, 2022-09-19 16:02:00,
Posing as a marine biologist and with Soviet agent Anya Amasova posing as his wife, James Bond checked into Hotel Cala di Volpe in the The Spy Who Loved Me (1977). Their mission: to gather intelligence aboard super-villain Karl Stromberg’s secret underwater lair, somewhere in the Tyrrhenian Sea between Sardinia and the Italian mainland. In the meantime, they stay in a spacious suite with exposed wooden beams and open ocean views (where Amasova also vows to kill Bond when the mission is over).
When I stayed at Cala di Volpe this year, I saw no villainous marine lair, just Tommy Hilfiger’s super yacht. The hotel has retained its Bond glamour through the years and offers the super-rich (and some super-famous) a more private experience than St Tropez or Monaco. For the rest of us, this Sardinian institution is a decadent place to spend a few days (or weeks) – if you can afford it.
Its architect, Jacques Couëlle (friend to Picasso and Dali), had a philosophy of ‘home landscape’, which meant that architecture should reflect the nature around it. At Cala di Volpe, that’s been translated into cave-like stone arches (painted white or clay orange) that give the hotel a sculptural feel. From behind (that is, from the sea), Cala di Volpe looks like a warren, with each alcove a secluded balcony set above the bay. (This balcony was my favourite part of an altogether fabulous room, especially when, in what locals regarded as a freak weather event, it rained one day.) Inside,…
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