Forte Village Sardinia
I got Campylobacter Food Poisening from this resort. I stayed there for a week and only eat in the resort as most people do who stay. Be careful when eating in the Buffet Restraunts - I would advise you to steer clear of them completely, there are much nicer places to eat, within the resort. The resort is overpriced for drinks - 6euro for a small beer or a bottle of water. Good resort for Families but if it's 5 star luxury you are looking for go somewhere smaller and more exclusive as it can be very noisy in the hotel (castello).
After 5 great years, not this year, but we will be back......
There are so many mixed reviews about the Forte Village, I was prompted to write. After staying there for 5 consecutive years, I feel I know the resort extremely well. Being utterly truthful about the resort, let me give you the facts.
We are a family of 5 with 3 very young children. Yes, this is an expensive holiday, but accept that before you go and you will have no surprises. We have always booked direct with the Forte Village and the saving is about 30%, booking later in the year gives an even larger saving.
There are 5 Hotels available and and we have looked at the rooms in each hotel, to see the difference in price. We have stayed at the Le Palme Bungalows for the past few years, favouring the Village type feel that these bungalows scattered around the resort offer. Having looked at the others we feel the Palme is the best value for money. If money is no object then stay at Le Dune Bungalows, which are beautfiul and superbly located near to the beach, but be prepared to pay twice the price of Le Palme. The rooms at Le Palme are not large, nor are they luxurious. They are furnished in a sardinian rustic style but are lovely. The Castello was ok but more like a traditional high rise Hotel, unless you go for the suite that David Beckham stayed in on the top floor but happy spending!!! Villagio is not as nice as Le Palme and the Villa Del Parco Villas are lovely but too far out of the resort.
On our first visit, we like many were disappointed by the rooms. When you pay these prices you expect luxury but we quickly understood that the price is not really about the rooms, it is about so much more.
The Breakfast by the beach every morning is so relaxing (with the exception of the irritating violinist!) and the choice is excellent. Yes its busy in high season but be prepared for this and get up a little earlier, or send your partner down to grab a selection and eat on your terrace! There are excellent choices for lunch including 2 beach restaurants offering superb freshly made pizzas and pastas or pool side snack bars with salads and toasties. In the evening there is so much choice. We like La Pineta as the buffet is a sight to see and offers excellent food for every taste, plus free bottle of wine. Chinese restaurant, French restaurant overlooking the beach, Brazilian, Sardinian, 2 more expensive choices for those that want a finer cuisine and more besides.
The childrens club is great! We have seen the same staff in the childrens club and all over the Hotel for the past five years and they go out of their way to welcome you. The play area is safe with paddling pool (in the sun admittedly), indoor play area with DVD's etc, under cover play area with games, outdoor play area, swings, sand pit etc It is well organised and the staff genuinely love working with children. They will also babysit for you in the evening and took our children out on 2 nights, taking them aounrd the resort on their bikes or to the baby disco or taking my son to his football match. The overall facilities for children are outstanding, from the superb football coaching and tournaments, to the Go Karts, to the Train that runs around the resort daily and the weekly Fair that they have. Admittedly everything costs extra but again, be prepared for this before you go. Do your research and you will not be shocked.
I read a review that said the beach was poor, in comparison to what - the Maldives? Perhaps so, but for a European resort the beach is lovely. Clear, gently sloping pale sand into clear waters (its true!). The choice of swimming pools are great, either at the top ot the resort for all Hotels, with fab water slides or for the 3 5 star hotels there is their own sea water pools which sounds posh but is actually no different other than nearer the beach and you have navy blue towels instead of turquoise, which means you are 5 star!
The evening entertainment has been disappointing over the last couple of years but during our first few years, we watched an Abba Tribute, a Beatles Tributre, Kid Creole and the Coconuts (I know but they were great!) and an Irish band who were fab (come back next year!). The last two years, a highlight for my Husband has been a heat of Miss Italy. For me there is the Fashion Show, which is pretty impressive! There is the usual cheesy host but its a laugh and the square where the evening entertainment is held is lovely with the most fantastic shops running around it. Again, yes these are designer shops but you dont have to buy!
The Forte Village welcomes an amazing range of people and its a great place to people watch. From the model types in designer bikinis, to the more recently attracted friends in Russia who have no clue when it comes to clothes, to your every day people who save football shirts for the pitch in the evening rather than parading them around the resort!
I love the Forte Village and if it wasnt for my husband wanting a change this year, I would be there this Summer. I love arriving and being driven to my room through the beautiful gardens with the amazing flowers on a luxury golf buggy! Again, cheesy but lovely when you are there.
So enjoy if you go! If you look for fault you will find it. If you go knowing this is expensive but is fun, a great spot to people watch, eat good food, watch your children have the best time and relax, then you might just feel like me!
Perhaps see you next year!
I was prompted to write this review after reading the comments of other, recent visitors. There seems to be a real difference of opinion between those who hate it (and feel that they've been grossly overcharged) and others who love it and would go back tomorrow. I certainly agree that some of the add-ons are expensive (although in fairness, prices in Italy have shot up generally over the last couple of years) and parts of the complex need to be spruced up. However, it does have some good points and much depends on what your expectations are.
We visited Forte Village for the second year running in Aug 2005 (myself, wife plus 3 daughters 18, 14 and 9). On both occasions we managed to get really good deals by booking last minute (over 60% off brochure price in 2005) and we were also fortunate to get a free upgrade this time round. We had an enjoyable stay but we came away with a slightly less positive view of the place, which might have had something to do with a couple of days of unseasonable bad weather we experienced but was also the result of what we felt were a mixture of less exacting standards on the part of management and sheer volume of guests.
On the plus side, the food was uniformly good/excellent (Pineta and Brazillian especially plus Sardo and the beach side pasta place) and portions were, if anything too large! Unlike many 4/5 star establishments the vast majority of the staff were extremely obliging, friendly and actually seemed keen to help. The rooms we had were very clean and spacious (but then we were lucky to be upgraded).
However, there were several things that could have been improved:
1. For whatever reason, there was an unpleasant smell hanging over the village for part of our stay. Guest Relations said it was caused by problems with the drains and while these things can happen you'd have thought - given the place's claims to being of 5 star standard - the problem could/should have been resolved.
2. Whether it was because we went a week earlier than the previous year (around 20th Aug rather than 27th) or an upsurge in bookings there was a lot more people around. This was particularly noticeable at breakfast (poolside restaurant found it hard to cope with the numbers - on one occasion a sudden downpour forced everyone inside and we ended up sitting at a table full of uncleared crockery/food etc for 10 minutes before the restaurant manager himself came over to clear the rubbish away and put on a new tablecloth) and on the beach where space was at a premium and tempers got a bit frayed as a result (we had quite an unpleasant experience one day when upon our return from a swim some of our personal belongings had been unceremionously dumped on the sand and a group sitting who had been sitting nearby had shamelessly taken possession of our loungers and added them to their collection).
3. One evening (9pm?), we thought we'd take a walk along the beach but were stopped in our tracks by a very disreputable looking pair of non-guests loitering at the entrance of the resort. Without going into detail it was apparent that they were looking to do some sort of "business". What was even more surprising was one of the village staff seemed to be engaging them in friendly conversation rather than seeking to "persuade" them to move on or calling the police.
4. Evening entertainment - which previously had been one of the high spots - was quite poor and uninspiring and the compere seemed to struggle with the intricacies of the various languages he was trying to speak.
One final point (and I make no comments whether this is a good or bad thing - I simply make the observation): we got the impression that the guest demographic had changed over the intervening 12 months. Whereas in 2004, there were lots of small family groups - mum & dad plus couple of kids (mostly English, Italian and, to a lesser extent French & German) this time round there were much larger groups - extended families/friends/ business acquaintances (mainly from the former USSR) - who tended to colonise sections of the beach, restaurants and bars.
Would we go back? Based on last year, we'll probably wait a year or two - hopefully some of the investment needed will have been made by then and maybe, given increasing competition, the management might be forced to make more of the optional extras available free of charge.
We went as a family of 5 in July 2006. two adults and three teenagers. Cost a fortune and we got at best 3 star value.
The Villagio accomodation is poor, comparable to tourist class ratings .The Il Borgo accomodation which we took for the second week is better BUT you have to pay a hefty surcharge.
Food is mainly buffet and it dosn`t really change and is OK but again not any where near 5 star. Alternatives to the buffet are both poor in quality and some charge 70 euros per head surcharge..absolute rip off.
Leisureland, the activity area for teenagers is worn out , depressing, dirty and again way overpriced. 50 euros for bowling, similar for iceskating etc.
The beach is nothing like the brochure in that the sun beds are placed three rows deep and millimetres from the next. Also in July nearly all have gone by 0900. A large part of the shoreline is pebble and rocks.
Overall the place is scruffy, showing its age, noisey..the evening entertainment blasts out until midnight everynight and the better accomodation is within earshot of this. But also the main pool has three lots of aerobics blasting out everyday and the other pool has the slides that make it earsplitting what with kids screams. Sunbed are like the beach placed millimeters from one another.
The day to day running of the place is for all to see and hear! Maids chatter noisely outside the rooms from 0800, golf carts towing rattling trailers laden with towels etc race up and down throughout the day, room service trays lay outside rooms in the hot sun for hours before being collected. You walk through a storage area to get to the breakfast buffet etc etc.
Also be clear ,this is a resort aimed at very young families ie under 10s. Crying babies and screaming toddlers are everywhere. There is absolutely no escape.
So in closing this is at best a 3 star very tired resort charging astronomically high prices. You decide!
Ok but not Great
The hotels are nice enough, but very expnsive. We didnt expect it to be cheap but local wine costing upwards of £50 (to over £1300) a bottle is a little much. Food was good, but impossible to get into the other restaurants even when you try to book in advance. Entertainment was the same group every night and did get boring towards the end of the week. There is nothing outside the complex expect scrub land so if you dont have a driving licence then youre stuck for a week by the pool and eating the same food with very little variation. There are a few shops on the complex and if youre looking for a £22,000 Rolex then this is the place. You can hire bikes but again that was dependant on being at the right place and time if someone brought one back and again its £15 a day. In a nut shell its a nice place if you want to get away from shell suits and skin heads but over rated and over priced. Have travelled all over the world and found nicer cheaper hotels unless you want to boast you said there !
Advice - Staying in Santa Margherita di Pula
My girlfriend & I are flying into Cagliari for 10 days on September 8th. I have been been searching the internet for self catering accomodation for our holiday. I received an offer of accomodation in Santa Margherita di Pula - see this link for the exact property: http://sardiniatravel.net/docs/pula_pineta_e.html
Does anyone know what this location is like? Is there a town/villiage nearby? Would we need to rent a car? We have been quoted €450 for 2 weeks. Is this a good price?
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Sardinia - off the beaten track in September
Am thinking of visiting Sardinia in mid September, is the weather still hot around this time?
And can anyone recommend a beautiful beach or village/town near a beautiful beach, away from the masses of tourists and glitz and glamour of the more built up areas?
Any accommodation recommendations would be appreciated too, due to midweek flights though renting a villa/apartment is not an option due to the Saturday check-in/out restrictions. Thanks in advance!
Re: Sardinia - off the beaten track in September
Mid September is probably one of the best times to stay in Sardegna. The tourist crowds are away and you can save a lot of money on your room.
If you want to see the less crowded area, I suggest you to go to the south of Sardegna.
Two good places are:
- Torre delle Stelle, (means Stars' Tower) which is about 30 Km east of Cagliari (the Sardegna's capital city). From here you can easily explore all the coast from Cagliari to Muravera and Costa Rey, passing thru Solanas and Villasimius.
- Santa Margherita di Pula, which is about 40 Km west of Cagliari. From here you can go to Chia, which have a lot of beautiful sand dunes.
Anyway all the south of Sardegna is a truly gem, and if you want to see it I highly reccomend you to come with a car or with a motorcycle and rent an home. There are a lot of renting opportunities in mid september and it should be easy to find them on the Internet. Bed and Breakfast are also a possibility, but if you stay for more than a week, probably renting an house is a better choice.
About the saturday check-in/check-out restrictions, should be easy to find homes without these restricrions in mid september.
Since I live in Cagliari, if you need other informations, feel free to ask. ;-)
Re: Re: Sardinia - off the beaten track in September
thanks so much for your answers, the south certainly looks beautiful and i have found some websites with rental opportunities on them. definitely will rent a car and there seems SO much to see!