We reveal firsthand, why Delphina hotels have been named Europe's leading eco resort
Sapphire blue water, walls of jasmine and wild vegetation surround Delphina’s 5* Resort Valle Dell’Erica Thalasso & Spa, nestled subtly in Sardinia’s rocky landscape. Natural beauty is simply inescapable with the resort being situated on picturesque Italian coastline, but, perhaps the most impressive thing about this family-run hotel chain, is their most recent award. Welcome to Europe’s Leading Green Resort 2019.
Protecting the environment has always been at the heart of Delphina’s philosophy and this influences everything from the locally grown food, to the biodegradable slippers waiting for you in the bedrooms, and their use of wind power that makes the hotel the first in Italy to use 100% certified green energy. The luxury resort covers 28 hectares of land, privately owning 8 bays, and you will not be disappointed by the 180-degree view of one of 60 islands in La Maddalena archipelago. The 5* Resort Valle Dell’Erica Thalasso & Spa will bestow tranquility and serenity upon you.
Sardinia is believed to have the world’s highest concentration of centenarians, making it one of the world’s only Blue Zones (regions where people are known to live longer than average). The Italian island has gained this reputation for longevity, due to the natural environment and its inhabitants authentic diet, culture and active lifestyle; many claim this is mainly due to the good wine! You are guaranteed to leave your week at one of Delphina’s resorts feeling restored and well and truly relaxed.
My stay at the 5* Resort Valle Dell’Erica Thalasso & Spa
The luxurious resort is embedded in the secluded Gallura hillside - you could not be further away from the hustle and bustle. With approximately 1400m of unspoilt coastline to explore, you will find yourself in an idyllic oasis of calm. The family-run chain celebrates Authentic Sardinian design, evident in the local handmade rugs, cushions and quintessential tapestries that celebrate Sardinia’s heritage; all of which display a rich palette of Mediterranean colours.
I practically sunk into the sumptuous bed from which you have panoramic views of the sea, and was pleased to learn that every private bathroom has ocean views, to remind guests of the natural surroundings. The hair and skin care products in the bathroom were of course in line with Delphina’s commitment to lowering their environmental impact, containing organic and locally sourced ingredients in recyclable bottles.
After packing my daily essentials in my Delphina gifted organic, 100% recycled beach bag, I strolled through drapes of bougainvillea to one of the four pools in the resort. After a hard day relaxing by the pool and enjoying the bar set in the water, I was drawn to the services on offer at the Thalasso & Spa. Unwinding in the circuit of four seawater swimming pools of varying temperatures (of course heated by renewable energy) is a must, as is a massage at the 5* spa. Prepare yourself for aromatic, bio-friendly extracts from local Sardinian resources including myrtle, helichrysum and eucalyptus, and a soothing massage you won’t forget.
Feast on local Sardinian foods
With 7 restaurants to choose from at Resort Valle Dell’Erica, and 14 in total when taking into account the two other 5* Delphina resorts on the island, (Hotel Marinedda Thalasso & Spa 5* and Hotel Cap D’Orso Thalasso & Spa 5*) there is a plethora of varying styles of Sardinian cuisine. I got the chance to discover the region through its flavours and through the seasonal ingredients that are grown or sourced within a kilometre away from the resort.
A typical food itinerary at Valle Dell’Erica looks like this. Let’s start with breakfast at Les Bouches. Delphina redefined the term ‘breakfast buffet’ by offering everything you would expect and more, going the extra mile with a selection of vegan croissants, a bakery of home-baked bread, Gallura honey that promises no human interference with the original honey comb, a variety of gluten-free options, a fruit smoothie station, a table of baked goods fit for a patisserie window… I could go on. Whilst I took in the sea view and sipped my cappuccino, my ears were soothed by a spot of classical piano being played on the veranda.
Next up, the delicious lunch. Fresh fish responsibly caught on the day was found on the ‘à la carte’ menu of the seafood restaurant, Li Zini, situated on the serene coastline. The restaurant also offers a dreamy candlelit dinner on the beach at night. I opted for the octopus, swordfish, salmon and sea bass risotto which was light, but incredibly flavoursome. Lunch is not included in the half-board package but this sensory experience is too good to miss.
You might choose to finish off the day at Li Cuisoni as I did, which provides the ambience of a quintessential, cosy Italian taverna. I watched in awe, as Chef Chicca handmade Sardinian gnocchi using baskets that have been in the family for many years (for guests looking for home cooked Gallurese recipes, this does exactly that). Or instead, if you are looking for more choice on your menu, I’d go for Les Bouches, another restaurant offering beautifully crafted vegan dishes and a buffet that promises unprecedented variety.
Sample locals wines at a nearby vineyard
Enrich your trip to Sardinia by visiting the Siddura winery and vineyards, which cover 220 hectares near the picturesque village of Luogosanto, to learn about local cultivation. Wine tasting is of course part and parcel of the vineyard tour…
Preserving the ‘terroir’ and the natural habitat in which the grapes grow is at the heart of the winery’s philosophy. What makes this winery different is the futuristic precision irrigation technology used to reduce water waste and chemical use. Prepare yourself. By attaching sensors to the roots of the plants, Netafim allows the farmers to receive information on their computer about the needs of the plants and enables the plants to communicate with the farmers! This really is the future of wine. The trip also included a tour of the production room and a tasting of 8 wines made by the award-winning wine seller in Sardinia, who can count 350 medals in their collection.
Explore Northern Sardinia
Nearing the end of my trip, I took to the sea on one of Delphina’s boat tours to explore the most concentrated area of yachts in the world. Guests can either choose a half or full day tour, but both give the opportunity to experience the clear turquoise waters and visit nearby towns such as La Maddalena. The local spots to visit notably include: Aggius, to learn about its weaving with a loom heritage and see where the hotel’s tapestries are made, Santa Teresa Gallura, for a boat ride to Corsica, and Capo Testa for a brilliant sunset spot and trek to a secluded beach. Maybe not so secluded now!
All in all, Delphina’s 5* Resort Valle Dell’Erica Thalasso & Spa was a flawless escape from the repetition of daily life. I found myself relaxing under a canopy of stars one evening in my soft, biodegradable slippers, simply listening to the rhythm of the sea, conscious that I was as far away as I could be from the rumble of trains or work deadlines. Bliss.
Resort Valle Dell’Erica Thalasso & Spa is a 1 hour drive from Olbia. Rooms can be booked individually starting at €160. Visit the website for further information and bookings.