Hotel Cala di Volpe: award-winning Sardinian resort

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This notable property caught the eyes of A-listers in the sixties after the Aga Khan began buying up real estate along the brilliant stretch of coastline.

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 Activity-minded guests can play a few sets on the tennis courts, enjoy aquatic pleasures such as water skiing or tee off on the Robert Trent-designed 18-hole course at the adjacent Pevero Golf Club.

A stunning Mediterranean outpost, this award-winning Sardinian resort is flawlessly positioned along the see-and-be-seen coastline of Costa Smeralda atop Monte Mannu-towering over the tiny towns like Abbiadori and of Cala di Volpe Bay.

Now part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts’ Luxury Collection, this notable property caught the eyes of A-listers in the sixties after the Aga Khan began buying up real estate along the brilliant stretch of coastline. Looking to escape the crowds of the Côte d’Azur, his intention was to create an exclusive warm-weather retreat designed by renowned father-and-son French architects Jacques and Savin Couelle.

This velvet rope (and paparazzi-free) property attracts Europe’s beau monde (think royals, Catherine Deneuve and Heidi Klum), but make no mistake, there’s a huge American celeb factor going, too (Denzel Washington, Barbara Streisand, Bon Jovi… even Enron bad boy, Dennis Kozlowski-who threw that now famous $2.1 million 40th birthday bash for his wife in 2001-have all checked in). As one would guess, most guests turn up for overnights by way of their private jets and mega yachts.

Surrounded by meticulously groomed gardens along a twisty warren of pathways-panoramic beauty is everywhere. And though the Olympic-size saltwater pool is possibly one of the resort’s most dramatic features, there’s a sea-going shuttle to a private beach (peripatetic strolls are a mere 20 minutes). Activity-minded guests can play a few sets on the tennis courts, enjoy aquatic pleasures such as water skiing or tee off on the Robert Trent-designed 18-hole course at the adjacent Pevero Golf Club. Boaters who traveled across the ocean sans their private yachts can rent anything from modest to mega at a nearby outfitter.

The hotel’s drop-dead gorgeous interiors are made up of al fresco spaces, niches and archways accented by massive chestnut ceiling beams, Sardinian ceramic tiles and Couelle’s original signature glassworks (colorful mazes of irregularly shaped glass). The Lobby Bar’s breezy terrace is wonderful for sipping Torbato-a local sparkling white wine-while watching sunsets. Bountiful lunches are served at the poolside Barbecue Restaurant-but book ahead as they tend to be quite the social scene. IlPontile, (it was used as a backdrop for the James Bond thriller, The Spy Who Loved Me) serves a fabulous bellini. The Cala Restaurant offers diners 15 different types of olive oil (one of the most popular is Olio di Sassicaia from Tuscany) and the award-winning La Cave is home to some 450 wine labels from around the world. (We say order any one of the seafood dishes served with fregola-a kind of Sardinian couscous, but more flavorful).

All refurbished in 2001, accommodations offer magnificent domed terraces overlooking the bay and gardens-and quite a few have stunning tromp l’oeil paintings. All the bathrooms boast oversized tubs and Acqua di Parma toiletries. Turndown goodies very often come courtesy of La Perla, you just have to ask.

The one-bedroom L’Aga Khan Suite is a good bet when it comes to reserving rooms, but by far, the best one to book is the three-bedroom Presidential Suite. This duplex is located in the hotel’s tower and has its own gym, swimming pool, solarium and gazebo.

Open March through October, nightly rates for this 125-room hotel start at about $1,050 for Deluxe Rooms and $2,200 for Junior Suites in high season, but the Presidential will set you back $28,000 a night.
www.hotelcaladivolpe.it

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