UK / Europe

5-Star luxury in Corsica

Amy Hughes

Not just the rooms … every single spot at Hotel La Villa has been designed to offer views of the bay at Calvi, a lovely harbour city in the northwest of Corsica.  La Villa is a seductive retreat set in the hills just above Calvi which oozes subtle, relaxed elegance.  Everything is discreet, and there is no over-the-top opulence here.

Splashes of paint on canvas cover the lobby walls, where guests wait to be escorted to their oases. It’s just a 20 minute walk down the hill to Calvi, but you don’t have to leave your room to see the sights.  Stunning and tranquil views are everywhere in this hotel – the bathroom, the bedroom, the breakfast table, the pool, even the gym and pilates studio.    In fact, everything one needs in order to chill out is at La Villa.  There is simply no reason to leave.  But if you must, there’s a car service at the ready to deliver you into town, or the nearby private beach club.

Eight very discreet villas and apartments, as well as 39 rooms and suites, are all decorated in typically French, soothing, neutral tones.  Our suite instantly reminded us of the sea; its cool, sand-coloured tiles, and a soft, textured, gray rug the shape of stones formed a perfect foundation for a helipad sized bed, swaddled in an ocean of white linen. Oh, and they have a helipad too.

Turquoise, sienna, purples and greens paint the horizon, from the sea, to the rocks, to the flora.  Mountains go a purple haze at sunset creating a Monet-style painting across the horizon, awash with pastels.

Suites have wide, wood panelled decks which provide the ultimate panoramic view stretching from the citadel, to the sea, to the olive trees framing the mountainside with the harbour in between.  Chaise-longues and a table with chairs beg for sunsets spent grazing over an aperitif, with soft music from the Bose iPod docks.   Bathrooms are spacious with double sinks, a rainforest shower and bathtub, both built for two.

La Villa has plenty of gentle activities should you feel the need for a stretch after all the view-gazing.  There are four swimming pools, two of them so discreet we never saw them and another indoors.  The main one, at 25 metres, is perfect for lap swimming.   There’s a clay tennis court (also with a view), a ping-pong table and billiards.  Fitness classes are offered, as well as yoga and Pilates.  If you’re happy staying horizontal, the spa is well-equipped with a Turkish bath.

For the more adventurous, the concierge can organize yacht and boat hire, as well as trips to the nearby nature reserve.

There are two restaurants on site: a brasserie, and Chef Sebastien Sevillac’s Michelin starred, “La Table de Bastien” restaurant.    Both are out on a terrace with the twinkling lights of the boats in the harbour in the distance.

Breakfast is a feast, particularly if you’ve got a sweet tooth.   Every different kind of fresh and dried fruit imaginable is laid out, along with a table full of baked goods with items like pistachio loaf to tease your tastebuds.   A small, rectangular plexi-glass case has a little door which opens to unleash the intoxicating aroma of butter pouring out of the warm, freshly baked croissants.  I wasn’t going to taste them until my companion asked me to fetch one, and I was forced to open the door.  These ARE worth an extra hour in the gym, especially when there are floor to ceiling windows to while away the time and personal trainers if you’re lacking motivation.  But lacking motivation is sort of the point at La Villa.  The only hard decisions should be whether to linger on the private deck, pool-side, or by the sea. In fact, why decide…the breath-taking views are everywhere.

Hotel La Villa is a must for a long weekend to recharge, or a week for the truly burnt-out.  In fact, if you can afford it, stay as long as you possibly can.  This is heaven on earth.

Getting there:

Fly directly to Calvi from mainland France, or take a ferry from France or Italy.  Better yet, take a chopper, and use the hotel’s helipad.

Hotel La Villa
Chemin de Notre Dame de la Serra
Calvi, Corsica
Phone: +33.495 65 10 10

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