La Dimora

Oletta, Corsica, France Book from

Reviewed by Tom Bell
Dazzling small hotel with pretty rooms and sparkling pool, set in lush gardens between the hills and coast of northern Corsica
This gorgeous 18th-century summer house offers what so many of us want: a cool little base with a glistening pool where we can spend our days doing nothing at all. Owners Carole and Antoine rescued the house from neglect, pouring in love and money, and now it shines. It’s the sort of place you see on the pages of a glossy magazine. You’ll find golden stone buildings, beautiful bedrooms, hammocks hanging from palm trees, sun loungers circling an aqua blue pool. You’re in one of the loveliest parts of the island with some interesting local diversions to keep you amused, and some delicious restaurants waiting up in the hills or down by the water. In short, all the necessary ingredients are here to cook up a wonderfully lazy holiday.

Potter about at the hotel and find serenely manicured gardens with beds of fragrant lavender, a shaded breakfast terrace, an ancient olive tree, even a boules pitch. You’ll probably spurn them all for the swimming pool terrace, where you can top up your tan, then retreat to sofas in the pool house for light meals. Bedrooms - there are 17, about half with terraces - are equally lovely: warm colours, beautiful bathrooms, crisply dressed beds and the odd antique. The coast is 7km north at St Florent, where boats whisk you off to sandy beaches. There’s a treatment room, too, and a hot tub by the pool. Fabulous.


  • Seriously attractive house with gorgeous pool and terrace set in peaceful gardens
  • Lovely, romantic bedrooms that pamper you rotten
  • St Florent, a pretty seaside town that comes alive in summer
  • The Cap de Corse, the beautiful northern peninsula studded with beaches and summer restaurants
  • The nearby village of Oletta, up in the hills with its magical views of mountain and sea


  • You’ll need a car, even though you probably won’t use it that much
  • We've heard reports of average service, but didn’t experience this ourselves
  • Breakfast is good, but expensive. Also, no restaurant, so you’ll have to go out at night, and you'll need to drive
  • Some rooms have baths only, so if you want a shower, ask for one; ditto, request a terrace if you'd prefer that to first-floor views

Best time to go

The hotel is open from early April to late October. Like all hotels on Corsica prices soar in July and August, but the north tends to be less expensive than the south. The south is a little more popular, but for what it’s worth, we preferred the north. April and May are good times to come in terms of price, but there is more going on in the area from June to September.

Our top tips

There are 3 roads west out of Bastia to Oletta and St Florent. Take the most southerly, the D82 via Ortale - it is much, much quicker than the others. If you are driving over from the airport, it’s the first of the 3 you come to. And if you are crossing from west to east in order to visit Bastia or to go up the east side of the Cap de Corse, it’s still faster coming south first, then going north. This might sound mad, but the other roads are extremely slow.

Also, if you head off to the beaches at Lotu and Saleccia, make sure you take suncream and hats. There are no sunbeds to rent on either beach, so if you need shade, buy a parasol in town to take with you.

Great for...

  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 17
  • Breakfast (+ light meals on request; restaurants nearby)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Heated Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Private and secure parking
Room: Charming


All rooms have a similar style with beautiful beds, pretty fabrics and lovely bathrooms. As they get more expensive, they become more refined and some open onto small semi-private terraces. All rooms have flat-screen TVs and WiFi; all bathrooms have robes and fancy oils. There are 5 categories:

Charme: the least expensive, but the one we saw was rather beautiful, so don't feel you need something pricier. It was large, with an enormous walk-in shower, rustic wood, a gorgeous bed and pretty armchairs. But it was on the ground floor, so a little dark, and it overlooked the path, so you might hear guests pottering by.

Privilege: we stayed in one of these and thought it utterly lovely - clipped and elegant, with an English country-house feel courtesy of beautiful upholstery and mahogany furniture. It was up on the first floor with double-aspect windows that gave views over the pool. All Privileges have big showers in lovely bathrooms. A couple on the ground floor have small terraces.

Prestige: noticeably bigger. We saw one on the first floor, so it had no terrace (others on the ground floor do). Expect stone walls, vast beds, leather armchairs and voile curtains. Of 6 Prestige Rooms, only one has a shower.

Luxe: an enormous room in a barn conversion close to the pool. Think golden stone walls and space for a sofa and armchairs. Doors open onto a terrace, shielded by plants; it has parasols and chairs, too. There's a separate bath with balneotherapy and a shower.

Suites: at the back of the main house, so private and quiet, with sofas and loungers on big terraces. Inside, you get sitting rooms with a DVD player and HiFi. Bedrooms are big and airy with double-aspect windows and pretty views. Bathrooms have baths with balneotherapy and separate showers. Good for honeymooners.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Internet access
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet


Breakfast is an extensive help-yourself buffet. You can eat on a sail-shaded terrace in good weather or in an attractive vaulted dining room, where a fire burns if it gets cold. You’ll find delicious hams and cheeses, plates of seaonal fruit salad and yoghurts, baskets of patisserie, then extremely tasty local breads. There’s strong coffee and freshly squeezed juices, too, and various hot dishes can be ordered (the scrambled eggs with panzetta are recommended).

Light meals are available at the pool house from 11.00am-9.30pm. It’s a fabulous spot with sofas leaning against mellow stone walls and tables and chairs scattered about. You can order an ice-cold beer or a bottle of rosé, then dig into tasty simple dishes: salads, club sandwiches, plates of cheese and charcuterie. This menu can also be ordered as room service.

There are lots of good restaurants a short drive away. One of the best is a stone’s throw from the hotel: Auberge A Magina, up the hill in Oletta, a pretty village with big views down to the coast. Don’t be put off by its slightly uninspiring exterior.

If you head up to St Florent, you’ll find loads of eateries to choose from. For good meat try 137, a popular brasserie on the harbour; for the freshest fish, head to L’Auberge du Pecheur.

Some of the best restaurants are up in the hills. The most popular is La Ferme de Campo di Monte in Murato (a 15-minute drive); the food is exceptional. If you want good Italian food, try Il Pulcinella - the restaurant where the locals eat. You’ll get pizzas, excellent meat and lots of pasta.

For other restaurant recommendations in Corsica, see our Destination Guide.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Light meals
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Room service


  • Hanging out at the hotel is a great way to spend your day, and as well as the pool and the terrace, you’ll find a hot tub, a treatment room and a hamam. You can book whatever you require at reception
  • The best beaches - Plage du Lotu and Plage de Saleccia - are both beyond the reach of cars. Instead, boats whisk you over from St Florent, then return to pick you up. White sands and clear waters wait; there’s a beach restaurant and a bar in summer. You can transfer between the beaches by calèche, a horse-drawn wagon
  • The Cap du Corse, the island’s northern peninsula, is a great day out. Take the east coast up and the west coast down - that way you keep the sun with you all day. There are some lovely little villages to explore, beaches to swim from, and excellent restaurants to ensure a good lunch
  • All sorts of watersports can be arranged, from boat trips along the coast to diving and kayaking, sailing and jet skiing. Reception will advise. They can also point you towards a bicycle hire shop
  • Head into the mountains - they’re wild and wonderful and well worth a day of your holiday. There’s great walking, magnificent views, and horses to ride through spectacular landscape. You’ll be equally happy driving through it all
  • Some great music festivals run over the summer. They take place all over the island, mostly from July to September; some are free. Highlights in the northeast are the July guitar festival in Patrimono and the Latin music festival in St Florent in August

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Cycling
  • Festivals
  • Hiking
  • Horse-riding
  • Jet skiing
  • Kayaking
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Sailing
  • Scuba diving
  • Scuba diving courses
  • Shopping / markets
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming
  • Well being


Children of all ages are welcome. There are cots for babies and extra beds for older kids (extra cost). However, on the whole this hotel is popular with couples and there is little for kids to do, so it might not suit families.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

The best options are either the Luxe room and the Suites, both of which have a double sofabed and space for a baby cot. The slightly smaller Prestige and Privilege rooms can fit either an extra bed or baby cot.

Kid Friendly:

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