The Pool views at Forte Village Resort, Sardinia, Italy

Forte Village Resort

There’s a reason it’s called the Forte Village: the sprawling resort is made up of seven hotels and includes twenty-one restaurants and a world-renowned destination spa. At full capacity, there can be more than 1,500 guests, but you would never know it: the fifty-five-acre property is landscaped within a forest of Mediterranean pines and palm trees (arriving guests are driven around via golf cart). It’s also incredibly well staffed, so even during high season guests can find privacy. Popular with celebrities like David Beckham and Sting, Forte Village symbolizes the ultimate luxury family getaway to most Europeans.

At first it appears to be a hybrid of a Club Med resort and a venerable mainstay (think the Breakers in Palm Beach). Some of the architecture seemed somewhat dated and the children’s restaurant was a bit too kitschy for my taste, though kids love it (all the furniture is child-sized). (The resort offers a lot for children: an entertainment complex with go-carts, a bowling alley, a trampoline, an-ice skating rink and a pool designed for kids, as well as performances at the Mini Club, free for two- to twelve-year-olds.) But from the first moment my husband and I arrived, the service was very professional and friendly. And the view from our suite was spectacular, since the spacious room, with a glass wall that looked out over the sea, was situated over the resort’s private beach. We spent our days lying out on our terrace or by one of the many pools, eating well and floating around the spa’s salt Thalassotherapy pools. I strongly recommend trying the hydro-massage with Guido, which was one of the most relaxing spa treatments I’d had in a while.

Tip: If you want to be near the beach, book a room in the five-star Hotel Castello or the Beachcomber or Boathouse suites. The five-star Villa del Parco is a few minutes’ walk from the seaside but is surrounded by lush gardens and located right next to the spa. The bungalows are ideal for small families and offer plenty of privacy.

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restaurant terrace with pink stucco

Hotel Cala di Volpe

Originally the Aga Khan’s villa and official headquarters, the Cala di Volpe, part of Marriott’s Luxury Collection, is Sardinia’s most famous hotel. Located on the sea, the property was designed to resemble a picturesque pastel-hued fishing village—albeit one for playboys who don’t know a hook from a fly. It's a popular spot for people embarking or disembarking from their yachts, making Cala di Volpe’s waterside restaurants busy meeting places and people-watching spots. The beachfront barbecue lunch is one of the island’s most celebrated—and one of the most expensive—meet-and-eat occasions: fish and lobster lie on beds of ice waiting to be cooked to your specifications, the gourmet cheeses include fresh buffalo mozzarella and the island’s own pecorino, and the pasta is cooked to order.

The standard rooms are not especially spacious, but all rooms and suites have terraces with water views and have been glammed up with sumptuous Sardinian fabrics and carpets to complement their whimsical cave-like style with a rustic-Mediterranean-meets-elegant-Old-World style: ceramic tiles, woven-basket-style chairs, whitewashed walls. The rooms are among the most expensive in Europe, not for their size but for the prestige of staying in this exclusive club of a hotel and for the impeccable service (the concierge will fly to Rome to run shopping errands for you if necessary). There are shops on property and a beach club that is a walk or boat ride away, as well as an expansive pool area.

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Lobby at Hotel Pitrizza, Sardinia, Italy

Hotel Pitrizza

A great place for a romantic escape, La Pitrizza has hillside villas and private coves that are perfect for stolen moments.

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Hotel Romazzino pool in Costa Smeralda in Sardinia, Italy

Hotel Romazzino

A fantastical seaside resort, the Hotel Romazzino is the most family-friendly of the properties on the famed Costa Smeralda in Sardinia, Italy.

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Lounge at  La Coluccia, Sardinia, Italy

La Coluccia

This affordable four-star designer hotel has an undulating red exterior with forty-five minimalist rooms. Named for the natural peninsula that surrounds it—with acres of local pine trees, bougainvillea vines and fragrant eucalyptus—La Coluccia also features a curved pool. Located on the north end of Sardinia, the hotel is less than thirty miles from the Costa Smeralda.

Suite at Su Gologone, Sardinia, Italy

Su Gologone

In the heart of the mountainous and wild Supramonte region, surrounded by olive groves and vineyards, is the charming Su Gologone hotel and restaurant, famous for its seasonal gourmet traditional cuisine. Named after a nearby healing spring, the hotel has sixty rooms and suites scattered through an expansive park, as well as gardens. The hotel can arrange everything from horseback riding, canoeing on Cedrino Lake and hiking trips to lunch with shepherds and off-road Jeep expeditions into the Barbagia Mountains.

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