It was a morning crossing on a warm August day that I first laid eyes on Corsica
coming from the northern shores of Sardinia. My baby blue Jeep was
still dusty from its previous renters, as I sped my way up the southern
interior from Bonifaccio and through the arid landscape of serenading
cicadas and ramshackle cafes advertising foie-gras and Tour-de-France
from a few weeks prior. The hillside Porto-Vecchio
comes into view as its gentile seashore is defined by mannered estates,
proletariat campgrounds and roadside grocers with more foie-gras. Even
Corsica's most famous hotel isn't one that's known by many, especially
English-speakers that avoid these very French-speaking parts in lieu of
anywhere else in August with a beach club and 5-star hotel... But that's
why we opt for Corsica.
As you wind your way into the evergreen roads around Porto-Vecchio, the sea seems to hug the pink-hued beaches as motorboats purr from one side of the bay to the other. Casa del Mar hugs the landscape in a hotel design by architect Jean-François Bodin and landscape by architect Jean Mus. Together. A wood-trimmed modernist compound is dotted in mature olive trees and opinionated cypresses that rise high above the property with its 2-star Michelin restaurant and lounge deck that's one of the prettiest you will ever see. On the other side of the bay, a more playful Benedettu peninsula is home to more laidback La Plage Casa del Mar where surfers congregate at local bars and campers mingle with couples paying $1500 per night for a room. And for a step further towards reclusion, Murtoli perfects the French farmhouse experience with delivery boxes of kitchen supplies from the on-site farmer and beach frequented by Carla Bruni - guitar and all.
Days boating, private houses and tight groups at the area's better hotels define a typical stay in Corisca. French is the chosen language and even though the locals speak English, oftentimes they won't. Trying your best will help in restaurants like Tamaricciu with its incredible pasta along Palombaggia Beach or Cabanon Bleu with its sexy Saint-Tropez style lunch scene along St. Cyprian. For sunset, Sea Lounge continues to lure the best DJs in France for epic day parties that last til sundown. By night, and we mean 10pm or later, we prefer a more formal dinner like at Grand Calla Rossa that may have lost its Michelin Star but still has some of the finest seafood anywhere with access to their midnight pier that one's of our favorite spots on the island. Afterward, shed the linen blazer and head to Via Notte that’s Corsica's top nighclub with August line-up that includes Martin Garrix, Bob Sinclair, Sam Feldt and Afrojack to rival even Saint-Tropez.