Situated on the north-east coast of Sardinia, Costa Smeralda offers history, culture and a wealth of natural delights. Visitors are immediately left awestruck by its pristine white sands and crystal-clear waters, but there is much more to this 55km stretch of coastline than just beautiful beaches. The area is also a fantastic destination for fans of golf, architecture and high-end cuisine.
Even with all the wonders that Costa Smeralda has to offer, visitors still cite the top-quality service provided by Eccelsa Aviation as a reason to visit
Everything about Costa Smeralda is designed to appeal to the most discerning of tourists. The resort was built in the 1960s, after a consortium of investors led by Karim Aga Khan purchased the land. Back then, each financier paid $25,000 for a small section of this coastal paradise – it has proved to be a worthwhile investment.
Today, the resort captivates visitors from all over the world with its exclusive villas, relaxing spas and world-class restaurants. The construction of a new, highly sophisticated terminal in the 2000s has also greatly increased the capacity of the Olbia Costa Smeralda Airport and boosted the area’s accessibility.
Construction of the Olbia Costa Smeralda Airport was formally completed in 1974, but as the popularity of Costa Smeralda has grown, the airport has required expansion. In 2009, Eccelsa Aviation, the airport’s only fixed-base operator (FBO), opened a new private terminal that combines stunning design with outstanding functionality.
The addition of the Eccelsa terminal means the airport is able to cater for 35,000 visitors every year and ensures they are provided with top-class amenities at the beginning and end of their visit to Costa Smeralda. The terminal has more than 4,000sq m of retail space and is home to some of the world’s finest luxury brands, including de Grisogono, Provasi and Rolex. Fine wines, designer sunglasses and glamorous jewels are just a few of the fabulous products on offer.
Naturally, the terminal represents only a fraction of Costa Smeralda’s delights. In particular, the sights and smells emanating from the many fine restaurants are sure to grab the attention of visitors. For anyone wishing to sample the best local ingredients, I Frati Rossi serves up delicious seafood dishes, including lobster, baby octopus and the fish of the day. For meat-eaters, Brazilian steakhouse Aruanã Churrascaria offers an all-you-can-eat buffet in a classy setting that boasts live music and beautiful garden terraces.
Looking the part
Befitting such a picturesque destination, the Olbia Costa Smeralda Airport is an architectural marvel. The Eccelsa terminal is evocative of a giant aircraft door when viewed from above, while observers at ground level are treated to crisp, clean lines that appear to rise skywards like giant wings. What’s more, it is the only terminal in Europe that allows travellers to enter and exit the building directly from the aircraft. On the rare occasion this service is not available, an elegant Audi airport vehicle ferries customers to the terminal, while members of staff handle their luggage.
The length of Costa Smeralda’s coastline
The year Eccelsa Aviation’s FBO terminal opened
of retail space in Eccelsa Aviation’s terminal
The building is constructed using local materials, such as Giallo San Giacomo, a yellow granite, and is adorned with native flora. The terminal is also host to a dedicated crew lounge that offers complimentary Wi-Fi and satellite TV, as well as a separate ‘snooze room’ for when a more relaxing space is required. A large passenger lounge, complete with a summer patio and a selection of magazines, is located just a short distance from the entrance.
Controlled by airport management company Geasar, Eccelsa Aviation has long believed that combining professionalism with a personal touch is the key to delivering the product demanded by its clients. All 45 team members have fully embraced its culture of service – it is an ethos that has shaped the aviation firm since its foundation in 2003.
Although passenger numbers have soared since the company’s early days, it has not stopped Eccelsa Aviation from expanding the services it offers. For example, there are now more than 150 private parking spaces available only to Eccelsa Aviation customers, a personalised reception service, a private business centre equipped with the latest audiovisual equipment, and an exclusive VVIP area.
Tourists who come to Costa Smeralda expect the very best. They are discerning individuals who have come to enjoy the high-end sophistication of superyachts, villas and five-star hotels. As such, the service offered by Eccelsa Aviation has to live up to these standards and ensure customers feel comfortable, satisfied and eager to return.
The unspoilt nature of Costa Smeralda was one of the many things that attracted the Aga Khan to this area many decades ago and so, unsurprisingly, sustainability remains a key concern for local businesses. Eccelsa Aviation’s environmental awareness is evidenced by the fact that more than 60 percent of the company’s ramp equipment is powered by electric engines, with aims to increase this proportion to 80 percent by 2021. Agritourism offerings located not far from the coast provide another opportunity for visitors to embrace sustainability during their stay.
There’s a reason why visitors are likely to want to preserve the nature that they see around them. The beaches along the Costa Smeralda are some of the finest the world has to offer, with the Spiaggia del Romazzino, Spiaggia del Grande Pevero and Spiaggia Capriccioli proving particularly popular among tourists. Diving excursions, meanwhile, allow visitors to enjoy purple seaweed, indigo blue sponges, red coral and a host of other colourful specimens.
Porto Cervo, the capital of Costa Smeralda, also has plenty for culture vultures to get excited about. Every year, the resort plays host to a wine and food festival that showcases the best of Sardinian and Italian produce. For those looking to experience the local music scene, the Costa Smeralda Classical Music Festival brings a host of brilliant artists to the Consorzio Costa Smeralda.
Of course, all good things must come to an end. Fortunately, once their time in Costa Smeralda is over, visitors can still enjoy the state-of-the-art Eccelsa terminal at the Olbia Costa Smeralda Airport one more time. While they enjoy the sights and shops, a team of high-calibre chefs from Eccelsa Aviation’s catering partner, Cortesa, will begin preparing the in-flight meal, with mouth-watering choices such as fresh lobster on the menu.
Even with all the wonders that Costa Smeralda has to offer, visitors still cite the top-quality service provided by Eccelsa Aviation as a reason to visit. As the flight takes off, carrying travellers away from the warm, azure waters of this Sardinian paradise, at least they’ll be departing in comfort and style.