The Manor

Calvi, Corsica, France Book from Eur110

Reviewed by Tom Bell
Smart B&B with sparkling pool in colourful grounds, on the edge of gorgeous Calvi
Shipwrecked sailors washed ashore on Calvi’s sandy beach would pray to God no-one came to rescue them. This is one of those gorgeous Mediterranean towns with an ancient citadel teetering above the water, a buzzing harbour full of fancy boats, and a wild headland filled with interesting diversions. It is the St Tropez of Corsica, though if offered the choice of a week in either, you’d probably plump for Calvi: smaller, prettier, much less crowded and a far lovelier beach.

As for The Manor, this smart B&B stands on the edge of town with orange and lemon trees scattered through its 5 acres of manicured gardens. It tends to attract an older crowd, and chief among its virtues is the swimming pool terrace, where breakfast is served in summer. You can top up your tan on sun loungers, hide in the shade of a palm tree, or jump into the hot tub and bubble away; there’s an honesty bar, too, and lunch and dinner can be arranged if you want. Four bedrooms come in simple, traditional style: happy colours, tiled floors, the odd antique. None are huge, but all open onto an interior balcony, where walls of glass slide back and bring the outside in. Each room has its own space here with sofas or armchairs, then screens to offer a little privacy. Finally, fabulous views of sea and sky that follow you around, and Calvi’s delicious restaurants, which wait to impress.

Highs

  • Calvi is the star of the show, a gorgeous old town surrounded by the sea
  • The peaceful heated pool, its covered bar and the manicured gardens - perfect for lazy days
  • The majestic stone house, with its huge upper terrace and long views over pine trees to the citadel and sea
  • Delicious dinners on request; perhaps langoustine soufflé, lamb tagine, then a chocolate fondant

Lows

  • Prices soar in summer, but the same can be said of most hotels on the island
  • The 2 smallest rooms are really quite small and have private rather than ensuite bathrooms, one step across the corridor; go for the bigger rooms, which are much lovelier
  • You’re on the outskirts of town; it's 1.5km into the centre of Calvi or to the beach, so quite a stroll
  • The wind can blow and when it does, it usually lasts all day
  • Lunch is only served in mid, high and peak season, and by prior arrangement only

Best time to go

The B&B is open all year round, and although much of Calvi closes from November to April, a number of good restaurants stay open. May is a great month to visit as prices tend to shoot up on the island from June through August. It’s the start of the season, staff aren’t exhausted, and you’ll avoid the high-season crowds.

Our top tips

If you are flying into Ajaccio on your way north to Calvi, there are 2 alternatives to driving: a boat which chugs up every day and a small train that comes over the mountains rather splendidly. You can then hire cars at Calvi airport if you need them, from all the usual providers.

Great for...

Beach
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique B&B
  • 4
  • Breakfast (+ other meals on request)
  • Over 12s only, except by arrangement
  • Open all year
  • Heated Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Boat trips
Room:

Rooms

All 4 rooms run along the front of the house. The Prestige and Deluxe (at the end) are bigger and have ensuite bathrooms with tubs and showers; Charme and Standard (in the middle) are small and have private shower rooms across the corridor (bathrobes help you get there). The Deluxe and Standard rooms can interconnect to make a Suite - good for families.

You’ll find comfy beds dressed in crisp linen and woollen blankets, the odd antique, gilt-framed mirrors, a sofabed in a couple. The bigger rooms are fancier and come in warm yellows. All have spotless bathrooms. You’ll also find pretty art and flat-screen TVs.

All rooms open onto an interior patio, where you find sitting areas with screens separating each bay. You get sofas or armchairs and huge sliding windows that give views across pine trees to the water and citadel.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Cd player
  • Communal honesty bar
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Patio
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet

Eating

Breakfast is served in different places depending on the time of year: on the swimming pool terrace in July and August; in the sitting room hall in winter; on the upper terrace with watery views for the rest of the year. There’s freshly squeezed orange juice, croissants and pains au chocolat, local jams and honey, even bacon and eggs if you want it (extra charge). Bowls of fruit and baskets of baguettes polish things off nicely.

A limited lunch menu is available down at the pool in mid, high and peak season, where tables and chairs are scattered about in the shaded bar. You can try tomato and cheese tarts, plates of Corsican charcuterie, delicious salads and local pâtés. In the evening the menu offers more elaborate fare, perhaps langoustine soufflé, lamb tagine, then an apple tart or a chocolate fondant. Let them know in advance if you want to dine in.

If you eat in town, you’ll be spoilt for choice. The harbour is a popular spot for evening drinks with a string of bars to quench your thirst, but there’s good food down here, too - excellent pizzas at Cappuccinos or a Michelin star at Emile’s. Le Jardin de Magnolia is hugely popular for its pretty courtyard as well as its food - fresh lobster, tasty mussels, succulent lamb, perhaps even goat. We ate at A Piazzetta on Place Marchal and loved it. The restaurant takes up a quarter of the square. Delicious Corsican food is very well priced; there’s a good set menu.

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

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Lunch by arrangement
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • The addictive qualities of the pool and terrace are hard to resist, so drop down with a good book for a peaceful day in the sun. There’s a hot tub and a bar, too

  • Calvi’s lovely beach curls around the bay for a couple of kilometres. There are smaller beaches on the west coast of the headland at Roncu, Alga and Acilluccia

  • Explore the 15th-century citadel. It has served Calvi well over the years. The Franco-Turks suffered defeat here, as did the British in 1794, when a young Horatio Nelson lost his right eye in battle. There are some lovely bars on shaded terraces with fine views over the town and bay

  • Water, water everywhere. You can learn to dive, sail a boat, snorkel, water ski, paddle about in a sea kayak

  • Take a boat trip on the hotel's 8-m rigid hull boat: excursions include visits to the Unesco Scandola Reserve and fishing outings (gear and bait supplied). If you have a good day fishing the hotel chef can use it to cook your dinner

  • Spend the day on a catamaran - reception can book for you

  • Spend an afternoon down at Parc de Salaccia, a rather attractive Mediterranean garden that drops down to the water. There’s a small restaurant for lunch and snacks

  • Get lost in the mountains for a day and discover the island’s stunning interiors; either drive, saddle up on horseback, or jump onto a quad bike. There’s guided walking, too; just ask at reception

  • Jump on board the small train that hugs the coast all the way round to L’lle Rousse, another very pretty seaside town that’s well worth a visit

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse-riding
  • Kayaking
  • Nightlife
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Private guided tours
  • Quad biking
  • Sailing
  • Scuba diving
  • Scuba diving courses
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming
  • Waterskiing

Kids

Children over 12 are welcome, and younger children are sometimes permitted if the house isn’t too busy. Two rooms interconnect, and 2 rooms have a sofabed. There are no baby cots.

Family friendly accommodation:

The Standard and Deluxe rooms can interconnect and be closed off with an outer door to make a private Suite. The Deluxe and Charme rooms each have a single sofabed, but the Deluxe has an ensuite bathroom with a tub, whilst Charme has a private shower bathroom across the hall, so we'd recommend the former.

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

9/
Rooms
8/
Food
9/
Service
9/
Value
9/
Overall

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