Spring Bank week at Forte Village Sardinia…

Restaurants: At the level we stayed we didn’t get access to all the restaurants. This early in the season, not all were open, anyway. It was strange how reception could not give us a map showing where the restaurants were, nor could they give us any menus – even though we asked more than twice. Yet they insisted we made bookings. I find this strange. You cannot expect people to book a restaurant without telling them what food it serves, and what is on the menu, and where it is located!

We eventually fell into their trap, by taking the reception’s suggestion to book two restaurants (Sardi and Grill); places we would not have chosen in normal situations, as they were rather tired looking, quite empty, and the food was meat-heavy and only average quality.

Another example of this being Le Dune, one of the fine-dining restaurants which had a 70 Euro per person supplement. Yet there was very little I could eat due to my shellfish food allergy.

More so, the restaurants open rather late in the evening for families with children.
In the end, of all the website bravado of 21 restaurants, we ended up each night at the buffet as the only choice when travelling with a young child (age 8). At the buffet, at least, the food choice was wide. Except… the weather wasn’t always good for eating outside, and the hotel had no inside seating option.
Furthermore, hot food was served on to cold plates. By the time one had weaved back to the table, the food was cold. After a few nights, I was asking them to grill the plates before serving food. I’m convinced food was below the safe health and hygiene 70 degree C temperature levels. I saw several small children who had “tummy trouble”.

We were also annoyed that we had to learn from other guests that the half-board included free wine. We were never told of this option when we (naturally) asked for a wine list at the table on the first 4 nights. The house red and white were very drinkable, and we would not have wasted well over 150 euros on wine in the first half of the week.

Finally, the lunch options were very limited. Excluding pool snacks, 2 places to eat with pasta, pizza, fish and salad became quite boring for a week.

The room: Our “Le Palme” family garden bungalow was newly refurbished, but connected to the children’s accommodation which was old and dilapidated. This space even left builders’ drawings on the floor where work was planned, but hadn’t happened. We had to keep the interconnecting doors open, as there were no handles should they have been accidently shut. We only used the connecting room for sleep.

The location – we thought – was good. But due to the Skoda site take-over (see later) the noise of dance music each night was not conducive to getting children to sleep. More so, the bungalow had different guests upstairs. They weren’t overly noisy, but we expected to be alone.
The room had a mini-bar – it even had alcohol in the children’s room, but there wasn’t a price list. We asked, but it never appeared. A hotel of this calibre should supply free bottled water.
The cleaning of the room was extremely hit and miss. I think we suffered from a rota which had trained staff on even dates, and new staff on odd dates. As we only occasionally got all the towels changed and foot-mats to get in and out of bed.

Not all the pools were open. Only two were heated, but the heating system seemed to fail during the week. Both pools purporting to be heated were rather deep (5M and 2.5M), and certainly not good for children who couldn’t swim.

WiFi: We were initially asked to pay 20 Euros per day for wifi. We complained and got this for free. It seems arbitrary how much you pay.

Sports: Especially for children, much of the forte village is about sports and fitness. We didn’t get any information on arrival, and the map we were handed on arrival showed the wrong sports in the wrong locations. This resulted in stalking people dressed in gym gear at breakfast to discover the sports options, costs and locations. Children’s sports training was (VERY) pricy at 110 euros for 2 hours per child per day, but actually was of good quality.

One afternoon we tried the (95 euro) thalasso therapy option. In hindsight, the Thalasso therapy receptionist should have offered some health and safety advice. The first two pools were a mix of strong salts, oils and minerals. So much additives were in the pools that any skin wounds were painfully aggravated. As I had recently had foot surgery, I could only manage 30 seconds; compared to the 10 minutes we had been recommended to bathe.

Intrasite coordination across the resort was poor. For instance, the go-karts (20 Euros for 12 minutes) and 10 pin bowling (at 8 Euros per person per game) started way too late for children (8pm until 1am) as you had to either go after dinner, or eat even later. This lack of synchronisation seemed typical of the resort; a good example being the ice cream kiosk closing just BEFORE the children finished sports training.

The holiday was marred by a promotional takeover of the whole resort by Skoda – who was holding its annual sales training, marketing and demonstration month for hundreds of delegates. Hence, we ordinary public were barred from entering some restaurants and locations.

So for a 4 and 5 star resort, it was rather disappointing. I’m not sure I’d go back again.