There are ultra-luxury hotels and then there is Hotel Cala di Volpe, a Luxury Collection Hotel in the billionaire’s playground that is Costa Smeralda. From Jackie Onassis to Princess Diana to Beyonce, they’ve all fallen for the Sardinian charms of this extravagant yet discreet five-star resort. They are a part of the premium management company that also looks after Hotel Romazzino, Hotel Pitrizza, Cervo Hotel, Pevero Golf Club, and some of the finest restaurants in Porto Cervo, such as Novikov Porto Cervo and Quattro Passi al Pescatore. And if you go full board at Cala di Volpe, you can dine in any of these establishments.
The hotel was built in the 1960s by famed architect, Jacques Couëlle often known as ‘the architect of billionaires’. His use of the curved concrete form is iconic; straight lines are hard to come by in this grotto-style hotel where structures blend into the natural surroundings, especially with the use of unmistakable terracotta red clay.
The reception, bar area, and a collection of 68 modern rooms and suites were only updated between 2019-2020 by Bruno Moinard. The white-washed walls have been enhanced along with elliptical, chapel-like windows overlooking their pristine jetty which is every aspiring photographer’s dream shot. Couëlle’s stained glass displays throughout the hotel have been lovingly maintained. Moinard’s redesign is about respecting the original spirit of the hotel’s architecture.
If you want to know the difference between the hotels in the group: Cala di Volpe is where you are most likely to find all the glitz and glamour, Pitrizza is for a more discreet crowd, Romazzino is for the sports enthusiast, whilst Cervo is very centrally located in Porto Cervo.
It’s hugely commendable that they have a heritage wing as well as a modern wing of the hotel. Not much has changed in the heritage rooms from their creation in the 1960s, but with modern amenities added in such as high-speed Wi-Fi, widescreen LCD TV, and air conditioning.
Arguably, the modern rooms are more desirable with discreet lighting throughout the room. There is stylish dark juniper wood that acts as supporting pillars in the rooms (juniper is ubiquitous on the island) and they contrast starkly with the rounded, white masonry in the rest of the room.
In 2021, Moinard has designed additional 7 new contemporary rooms, furthermore all the rooms of the hotel will be refreshed. The jewel in the crown is The Harrods Suite, an uber-luxury apartment on the top floor of the hotel with a heavenly infinity pool and majestic views of Cala di Volpe Bay. The furnishings are immaculately presented and the very best of what you can discover from the iconic department store in London.
You will discover the most divine of gastronomic experiences here whether it’s the freshest of seafood or the most authentic of pasta. The main restaurant and barbecue restaurant have been mesmerising celebrities and the public alike for decades and have undergone a complete renovation for 2021. You can experience umami-filled al dente linguine with red prawns and almond pesto and exquisitely presented grilled courgette flowers stuffed with goat’s cheese.
World-renowned chef Nobu Matsuhisa will be back for Matsuhisa at Cala di Volpe Restaurant for the summer season and there will be a new partnership with Beefbar from Monte Carlo offering luxury meat delicacies that have dazzled diners from Mykonos to Saint-Tropez. For more casual fare, you can enjoy healthy poke bowls at Ai Due Mari restaurant at the Pevero Golf Club.
Other restaurants I would recommend trying, include the internationally-renowned Quattro Passi al Pescatore – a collaboration with the two-Michelin starred Quattro Passi from the mainland. Their signature calamari tagliatelle is always a winner, whilst Novikov Porto Cervo offers the best sushi dishes you will find on the island.
Visiting hotel spas have been a tricky affair with the pandemic, but we are all hoping for better times this year and the brand-new SHISEIDO Spa Cala di Volpe is one of those must-visit places in the hotel. It has been constructed with indigenous materials like local granites and slates and also features an impressive sound stone by Sardinian Artist Pinuccio Sciola. They have dedicated steam rooms and His and Her signature treatments.
To burn off those calories, there are a wealth of sporting activities available from their Olympic-sized saltwater pool, which is one of the largest in Europe, to a brand-new gym and a dedicated new kid’s club for the younger guests. If you prefer to swim in the sea, they have a private beach which is a scenic five-minute boat ride away, with staff on hand to provide beach towels, refreshments, sun umbrellas, and deck chairs. They have also started a Juventus Academy, for their youngest hotel guests.
The staff at the hotel are on hand to arrange any water sports activities and they also have three tennis courts along with a very popular golf course.
In a nutshell
There has been a lot of talk that post-pandemic, it will be the roaring 20s again with people desperate for memorable experiences, social experiences, and immersing themselves in other cultures. Make sure Hotel Cala di Volpe is high up on your list of places to visit.
Getting there – It is only 16.5 miles from Olbia Costa Smeralda Airport. The hotel can offer a private limousine transfer, or you can catch the airport shuttle service or local taxis.
Photography courtesy of Cala di Volpe