Costa Smeralda Is Making a Comeback

Once upon a time, Sardinia was an unassuming, mountainous island, west of the Italian Peninsula, north of Tunisia and immediately south of the French island of Corsica.

What is now known as the Costa Smeralda was originally a 20km stretch on the northeastern coast of the island, largely uninhabited, where shepherds grazed their flocks and the landscape consisted of untarnished beaches and stone pine forests.

The Aga Khan purchased this land in the early 1960s and transformed it into a tightly-controlled playground for the super-rich and a glamorous crowd flocked for the summer months. In 1962, he founded Porto Cervo, with its five-star hotel offerings and a 700-berth port, and the Olbia-Costa Smeralda Airport followed a few years later.

He reportedly told an interviewer:

“We are not foolish. We realise that there simply are not enough millionaires or playboys to make a 35-mile resort area prosper. There will be houses, restaurants, nightclubs, shops, and sporting facilities for wallets of all sizes.”

“Wallets for all sizes” isn’t quite how we’d describe today’s Costa Smeralda.

In high season, a one bedroom private pool suite at the Pitrizza will set you back €7,300 per night, while a top ‘front line’ villa on the super-prime domains of Romazzino and Piccolo Romazzino could be more than €200k per week.

At €39,000 per night, the Cala di Volpe penthouse has its own pool but the floorspace is 250m2 (not huge by any standards).

At those rates, the cost of dining out might seem irrelevant. But mere mortals be warned that a plate of risotto will easily set you back €50 and you can expect to part with €10 for an espresso.

And yet, forgetting its reputation for extravagance and over-indulgence, the Costa Smeralda manages to retain a ravishing natural beauty. The waters of the ocean are as clear as the Bahamas and the coastline is simply exquisite.

Outside of July/August, it’s peaceful, even understated, particularly when compared to some of the other jetsetty hotspots (St Tropez, Mykonos etc).

With Cheval Blanc taking over Hotel Pitrizza and Belmond being assigned management of Romazzino, is the island about to undergo a long-awaited renaissance and become the one to watch on the Mediterranean?

We’ve had a long love affair with the Costa Smeralda. It was one of Nota Bene’s first-ever published reviews and we’ve combed the region thoroughly for the very best private villas, yacht charters, guides, restaurants and add-on destinations. With the exciting hotel developments and top rental properties, there’s no one better equipped to plan this for you.

With summer approaching and dates filling up, complete a few details HERE and let us contact you.