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FrontRunners: Costa Smeralda Villas

Since the Aga Khan founded the Costa Smeralda more than 50 years ago, the ritzy resort development has been the place to see and be seen on Sardinia. For visitors who want an occasional break from the scene, the Costa Smeralda Villas (www.costasmeraldavillas.com) offer the destination’s best option: secluded hideaways that still enjoy front-row views of the action.

Dotting the grounds of the Starwood Luxury Collection’s Hotel Pitrizza and Hotel Romazzino, the 20 new villas appear modeled after Sardinia’s traditional abodes, with rounded corners and stucco walls. At the Pitrizza, Villa Taphros features a grass-covered roof that blends seamlessly with the natural landscape. Completed in June, each one- to five-bedroom home comes with a private swimming pool, 24-hour butler service, and the right to use all—or, depending on one’s mood, none—of the hotels’ amenities.