The Luxury Channel went to Sardinia – the place to be seen – to experience one of the most glamorous events in the sailing calendar. Nestled on the pristine coastline of the Costa Smeralda, the exclusive resort of Porto Cervo offers some of the best views of the Mediterranean. Rolex hosts two international yacht races here each year, attracting super-yachts and stylish people from across the globe. However, away from the port and glitterati, Effie Kanyua found some hidden treasures.
Where to visit
To discover the best beaches and most authentic Italian hillside restaurants, you’ll need to hire a car. Once you’ve done that, all the islands treasures are open to you, including the famous Orange Beach, which hosts fantastic beach parties during the summer months. Sporty types will love the famous 18-hole course at the Piccolo Pervero, while those who seek total solace can easily find beautiful deserted beaches in order to relax and unwind.
Away from the crowds and only 20 minutes away from Porto Cervo is San Panteleo. Bursting with character, this charming village is set around a picturesque piazza full of lively cafés and several artisan shops. With its stone-built cottages, stunning position and relaxed atmosphere, artists through the ages have been inspired to settle here.
Where to shop
The Old Town boasts all the luxury brands you could ever need: Versace, Louis Vuitton, Prada and every shop imaginable to rival Bond Street or 5th Avenue. For those with a smaller budget, ask the locals for the details of the best markets (normally held on Friday mornings) where local produce and crafts are sold.
Where to eat
Clipper is a great pizza restaurant, owned by the charismatic “Volpi,” (which, as he will proudly tell you, is Italian for ‘fox’). Other highlights include Spinnaker, a great choice for pasta and seafood dishes, and, for those of you who really want to blow the budget, both Cipriani and Boujis have restaurants in the area.
Where to go out
Arrange a visit to the super exclusive Costa Smeralda Yacht Club or the bar at the luxurious Cala di Volpe hotel. Finish your night off with a little dancing at the Phillipe Starck-inspired Sottovento Club or, for a truly unique experience, drive 20 minutes from the centre to Ritual in Baia, Sardinia. This imposing club is cut into the side of a mountain, which houses a labyrinth of cave-rooms for party types to explore at leisure.
Where to stay
One of the best hotels is the Colonna Park Hotel, which boasts a perfect location and reasonably priced, traditional Sardinian-styled rooms. For those on a bigger budget, head to its sister hotel and the newest five-star resort on the island – the Colonna Resort. That said, the Cala Volpe Hotel, along with it’s decadent sister hotels Patrizzia and Romanzino, are still the best in town for ‘star gazers.’ For real understated luxury, we recommend the four-star Hotel Balocco. It was the first hotel to be built in Porto Cervo and is romantic, stylish and friendly.
Take a look at the best of this year’s Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup and Rolex Swan Cup in Tales From the High Seas.