An Island Getaway
We take you to Corsica where turquoise blue waters and white sand await
Corsica is France’s darling island, where turquoise blue waters and white sand await every summer with open arms to many wealthy French residents from the mainland who have their holiday homes in the island’s popular cities, Porto-Vecchio and Bonifacio. Located in the Mediterranean Sea, the island boasts incredible beaches and marvellous mountains, offsetting the turquoise blue of the sea with the emerald green of the dense forests. While technically Corsica is part of France, it has a very different vibe, that of course of being an island, with quaint villages that feel like walking through a postcard. France’s best kept secret is now out and it turns out you don’t need to head to the Caribbean for island vibes and crystal-clear water. So what should you do while on your island getaway? Discover the beaches. The most beautiful beaches on the island are without a doubt Palombaggia and Santa Giulia, which are located in Porto-Vecchio and are arguably some of the most beautiful in Europe, with both boasting incredibly blue waters that invite you to dive into. You can get to the beaches either by car or by boat with Azur Privilège, which operates from the Casadelmar Hotel. Picking you up from the hotel, you will be spoiled by the beautiful views as you feel the wind in your hair as the water gently splashes on your face and the water gradually turns from a dark, midnight blue to turquoise. Both beaches have a restaurant from where you can reserve a chaise longue for the day and towels, and which of course serve great food. And service doesn’t get better than at Les Trois 2 at Santa Giulia beach with magazines and sunscreen available for your reading pleasure and to make sure you keep your skin protected, and families will find toys, buckets and spades available to them to build sandcastles with their children. Besides tanning and swimming, being on a summer holiday also means enjoying great food, and Corsica offers some of the best Mediterranean cuisine in the region. Two stars define Casadelmar Hotel’s fine dining establishment and Italian chef Fabio Bragagnolo brings his awarded talent from his amuse-bouche to his flavoursome main dishes with his signature dishes, including the cannelloni of sea bass, spider crab and caviar, welcoming your taste buds to the island before pastry chef Claudio Pezzetti sweetens the end of the meal with his creative desserts, including his Granny Smith apple sphere. For an authentic Corsican meal you must reserve a table at Stella d’Oro, a family-run restaurant and is what Corsican cuisine dreams are made of. The signature dish here is the Aubergines à la Bonifaciennes, serving you a seemingly simple dish that once you bite into bursts in your mouth, treating you to the Corsican-style eggplant parmigiana using three different cheeses and a pinch of sugar in the homemade tomato sauce that sweetens the acidity of the tomato. Of course the exact recipe is secret but the worst kept secret is that this dish is the best eggplant dish on the island, if not the world. For visitors who enjoy a few late nights, make sure you stop at B’52, with crowds spilling onto the footpath facing the marina, you will love the view, music and drinks. If you want a few cocktails but with a little bit less of a crowd stop in next door at La Caravelle Hotel and Restaurant that boasts a former chapel that is now the hotel’s opulent bar, a rather unexpected nook with bare stonewalls, keeping patrons cool even when it is sizzling hot outside, and a baroque décor with a dazzling chandelier. While a trip to Corsica is pretty much one long R&R holiday, take it one step further and book yourself in for a spa treatment at the Spa Espa, where its signature massage is signature to you with the treatment tailored to every guest, creating a bespoke massage every time. The signature treatment, Massage Casadelmar, uses a blend of aromatic essential oils, which come from Corsica’s wild Maquis shrubs, with some grown in the hotel’s very own herb garden, making the treatment even more of a unique experience. Before you leave the island try to find the time to make your way from Porto-Vecchio to Bonifacio. Driving along the windy roads between the two cities will have you take in the sea from high above as you slowly make your way up the Bonifacio cliffs. Once you’re at the top, get out of your car and feel the sea breeze as you are served a spectacular panoramic view of the water down below, a magnificent palette of emerald green and turquoise blue, and on clear days you can see Sardinia across the Mediterranean.
Relax and unwind at the Casadelmar Hotel (above) and take in the view from the Bonifacio cliffs (opposite page)