If you're deciding where to head on holiday after lockdown, seeking safety, luxury and fun in equal measure, look no further than Forte Village in Sardinia. Unlike the rest of Italy, the inspiring isle of Sardinia is in the 'low-risk white zone' in terms of COVID cases, meaning that there are no restrictions once you arrive... sounds like heaven, right?
Of course, you'll probably still want to be a little more cautious on your next luxury holiday, so Forte Village has introduced world-leading COVID-19 protocols to ensure your complete safety and peace of mind, without sacrificing the fabulous facilities that the resort is renowned for. We caught up with CEO, Mr Lorenzo Giannuzzi, to see just what awaits when you return...
Congratulations on introducing world leading COVID-19 protocols! Exactly what measures have been put into place to ensure Forte Village is a COVID-safe resort from the moment guests arrive?
At the beginning of last summer, Forte Village was the first resort in the world to implement a cutting-edge COVID Protection Protocol, which was managed by a team of ten doctors and offered COVID-19 testing for all guests on arrival. We successfully managed to create a (very luxurious) bubble, where everyone that tested negatively could essentially go back to complete normality, fully enjoying a well-deserved and unaffected holiday after a very stressful period for everyone! In fact, it all went so smoothly that a staggering number of guests decided to prolong their holiday.
The protocol - created and validated by a medical-scientific committee headed by experts from Italy's leading universities - covers every small detail. As well as tests for guests, measures include regular tests for all the members of staff, meaning zero cases were recorded the entire time we were open! This year, we will offer an even further level of protection, giving improved reassurance to all guests and members of staff. We will introduce the latest generation of rapid antigenic tests, characterised by a high sensitivity and specificity, and, if necessary, also the use of RT-PCR molecular swabs.
What additional training have your staff had since the introduction of the COVID protocols?
All the members of staff - who will be regularly tested and live in the property - have had rigorous training on hygiene and prevention of spreading, according to the instructions shared by the World Health Organization. A designated team member for each department is in charge of the control and careful application of all the measures.
Are all your incredible facilities - such as the spa and children's club - still in action? How have you ensured they are COVID-safe?
When we created the protocol last year, one of our main goals was to allow guests to live the full and authentic Forte Village experience, keeping the highest number of facilities and services available, something that has always set up apart from our competitors. We can proudly say that we fully achieved it!
Within the property, we use a certified company in charge of cleaning and sanitizing all the public areas, as well as the array of guest accommodation. We also have the amazing advantage of the great outdoors, and many of our facilities are alfresco, distributed throughout around 50 hectares. Just to give you some examples, our extraordinary Thalassa circuit - complete with six salt-rich seawater pools - is nestled in an open space of 3000-square-metres right in the heart of our natural park. Our thalassotherapy protocol itself is based on the use of brine, or magnesium chloride, that has notorious antiviral properties.
As for our little guests, the enchanting Children's Wonderland offers a wealth of outdoor space in which kids can enjoy enriching, educational and endlessly enjoyable activities. There's a thriving vegetable garden, open-air theatre and two swimming pools just for children. As well as plenty of space beneath the sunny Sardinian skies, the Wonderland activities are being scheduled in smaller groups to allow for more distancing.
Which restaurants can guests dine at? Have there been any changes to dining?
You'll be pleased to hear that there have not been any changes to the extraordinary choice of restaurants at the resort, and all areas have been set up in keeping with the new rules of recommended spacing. Again, our restaurants are almost all open-air, surrounded by glorious gardens or the shimmering sea, with wide open spaces that allow natural social distancing. As usual, even the highest culinary expectations will be exceeded by our fantastic dining venues from some of the most acclaimed chefs in the world! These include the three-Michelin-starred Chef Heinz Beck, who launched his restaurant here in 2019, and legendary Chef Massimiliano Mascia, who brings the excellence of Romagna cuisine to Forte Village. Of course, I can't forget the Celebrity Chef Nights. Every summer, exclusively for our guests, we present the greatest chefs from France, UK, Spain, Germany and the most beautiful regions of Italy, promising an unmissable and unforgettable gourmet evening, hosted on the fabulous Forte Bay Terrace.
What about your famed sports academies? Will they be running?
Not only will our legendary sports academies be running, but there will be also some exciting new additions, including expert-led courses in climbing and coastal rowing. Last year, our procedures and protocols were met with the highest praise from the sporting legends that run the academies, and they are all looking forward to joining us and training our guests again this summer. Several legends for 2021 have already been confirmed. including the hugely successful cyclist Fabian Cancellara, basketball royalty Ettore Messina, Italian fencing Olympian Valentina Vezzali, and tennis icons Dominic Hbarty and Magnus Larson. We can't wait!
Are there any restrictions at the resort?
There are no specific restrictions and I truly believe that the unmatchable achievement of our protocol is that it makes guest feel free again, allowing them to return to a strongly desired sense of normality. Also, let me add that since the 1st of March 2021, Sardinia is the first (and currently only) Italian region to be classed as a low-COVID-19-risk white zone, meaning that many restrictions in place in the rest of the country have been dropped here!
What else can guests look forward to during the upcoming summer season?
Our philosophy is to surprise and delight our guests with new services and facilities year after year, and 2021 is no exception! In addition to the new sport academies I mentioned before, a new Michelin-starred Chef, Andrea Berton, is looking forward to opening his summer restaurant at Forte Village in July and August. One of Milan's most decorated Chefs, diners can expect utterly exceptional Italian cuisine with a dedication to using top-quality ingredients. We will also open up a super-cool new whisky bar, as well as introducing yet more activities for our treasured junior guests... details coming soon!
Forte Village recently won Agents Choice at the Elegant Resorts Awards. Why do you think your resort is so loved by agents and travellers alike?
We are a destination in our own right, offering guests the very best experience in all aspects of their stay - no matter whether food, wellness, shopping, sport or accommodation. Everything is "at hand" at Forte Village, and guests can simply unwind without feeling the need to leave the property. Set within 50 hectares of flourishing parkland, overlooking the Mediterranean, Forte Village really gives the luxury of space, as well as a nurturing environment where guests can switch off from daily life and catch up with all the experiences they may have missed... particularly after 2020! On top of this, our relationship with our cherished partners - including Elegant Resorts - means we really endeavour to support them, and the ultimate goal is ensuring their clients have the best value and most magical luxury holiday they could imagine.