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Holiday like a royal: we review Sardinia's A-list hot spot Hotel Cala di Volpe

Cala di Volpe has hosted the likes of Princess Diana & Beyoncé

cala di volpe
Hollie Brotherton
Hollie BrothertonLifestyle & Commerce Senior Writer
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The hot sun is beating down, the azure blue ocean stretches out in front of my rustic sun lounger and the Italian waiter is bringing over my Bellini made from champagne and fresh peaches… this isn’t a fantasy, I’m in Sardinia and I’m truly living La Dolce Vita.

MORE: Kate Middleton's 7 essentials for travelling like a royal

If paradise exists, I’m pretty sure it’s here at Hotel Cala di Volpe, which should go some way to explaining why just hours earlier I saw Kardashian matriarch Kris Jenner walk past me on her way to lunch. This place is a hot spot for some of the world's wealthiest, most famous people, but somehow remains low key.

Cala di volpe boats

Cala di Volpe was built in the style of an Italian village

With previous guests including George Clooney, Jay-Z, and Queen B(eyoncé), Cala di Volpe has also hosted actual royalty. In the summer of 1997, Princess Diana visited the hotel’s poolside Barbeque restaurant with Dodi Al Fayed. But its prestige goes back even further to the 1960s, when it was one of the locations where Roger Moore was filmed as James Bond in The Spy Who Loved Me.

Barbecue Restaurant and Swimming Pool

Barbeque, the restaurant where Princess Diana dined and I pretended not to notice Kris Jenner

Despite the A-list status, it doesn't feel pretentious. From the staff to the other guests, everyone is incredibly friendly, welcoming and polite. Built in the style of an old Italian fishing village in terracotta and pastel hues, the hotel is peaceful and discreet while the surroundings are unspoilt.

Cala di Volpe is located on Sardinia’s Costa Smeralda, which literally translates to the Emerald Coast. With its 20km of pure white sand and crystal blue waters, it certainly lives up to its name. Several famous beaches such as Grande Pevero can be reached by taxi or on foot, but the hotel also has its own private beach, which is only accessible by boat.

MORE: 7 of the most romantic couples' retreats to stay with your other half

Private beach

The hotel's private beach is now home to Nobu's Matsuhisa Beach

It’s here that world-renowned chef Nobu - no stranger to serving celebrities or royalty - has opened his first beach bar this summer. It’s his second partnership with the hotel after opening his Japanese restaurant Matsuhisa in 2018, where you can dine on delicacies like black miso cod, tuna sashimi and salmon tartare caviar, alongside stunning views of the bay.


Nobu's Matsuhisa at Hotel Cala di Volpe

Matsuhisa is unmissable, but I was looking for something a little more traditionally Italian and I wasn’t disappointed. The hotel has several restaurants including Le Grand, which serves all of the classics with a background of live piano music, and my personal favourite, the recently opened Beefbar. Based on selected meats, the menu is split into luxury street food and comfort food, and their Wagyu Carbonara is now officially my death row meal.

Atrium Bar

The Atrium Bar - just some of the stunning architecture by Jacques Couëlle

The only thing that could top the food was the incredible architecture. Designed by Jacques Couëlle, it's both cave-like and impossibly chic, with the more recent addition of bohemian style interiors by Italian artisans. Returning to my room was always a highlight - the balcony had views of the bay, the bathroom was stocked full of Acqua di Parma and my bed couldn't have been more comfortable.

MORE: 17 best all-inclusive hotels with top reviews

Contemporary Suite

The Contemporary Suite at Hotel Cala di Volpe

It’s the little details that make Cala di Volpe really special. From the mini farm for children to visit (yes, kids are welcome here), to the Juventus football academy with international coaches, to the Dolce & Gabbana boutique - the hotel has collaborated on two collections with the Italian fashion house. There's even a Shiseido spa where I had the most amazing full-body massage. If you love delicious food, eclectic architecture and surroundings so beautiful it all feels surreal, this slice of Sardinia is for you.

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