Discovering new and amazing places to travel to is the best part of my job as a travel journalist. I’m always looking to share dreamy locations with beautiful beaches and unique wildlife so often my travels take me far far away in search of paradise. So discovering a little slice of heaven that is less than a 3 hours flying time from London is like hitting the jackpot!
A few weeks ago I headed to the Italian Hospitality Collection Resort of Chia Laguna as part of a hosted press stay. The award winning hotel complex is located in Southern Sardinia and is the proud and deserving owner of the acclaimed title, ‘Italy’s Best Sea’. The resort is a very family focused hotel and villa complex that boasts one of the best locations in Sardinia. Spending three nights at Chia was a great luxury weekend away that bought back so many nostalgic family holiday memories.
Chia Laguna is based in southern Sardinia, the flight from London Gatwick is a short and sweet 2hrs and 45 minutes. Myself and the group of travel journalists I was flying out with took one of the chartered flights provided by a company called Sardatur, they organise weekly packages with Chia Laguna and were kind enough to treat us all to British Airways Club World seats which was a great way to start our luxury weekend break.
Upon arrival in Cagliari it’s roughly a 40 minute journey to the side of the island where the resort is based. The drive itself is really special, as soon as you leave the airport you are greeted by the pink flamingos that reside in the neighbouring lagoon, if you’re eyesight allows you can even see the rosy balancing birds from the plane. Who knew there were flamingos living in Italia?!
Chia Laguna Resort is divided into four different styles of holiday residences, we were hosted by most prestige of the four options, the five star Hotel Laguna and it was beautiful. Perfectly located with views of the enviable beaches that surround the property and beautifully decorated in an authentic yet modern Italian style. The classic and contemporary buildings and surroundings were an easy and instant testament to the coveted five star hotel status.
The hotel pool was large and and minimalistic with a great poolside restaurant and ample lounging space. From the pool area you are treated to stunning views over the flamingo filled lagoon and the award winning beach. My room was located directly next to the pool so I was lucky enough to share the dreamy views. The room was lovely and large with a huge bed and pretty bathroom and the outdoor space was a small garden that lent a hand in enjoying the amazing view whilst sipping on my complimentary bottle of Vino 😉 For the full room tour scroll down to watch the video.
The hotel’s newly renovated spa is what makes the family focused resort also appeal to escaping couples. It’s a huge complex with multiple floors and two outdoor spaces to enjoy as well as a large and unique sensory experience indoors. The lower level outdoor area consists of three jet pools, all set at different temperatures, a large outdoor shower and relaxing sun-loungers. The upstairs outdoor space is an open roof-top in which, once again, sun loungers are laid out in leisure and there is also a large jet pool to chill out in pre or post treatments.
Inside the fresh new spa there are a number of treatment rooms and also a communal indoor spa area that features a steam room, sauna, turkish bath and jacuzzis. There’s also tropical showers and lounge areas to enjoy as part of your spa day. I personally fell in love with the sauna, making a trip there every single day of my stay! The temperature was perfect, space ample and the scent in the dry heat was incredible. Soft tranquil music plays throughout the spa too, making it almost impossible not to relax.
As someone who usually struggles to switch off I was well and truly dozed before my treatment started. I had one of the resort’s signature massages in which warm honey and olive oil are used to warm up and relax the skin and muscles whilst soft pressure is applied. It was a nice change from my usual deep tissue massage and I did something that with my ‘Too many tabs open’ brain doesn’t happen often, I fell asleep 😉
As those of you who have read my blog for a while now will know, my love for the beach is almost always what steers my travel decisions and choices. I was invited on this trip by the lovely team at Chia Laguna and it was their outstandingly beautiful beach that had me accepting the gracious proposal in seconds!
The beach at Chia has been voted Italy’s best beach two years in a row and I have to say, it’s well deserved! The beach itself is golden sand and the sea enviably blue and clear. Walking up to the beach on the quaint wooden walk way between sandy hills it’s easy to mistake that you’re strolling up to the pacific ocean in the Caribbean, it’s pretty magical considering the resort is under a 3 hour flight away from London!
Chia Laguna has a dedicated section of the beach* which is perfectly situated at the very end of the stretch of sand. This section of such a famous beach is the quietist by far and the hotel provides beach towels and sun chairs to enjoy the day at sea hassle free. As well as exploring the beautiful area by yourselves by strolling up and down the water’s edge or climbing up the rocky edges to get a mega view of the location, there is also the option to enjoy one of the many water sports on offer. Myself and the group decided to take the water sports for a spin and chose the inflatable rider to be dragged around the sea on, I genuinely can’t remember a time I’ve laughed and screamed with excited glee so much. I honestly felt like I was 16 again on a family holiday!
*The beach is a fifteen minute walk from the resort but there are regular shuttle services to the hotel as well as a novelty local train that runs side by side the hotel’s service.
Just around the corner….
With gorgeous views capturing your imagination at every corner in the Laguna Hotel it took me all of 24 hours to decide I wanted to venture out beyond the resort walls! I rented a bike from the hotel which was super easy and set off, camera in hand, to get a little closer to the far-away scenery in all of my pictures. My first stop was to the famous tower at the top of the hill which is visible from most rooms in the resort.
After cycling close we walked up to the Ancient Tower itself and climbing to the very top, I was rewarded with the most incredible views of Chia. For a small fee of 3 euros you can venture all the way up to the top level and marvel at the surrounding beaches, the colours of the sea below are truly breathtaking.
After visiting the tower my next mission was to find a secluded beach to watch the sunset. After locking up the bikes my my exploring buddy Suzie and I walked up a hill just left of the tower itself and after 20 minutes of winding round the hill on foot we found our spot. Still mesmerised by just how blue and clear Sardinia’s waters were I scaled down the hill (there was potentially an easier and safer way down but as most of you know, that’s rarely my style!) to set up for an afternoon swim.
This uniquely rocky beach reminded me so much of the Amalfi Coast in Italy, I could have quite happily set up camp and continued my stay for a few days in this very spot!
The Surrounding Waters
What’s great bout being based in Chia is the amazing waters that surround the location. On a sunny day the sea comes to life creating the most beautiful colour display from deep royal blues to bright turquoises. You can hire a boat to venture further and that’s exactly what we did one morning during our stay. Gliding through the water taking in the stunning and unique Italian scenery was truly amazing and on countless occasions we anchored the boat and jumped in for a swim.
Travelling on a dingy is probably the best way to explore as you can take the boat into the intriguing nooks and crannies around the coastline, finding all the best mermaid spots!
As someone who spends fifty percent of her life in water I was so pleasantly surprised with the temperature and clarity of the sea, I think it’s so easy for us to assume that for all the best beach and ocean experiences you have to travel further afield, places like Chia showcase that this is not always the case.
It’s pretty impossible to travel anywhere in Italy and not talk about the sampled food. I am by no means a foodie (taking constant pictures in your bikini will do that to you!) but I do really enjoy a hotel that caters well for their guests. Chia laguna resort as a whole has nine different restaurants ranging from buffet style to fine dining and the while the menus are often small and concise the choices are plenty. As a vegetarian my choices are generally quite limited when travelling but on each meal occasion something delicious was whipped up for me. We made our way through each restaurant in the resort and my two favourites were BioAquam which was the poolside restaurant at the hotel and Le Dune which was the beachfront pizzeria.
Disclaimer, pictures below are of everyone’s food, not just my own!
The C&C Verdict
I really enjoyed my stay at Chia Laguna Resort, it’s amazing to think that a coastline so blue and inviting is just a short plane journey away! The resort is very much catered to families with children and it’s especially perfect for couples with young children. The luxury touches in the hotel will appeal to those travellers that are used to the five star experience but now have to consider their tots when travelling 😉
The award winning beach is stunning and the large blue flamingo favoured lagoon is a unique and beautiful setting for the resort, for me it’s the location that really makes the stay at Chia Laguna so special!