We may have found this summer’s best family resort in sunny Sardinia

Last updated 9th July 2024

Armed with a long-held ambition to holiday in Sardinia, along with a need for some sun, John Lewisohn and family recently visited Chia Laguna Resort in the sunny southwest.


Horse riding on beach, Conrad Chia Laguna Sardinia

The perfect beach hotel for a holiday in Sardinia

Every family will have their own ideas as to what makes the perfect Mediterranean beach hotel. Four days at Chia Laguna Resort ticked all the right boxes, including some I didn’t even know needed ticked.

I’ve long wanted a holiday in Sardinia, it was top of my list having spent many happy times in neighbouring Corsica where I’d been seduced by the fragrant dense maquis shrubs redolent of mint, rosemary and thyme. The Sardinian version, called  macchia mediterranea is also home to more endemic plants such as Lentischi, Corbezzoli, brooms, wild fennel, myrtle, holm oak and juniper. Found in abundance in the gardens outside the hotel entrance the Mediterranean breeze wafted them into the reception area.


Hotel Village, Chia Laguna Resort

Not for nothing is Sardinia known as ‘The Island of the Wind’ but the Il Maestrale mainly blows between October and April and focuses more on the North and West of the Island, rather than in the deep South West where Chia Laguna Resort is located, less than 60km from Cagliari Airport.


Feeling those holiday in Sardinia vibes

Want the secret to a long life? Ask a Sardinian

I noted, when flying home on a cloudless morning, that Sardinia is quite a big island: it took almost 30 minutes before we cleared its north coast. However, Cagliari the capital, is home to almost half a million people and that’s a third of the island’s entire population. Contrast this with Sicily, which is only fractionally bigger, and has a population of 5-million. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Sardinians are reputed to be some of the longest lived on the planet, and in fact Sardinia is one of the few designated planetary “Blue Zones”, evolving from lifestyles combining healthy whole food diets, physical activity, low stress, and rich social interactions.

My holiday in Sardinia was certainly low stress; I swam a lot in aquamarine sea already warm in late May and ate healthily, just in greedy quantities: impossible to avoid given the offering at the resort’s 12 restaurants.


Family swimming pool, Conrad Chia Laguna Sardinia

Which Chia Laguna hotel is right for your family?

Chia Laguna Resort is made up of three distinctly different hotels: Conrad Chia Laguna, where we stayed, only opened in 2022 and features 107 rooms and suites; Baia di Chia Resort Sardinia, Curio Collection by Hilton (setting a record for the world’s longest hotel name I think) offers 77 rooms and suites and is set on a hill with views to match; and 4-star Hotel Village, with 240 rooms, is big enough that guests have the option to be ferried around in golf buggies. This is a service you might want to accept when going to one of the two superlative beaches, particularly with young children in tow in the hot sun.


Monte Cogoni Beach holiday in Sardinia

We could have spent all holiday in Sardinia on the beach

Chia Laguna’s gorgeous Mediterranean beaches are separated by a headland and I visited both twice. Whether walking or taking a golf buggy the vista is spectacular with 360 degree hues of green and blue passing by the protected lagoon populated by that weirdest of birds, the flamingo, which your kids are bound to find endlessly fascinating.


Dune di Campana Beach, Sardinia

Going by the evocative names of  Monte Cogoni and Dune di Campana, each soft white sand beach leads down to gently shelving, limpid turquoise waters, perfect for young children to frolic and bordered by rock pools for exploring.  Windsurfing equipment and pedalo can be borrowed too. And the hotel guests have access to smart sun loungers, with both umbrellas and head shades, as well as a bar for drinks, snacks and gelato, of course. Good to note, the kind staff can also order you a buggy back to the hotel.

If you can tear them and yourselves away from the beaches there is a huge array of alternative distractions to consider.


Kids pool, perfecting a holiday in Sardinia

Chia Laguna Resort can’t do enough to make kids happy

The Kids Club, centrally located near Hotel Village, has had an upgrade this year and is conveniently open from 9am until 11pm. This is perfect if your little ones have a sensible siesta during the hottest part of the day and are then wide awake when they might normally be in bed. The club has an arena for shows and evening entertainment too, along with its own pool and different zones defined by age: Mini, Junior and Adventure.


Children learning to sail on holiday in Sardinia

In the peak season children can also enrol for the Sports Academies, often led by genuine sporting legends, and including a Juventus football academy, as well as academies for padel, basketball, fencing, and even hip-hop. There are also tennis courts and many swimming pools dotted around the hotel grounds, all quite different in shape, vibe and view. Plus parents tempted to indulge in the luxurious spa, are free to do so when their kids are fully engaged elsewhere.


Chia Laguna Resort garden, Sardinia

A fresh take on some sweet summer traditions

Pre and post-dinner, all guests naturally gravitate to the central Piazza where there are often musical performances, and always, big TV screens: showing the Champions League final when we were there. The Piazza is with tables and bars, plus there are glamourous boutiques and useful stores selling beach clothes. There is also a top-notch gelateria and its perfect for passeggiata: the beloved Italian tradition of strolling around in the evening. Although in this case you can also relax and chat with new friends, while your kids run about in a safe environment, reliving another perfect day.


Diving excursion, Chia Laguna Resort, Sardinia

Dive into the Mediterranean or delve into local history

If you fancy some time outside the resort, there are plenty of options that Chia Laguna Resort can arrange. We took a snorkelling and swimming trip from the beach along the coast to explore secret coves. Then went on a 4×4 adventure into the interior along some seriously bumpy tracks through the hills nearby to see old farms almost submerged by fragrant macchia. It was interesting to see the old shepherd’s tracks (the island is home to 3-million sheep and produces pecorino cheese) and gaze on tantalising views of the coast shimmering in the afternoon heat haze.


Il Ginepro Restaurant, Baia di Chia

Take your pick of 12 restaurants at Chia Laguna Resort

As I mentioned earlier, the resort is home to an incredible 12 restaurants, along with eight bars. Guests can dine and drink in any of them regardless of which hotel they’re staying at, which is a real boon as you can eat somewhere different for almost every meal. All are distinct in design and choice, with a common theme of serving superb food, mainly Italian in style, with an emphasis on clean, fresh flavours and lots of seafood including sushi and poke bowls.

Of course, pizza and pasta are perennial holiday in Sardinia staples, and I became addicted to the local pane carasau, a flat bread a bit like a poppadum – but with no bubbles or spice – which is covered in rosemary and salt and comes in a paper bag. Do as the locals do, and dip it into fragrant Sardinian olive oil. I must have consumed a piazza square meterage of the stuff and imagine your kids will too. It’s not too calorific ( I hope), but it is very addictive.


Il Canneto bar, Conrad Chia Laguna Sardinia

A holiday in Sardinia means sunshine from May to October

Depending on your budget, either Conrad Chia Laguna or Hotel Village are perfect choices for a family holiday in Sardinia between May and October. During our end of May visit temperatures averaged in the mid to high 20s, but can rise to the late 30’s in July and August.

From about 1,000BC, Sardinians tended to settle inland due to frequent sea invasions by Carthaginians, Phoenicians and Romans. That’s why, even today, there are relatively few coastal settlements on the island. Happily those times are over, but be thankful that someone had the foresight to build Chia Laguna in its most perfect of coastal settings, one you may find very hard to leave.

How to plan this holiday in Sardinia

How to get there

Direct UK flights to Sardinia from 2 hours, 30 minutes

Where to stay

Conrad Chia Laguna, double room, B&B, from £626 per night

Hotel Village, double room, B&B, from £262 per night

Find out more and book here