Travel - Resort Valle dell’Erica, Sardinia

PUBLISHED: 00:00 30 September 2014

La Maddalena

La Maddalena

not Archant

We fell in love with Sardinia on our honeymoon six years ago. Would our return visit be just as delightful - accompanied by two little ones?

Licciola Imperial-PresidentLicciola Imperial-President

Sardinia holds a special place in our hearts. My wife Jen and I honeymooned in Sardinia six years ago. It was magical to return with our two children, Sophia and Sam, aged four and two, to experience all that we loved about this island region of Italy. While our lives have undeniably changed since our first visit, the experience of holidaying in Sardinia was just as captivating.

Sardinia, the second largest island in the Mediterranean after Sicily, has a rich history. It is fabled that Odysseus stopped off on his epic voyage in Sardinia and there is a scattering of Roman ruins, more so in the south of the island near the capital Cagliari.

We stayed at a five star resort Valle dell’Erica for a week, on the north east of the island, flying into Olbia Airport in the exclusive Costa Smeralda.

The resort has been superbly updated with accommodation ranging from family suites to the new La Licciola Hotel. La Licciola has a Presidential suite offering sea views from a private infinity pool and also a golf-buggy for getting around the resort.

Capo TestaCapo Testa

A particularly useful aspect of the resort for families was the kids’ club, run by the multi-lingual and energetic Jean. A variety of activities were planned including butterfly hunts, beachcombing, treasure hunts. There was access to fresh fruit and refreshments throughout the day and a ‘home from home’ ethos was encouraged.

With the children at the kids’ club, Jen and I could relax by the pool. On one occasion we hid behind the sun loungers as we saw the children marching to one of their activities in their red caps.

Valle dell’Erica caters superbly for families and romantic couples alike and is part of Delphina Hotels; if you are staying full board you can go for lunch at one of the hotel group’s other eight locations in the north of the island. We had a fantastic visit to Capo d’Orso, near to Palau, named after a rock which looks like a bear, which our children enjoyed identifying and where we had also stayed during our honeymoon. It was strange returning to this tranquil location, which is mainly for couples, this time with two lively children. It was stranger still sunbathing on the jetty my wife and I had visited six years ago, this time with my son Sam asleep under a cypress tree. We had a fantastic seafood risotto for lunch at Capo d’Orso and then used the hotel’s private beach before heading back to Valle dell’Erica.

One day we visited Porto Cervo, the capital of Costa Smeralda, with its strip of designer shops and glitzy yachts. The Aga Khan led a consortium of investors in 1962, making Costa Smeralda an opulent playground which more than 50 years on has been a huge success.

We also took a day trip to Porto Pozzo, a pretty fishing village near the hotel, with a decent beach for the kids and restaurant options.

Valle dell’Erica is a sprawling resort with seven private beaches; we frequented one in particular which had a safe, shallow ledge to the sea and allowed the kids to play independently with friends they had made. The kids loved splashing about in the water; the Sardinian sea is as turquoise and crystal clear as anywhere we’ve been.

The buffet on offer every night at Valle dell’Erica offered a super selection of seafood. For Sophia and Sam, a different flavour of Italian ice cream every night was always a winner. Breakfast was also an occasion the children enjoyed, particularly the freshly made pancakes with toppings of their choice, listening to Sylvie play guitar.

There is a superb spa at Valle dell Erica, with hydro-pools at different temperatures; Jen and I spent a relaxing time in the spa looking out to the nearby Maddalena island of Spargi with French Corsica in the distance.

With children this time, we didn’t explore the Maddalenas, although we would recommend this boat trip which departs from Palau. One of the hotel managers said he lived on Maddalena and got the boat over to Valle dell’Erica every day – beats the M56!

We travelled in May, when it was a little windy but still a comfortable 23 degrees. In August, temperatures reach plus 30 degrees; September is also an ideal time to visit Sardinia when schools have gone back to enjoy water sports, walking or the fantastic cuisine.

It’s a good sign when Italians from the mainland holiday here; our return visit proved that Sardinia is perfect as a honeymoon or family destination, although our second stay persuaded us that Valle dell’Erica is more suited to families. With a flight time of 2 hours 40 mins from Leeds Bradford, Sardinia is certainly within hitting distance for families in Cheshire, with accommodation options to suit all budgets.

Book with UK specialist tour operator Just Sardinia 01202 484858 www.justsardinia.co.uk who offer all Delphina Hotels & Residences including Resort Valle dell’Erica with prices from £854pp for 7 nights half board. Flights, airport transfers or car hire can be booked separately.

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