FACE VALUE TRAVEL BLOG? My first press trip to Sardinia

Last month was a huge milestone for me – I went on my first ever international press trip. Aka giant free holiday after years of blogging and writing. I can tell you that the perks of Lifestyle blogging don’t come as often as beauty blogging but when they do, they are PERKY AF. Time to become a travel blogger? PIVOT.

How does a press trip really work you ask? Similar to blogging reviews, the deal is you get shown the sights and delights and then you create some content around it. My inner Instagram child was DELIGHTED to be given any excuse to take lots of pictures and have extensive use of the sunglasses emoji face. My whole profile was essentially “Insert not so subtle boast here 😎😎😎🌞” coupled with Insta Stories of me spilling cocktails on myself. Entertainment for all.

As a travel writer newbie, I was dubious at first. Would I end up in a Premier Inn in Blackpool? A deserted Air BnB in the sticks? Fortunately my first press trip couldn’t have been better – it was an adventure to the beautiful island of Sardinia, on behalf of Delphina hotels, a resort chain of luxury Sardinian spa hotels across the island. 

One week later, I ended up writing a piece on the rise of the spa-action trend – a feature which explores the somewhat forgotten relaxing element of a holiday. Take a look at the official goods here “Experiencing A Sardinian Spa-cation” on Yahoo Style

Educating the rest of the group on how to do a holiday boomerang…. Buon giorno from Sardinia, where I’m writing a piece for @yahoostyleuk at the beautiful @delphinahotels. 😍🥂 Wearing an amazing @asos tiered maxi dress bought in the bank holiday sale & @ukglamorous straw hat which I’m FINALLY getting to wear. HIYA 😘

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Anyway, official travel writing done – I’m now going to spill the beans from a personal perspective. I’m going to tell you about what was essentially a FAB holiday, what bits I think are worth doing, worth recommending etc – you know how this travel blogging thing works guys. Read on.

First up – where did I stay?

I was put up in the glorious grounds of the Valle D’Erica Resort, part of the Delphina group. Delphina Hotels are exclusive to Sardinia and, as such, they specialise in pretty much local Sardinian EVERYTHING – even the welcome gift was a cute drawer bag filled with fragrant Sardinian herbs.

Food & (lots of) Drink

Food and drink was very Mediterranean but not quite as pizza/pasta/prosecco  as you’d imagine an Italian island to be. Sardinian cuisine specialises in roast meats, mixed marinated vegetables and simple fish dishes reminiscent of a decent home cooked meal. Shout out to a fellow cuisine that appreciates the beauty of a whole roast pig! ✊

Plus there this Sardinian flatbread called pane carisau which I’m officially OBSESSED with. It’s that munchy, flat bread that looks like a giant crisp – it’s sometimes served with cheeseboards here in the UK. Either way I took 2 packs home with me and devoured it all within a fortnight. 

Let’s talk about the serious stuff, Sardinian wine is also great. I never normally associate red wine with hot weather but the local Cannonau grapes are bold and fruity, super drinkable – going down almost too easily if you know what I mean. 😉😉

What can you do in Sardinia?

Sardinia, for me, ticks many boxes on the “doing stuff” front. On one hand, yo’ve got the beautiful nature of the island and the tranquility of it all. I spent the long weekend stopping off at a few Delphina hotels to try their famous Sardinia spa facilities.

 All the Delphina Sardinian spas specialised in thalassotherapy – a type of hydro therapy that involves soaking in baths of different temperatures in order to boost your vascular health. Vascular gymnastics, I believe was the term used in the brochure. I came out of them feeling invigorated and refreshed – like a dehydrated plum that’s been dropped into a glass of alka-seltzer. Delightful.

And if you like the relaxing vibe, the Hotel Capo D’Orso is THE hotel for Instgrammable chillaxing, my favourite kind of relax. I didn’t stay there but I spent a day there and it had platforms moored out at sea, secluded hammocks, even a cute outdoor gym (if you’re into that sort of thing) – all tucked around the beautiful coastline.

If you’re looking for a truly relaxing holiday, my spa-cation tips are now live on @yahoostyleuk 👈🏻 Here’s me on my Sardinian retreat at @delphinahotels last month – #nofilterneeded 😻

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In the thalasso pool – can you tell I did a LOT of this pose on my Sardinian trip?

What about something a little bit more, err active?

Even a big sofa sloth like me can only tolerate so much lounging. We spent one day on a boat trip, jetting around around the numerous ports and seaside villages of Sardinia. Plenty of picture opportunities – JOY.

The waters around Sardinia are ridiculously blue – the kind of filter magic that you think is only possible on Insta, but has to be seen with your own eyes. 

I’d like to think that when i’m “older” (read: richer), I’d like to come back with a yacht and just enjoy the boat & beach lifestyle. I saw plenty of superyachts moored, a whole marina of #lifegoals in front of my eyes. 

Sardinia is the place where the celebs come for a bit of downtime- the Resort Valle D’Erica is literally just over the water from where Orlando Bloom had his famous paddleboard photo. Yes, THAT photo. I feel like I was basically there now.

SO many boat photo ops.

It’s not all sun & sea

History and culture fans, fear not. Sardinia is rich in culture, in fact the day we visited the historic town of Aggius, there was some sort of local heritage festival, where people dressed up in traditional sardinian clothes, sang traditional sardinia songs, weaved intricate rugs by hand, make shit out of cork trees – y’know cultural fare.

I jest – I’m actually making a video now of my Sardinian trip and the visit to Aggius was one of my favourite parts. We were treated to performances from what I can only describe as two rival Sardinian barbershop groups – but it was incredible. Top on my list of hobbies if I was an old Italian man, 100%.

Summary? Beautiful views, great food – a mix of things to do and of course… the Sardinian sunsets.

For an island that’s barely 2 hours flight away, I’d really recommend a trip.  Although it’s very kid friendly – I feel like it’d be best for a romantic foodie weekend.

Get on a boat, get some sunbathing time, try the local food & most definitely Instagram to your hearts content.

Thank you to Delphina Hotels, my fantastic Editor at Yahoo!Style and all the other REAL journalists who came on the trip with me. 💓

That’s all from my first press trip. I’ve got another one coming up in September. Could DEFINITELY get used to this.. Can you all just flock to my reviews in your thousands so I can try make a living off of it? Please?

What do YOU think of Sardinia then? Tweet me your thoughts @Zoe_Dubs or send me a comment on Facebook!

Zoe Bayliss Wong
Zoe Bayliss Wong

Zoe is a Forbes ’30 under 30′ finance pro, style writer, presenter and panellist, working for a fashion startup and trying to live that best life in the most IRL way possible.

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