Where to stay: sporty Forte Vil­lage

London Evening Standard (West End Final B) - ES Homes and Property - - Homes Abroad -

in Chia, Casa & Coun­try has a two-bed­room apart­ment with sea views from a ter­race over­look­ing a golf course and flamingo-filled la­goon

THE Ital­ian is­land of Sar­dinia has been on the map for wealthy hol­i­day­mak­ers since the Six­ties, when Prince Karim Aga Khan bought 7,000 acres on its lovely north-east coast. To­day, for two sum­mer months, that area of the Costa Smer­alda and the town of Porto Cervo with its golf club and yacht club, is still one of Europe’s most elite des­ti­na­tions. How­ever, there’s a great deal more to Sar­dinia.

It is the sec­ond largest Mediter­ranean is­land af­ter Si­cily, at 130 miles by 70, with 1,200 miles of coast­line and a rugged in­te­rior of moun­tains and farm­land. The south coast around Cagliari, the cap­i­tal with di­rect flights from Gatwick and Stansted, is draw­ing new in­ter­est.

“The south is less de­vel­oped and more nat­u­ral than the north,” says Jeremy Onslow-Ma­caulay of Ital­ian prop­erty agents Casa & Coun­try. “It is less fash­ion­able per­haps but also milder, less windy and much more fam­ily-friendly.” On av­er­age, prop­erty in the south is at least a third more af­ford­able, with Chia and Cala Ca­te­rina the prici­est lo­ca­tions. Sar­dinia bans any new-build within 1.8 miles of the sea and beach­front homes carry a high pre­mium.

Forty min­utes from Cagliari air­port in year-round Do­mus de Maria, the fi­nal seven of 50 two- and three­bed­room de­tached houses in a small hill­side clus­ter cost from £183,000 to £218,000 for 1,022 to 1,151sq ft through Casa & Coun­try. Th­ese are 10 min­utes from Chia’s won­der­ful sandy beach, not iso­lated but with good ru­ral views and space to add a pool.

In more sea­sonal Chia it­self, a twobed­room flat with gen­er­ous ter­race and views over the sea, a golf course and a flamingo-filled la­goon is £550,000.

LOCK-AND-LEAVE HOMES

Buy­ers who want the se­cu­rity of a gated re­sort should look at a de­light­ful three-bed­room de­tached house for £698,000, also through Casa & Coun­try, at Is Mo­las be­side one of Italy’s best golf cour­ses. The prop­erty has been ex­tended and up­dated by its cur­rent own­ers who live there full­time, and has a tran­quil gar­den. Is Mo­las is a pop­u­lar leisure re­sort with good fa­cil­i­ties yet an­nual ser­vice charges are low at £2,620. Weekly rentals range from £2,600 to £4,400.

In Pula, 20 miles from Cagliari, Gate-away has a four-bed­room semide­tached house for £393,000 and a one-bed­room flat five min­utes from Nora beach for £109,000.

De­spite blue skies and warmth from April to Oc­to­ber, Sar­dinia’s restau­rants are of­ten un­pre­pared for tourists out­side of July and Au­gust, says Re­becca Lewis Lalatta, of rental com­pany L’e Mar­quis.

“Ei­ther side of high sum­mer the weather can be won­der­ful, per­fect for horse rid­ing, bik­ing or golf and you’ll NOW in its 46th year and near­ing the end of a £33 mil­lion, three-year re­fur­bish­ment, Forte Vil­lage Re­sort near Pula in south­ern Sar­dinia at­tracts a su­per-smart Euro­pean crowd. Its en­dur­ing pop­u­lar­ity is shown by a re­peat guest rate of nearly 50 per cent.

The 120-acre beach­front re­sort 40 min­utes from Cagliari is a sum­mer fam­ily favourite with 21 restau­rants and find de­serted white sand beaches and au­then­tic Sar­dinian vil­lages and towns. But Sar­dini­ans are slowly get­ting the mes­sage that they must be more com­mer­cially minded, es­pe­cially as there wide-rang­ing sport fa­cil­i­ties in­clud­ing clay ten­nis courts, pools, bikes and even a Chelsea Foot­ball School. Guests can choose from one-bed­room ho­tel ac­com­mo­da­tion up to spa­cious pri­vate and pre­mium four-bed­room vil­las.

Prices at Forte Vil­lage start from £532 a night for two on a half-board ba­sis.

fortevil­lagere­sort.com are more flights com­ing in.” Prime houses can still at­tract top-dol­lar rental prices. L’e Mar­quis has an ex­cep­tional fully staffed beach­front man­sion in Porto Cervo sleep­ing 24 that is rented for July for about £800,000.

“We pro­vide staff and ex­tras such as clas­sic cars and yachts for clients,” says Lewis Lalatta, a Bri­ton who has lived in Sar­dinia for 20 years. “Sar­dinia is well-loved across the world and our guests come from across Europe, Rus­sia, the US and Aus­tralia.”

Casa & Coun­try: casaand­coun­try.com Gate-away: gate-away.com L’e Mar­quis: sar­dini­an­lux­ury.com

£393,000: a four-bed­room semide­tached house in Pula, 20 min­utes from Cagliari, through Gate-away

For ac­tive fam­i­lies: Forte Vil­lage beach­front re­sort has vil­las and a range of sports

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