian island of Sardinia) lie in the natural landscape. From craggy cliffs to private beaches to flowers dotting the mise-en-scène like meringues to the hub of Porto Cervo, this wonderland traffics in a cocktail of natural luxuries and man-made comforts enjoyed by everyone from Princess Caroline of Monaco to Lindsay Lohan, of Long Island.
Skating the glassy waters of the bay past olive-toned peaks on a cushy speedboat up to the shores of Hotel Cala di Volpe’s rose-colored estate, you’ll feel like royalty returning to a mythic palace rising from the sea. Fitting, since Costa Smeralda was transformed into the paradise it is today in the 1960s by a prince, the Aga Khan.
Hotel Romazzino stores its vintages in a wine cave.
Hotel Cala di Volpe unfolds with a series of terra-cotta roofs and bougainvillea. In the lobby you might see guests in head-to-toe Gucci resort perusing the in-house Prada store. You’ll see megayachts in the titular “bay of the fox” outside. The site’s original architect, Jacques Couëlle, inspired the hotel’s recent renovation. Plaster walls, indigenous wood and stained glass cut from Couëlle’s windows dapple the rustic yet refined interiors.
Cala di Volpe and its sister properties, Hotel Romazzino and Hotel Pitrizza, all luxuriate in the natural beauty of Costa Smeralda. While Romazzino is the family-friendly iteration and Pitrizza is favored by celebrities because of its superprivate villas tucked into the mountainside—compared to Cala di Volpe’s in-your-face extravagance preferred by the likes of Elton John—all three offer organic materials and fresh food by the sea. At Cala di Volpe you can dine at the hotel’s more casual barbecue next to an Olympic-size saltwater pool with the Mediterranean in the distance.
From top: Hotel Cala di Volpe uses Costa Smeralda’s organic materials and colors throughout its design; at Cala di Volpe, dining always comes with a side of sea views.
In fact, fresh air acts as an aperitivo here. The hills are laden with rosemary, so a hot day can quickly turn into an Italian kitchen. Sardinia is a blue zone, meaning it’s a region where people live longer on average, and it’s easy to see why as the eco-friendly haven is a reminder of what the world could be if we all cared more about cracking down on pollution. Never mind that the sugar-free empanadas and buttery salmon make you want to stick around a little longer. Hotels Cala di Volpe, Romazzino and Pitrizza all have main restaurants and barbecues serving local flavors and seasonal ingredients. The food is fresh, health-conscious and often served waterside. A typical spread might include creamy burrata, fried anchovies, spoonfuls of whipped cheese, peaches atop tuna, and, of course, pasta—like fregola, a Sardinian specialty, which Cala di Volpe Restaurant serves with lobster ragout and saffron.
Costa Smeralda’s aquamarine waters are dotted with all manner of crafts, from sailboats to speedboats to yachts.
It’s in places like these where we most appreciate being nourished: by food, by atmosphere, by good company. You’ll start to marvel that each sight is more beautiful than the last in Sardinia, yet your eyes never grow tired of looking. Beauty—natural, triumphant—refuses to fatigue. Beauty is a luxury that’s available in spades, you just have to seek it. Hotel Cala di Volpe rooms from $2,380 per night, suites from $4,539 per night; Hotel Romazzino rooms from $2,169 per night, suites from $4,096 per night; Hotel Pitrizza rooms from $2,203 per night, suites from $3,897 per night.
Photography by: From top: Hotel Cala di Volpe, Costa Smeralda | Wine Cave Photo Courtesy of Hotel Romazzino, Costa Smeralda | Hotel Cala di Volpe, Costa Smeralda