We stayed at Casadelmar for a week in August and had a thoroughly pleasant time. It is true that the hotel is expensive (both in terms of room charge and food/beverages), but we found that, all considered, you get your money's worth. Below is a summary of the main aspects of our experience.
Not something one would generally mention, but, in this case, it is worth noting that, at least during peak season, it is the hotel's policy to charge 20% of the room rate for the entire stay at the time of booking and the remainder approximately a month before arrival. In my experience, this falls very much at the harsher end of the cancellation policy spectrum, particularly the immediate 20% charge. Having said that, it wasn't an issue in our case, though, of course, it is something one should bear in mind prior to booking.
Without doubt, a strong point for the hotel, if not the strongest. Everything in the communal areas is immaculate (with the very minor exception of certain cushions, see below). The terraces with the formal restaurant/bar and the Grill are beautiful with stunning views of the gulf. The beaches (two very small ones), though perhaps not the most naturally remarkable, are tastefully and very comfortably equipped. The same goes for the swimming pool. Remarkably, despite it being high season and the hotel at full capacity (I would imagine), the communal areas never felt busy (probably because many guests chose to go to some of the prettier, though busier, beaches in the vicinity during day time). The result is that, during the day, there was a constant air of peace and tranquillity about the place which, in my view, is invaluable. In the evening, the hotel had a pleasant buzz due to the popularity of the gastronomic restaurant and terrace bar. Speaking of which, I can think of few things more enjoyable than sipping an (albeit expensive) aperitif on that terrace whilst staring at the sunset.
We had two rooms – one Superior and one Deluxe (worth paying a bit more for the Deluxe). They were both well appointed, if a bit plain (though that is arguably a matter of taste). Also, perhaps, the technological equipment could be improved/updated. Not a major concern in a beach resort, but, in my view, this would be a relatively inexpensive addition that would make a guest's stay that extra bit more comfortable. The terraces in each room are spectacular (large sliding doors, all teak - like pretty much the rest of the outside spaces in the hotel - and with breathtaking views). It wouldn't necessarily be an exaggeration to say that at least half the price of the room would be justified by the terrace alone.
During our stay, we ate at the Grill everyday for lunch and, for dinner, twice at the Grill and twice at the gastronomic restaurant, which currently holds two Michelin stars and has limited choice with only four tasting menus. With regards to the latter, our experience was somewhat inconsistent: the first time, we opted for the cheaper (and what we thought simpler) menu, which turned out to be an odd mix-match of flavours and textures, which, in my opinion, didn't quite work and didn't justify the €125 it cost per person. The second time, we opted for the most expensive (and what we thought extravagant) menu, which turned out to be more traditional in style and a dazzling culinary tour de force, worth every cent of the €195 per person it cost. The wine list, though good and not dauntingly large, is very heavily marked-up, but, alas, this comes with the territory. With respect to the Grill, it was very good for both lunch and dinner, with much simpler dishes, well executed. The produce used is also excellent. It is not cheap by any stretch of the imagination, with €30-40 starters and €40-50 mains, though this is not inconsistent with the prices charged at similar resorts elsewhere and, in our experience, the quality was generally better. Similarly, drinks are as expensive as those in similar high-end hotels elsewhere (e.g. €20 cocktails, €8 for beer, coffees, soft drinks, teas, etc.).
I should mention that we dined out three times during our stay and the bills for these outings didn't turn out to be much cheaper, if not more expensive, than a meal at the Grill, although I can recommend all three external restaurants we dined at: the restaurants at the hotels Belvedere and Cala Rossa (both very good, particularly the latter, with a Michelin star each and cheaper than Casadelmar's formal restaurant), and the beach-side Tamaricciu (remarkably expensive for a beach-side restaurant, though the catch of the day was absolutely delicious; the other stuff decidedly less so). All in all, considering the quality of the food, the prices at similar resorts, the generally high prices of the area, and, in particular, the wonderful ambience, we felt that the prices at Casadelmar, though high, were not unreasonable.
Excellent throughout. Pretty much all staff we came across were extremely polite, without being unnecessarily deferential, and helpful, in an intuitive sort of way, e.g. remembering our orders at restaurants, etc. Those few that didn't meet this very high standard were nonetheless professional and polite.
Overall, an excellent hotel. Indeed, probably the one that has ticked the most boxes for us in a while. Expensive, yes, but worth it. Certainly the best hotel in the vicinity of Porto Vecchio (the Hotel Cala Rossa and Belvedere, though different in style and perfectly pleasant, did not seem to be in the same league as Casadelmar, by a long stretch, but, then again, the latter is significantly more expensive).
A couple of minor suggestions for improvements. I emphasise that these issues did not detract in any meaningful way from the enjoyment of our stay and are not therefore reflected in the overall score.
Booking policy: as mentioned above, the cancellation policy could be more customer friendly. Perhaps, no pre-payment at time of booking, 50% a month before and 50% one week before?
Rooms: technology update (i.e. newer, larger TV and mp3 player).
Gastronomic restaurant: more consistency in the style of cooking across the different tasting menus, or, at least more clarity on the menus (though this may very well be a one-off issue and/or a matter of subjective preference). Also, it may be worth considering introducing an a la carte option.
Cushions on terraces: there are black cushions scattered on the couches on the terraces. These seem to be made of synthetic material, though I don't rule out that they could be made of some bizarre leather and that they may be very expensive. Either way, I found them to be a bit ugly and slightly irritating to the skin. They should probably be replaced with something softer to the touch. Ludicrously minor point, but there you go.
All in all, thoroughly recommended for those seeking peace and tranquillity. Will most certainly be back.
- Also Known As:
- Casadelmar Hotel Porto Vecchio
- Casadelmar Porto Vecchio
- Hotel Casadelmar Corsica/Porto-Vecchio
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