Delicious fish dishes, local crafts and postcard-perfect streets make Bonifacio a must-visit. Complete the picture with a stay at one of these hotels.
Tucked away on Corsica’s southern tip, the medieval fortress town of Bonifacio is a photogenic vision of winding cobbled streets lined with chic seafood restaurants, boutique craft shops selling locally grown cork products and no-frills bars where locals gather to clink ice cold glasses of rosé. Fancy being part of this lovely southern scene? Choose one of the area’s best hotels, and you’re almost there.
Hôtel Version Maquis Santa Manza
Boutique Hotel, Hotel
4.6/5 (29 Reviews)
Courtesy of Hôtel Version Maquis Santa Manza / Expedia
For those who’ve never experienced the Corsican maquis, it’s an unmistakably evocative scent. Warmed by the Mediterranean sun, a unique blend of wild-growing herbs and fragrant shrubs release a deliciously pungent, musky aroma that spikes the summer air. And if it’s a scent that’s up your street, you’ll love staying here – nestled among miles of wild maquis shrub just 10 minutes outside Bonifacio. The pick of the three accommodation options here is the Shepherd House, a standalone stone hut that, while rustic-looking from the outside, is a cocoon of luxury inside.
Up on the clifftop across the water from Bonifacio, this hotel’s expansive heated infinity pool provides the best view of the teetering medieval town you’ll find. Nor will you encounter a better fusion of Corsica’s signature rustic charm – think exposed reclaimed bricks, whitewashed walls and furniture hand-made from sun-bleached wood – with contemporary luxuries. The swimming pools alone are so relaxing, surrounded by dry-stone walls and gnarled olive trees, you won’t want to go anywhere else. This retreat is ideal for a longer stay with occasional day trips out.
If Robinson Crusoe had washed up on a Mediterranean island, with more time and raw materials at his disposal, he might have created something that looked like U Capu Biancu. Between the custom-made bed headboards, furniture and internal staircases, there’s more driftwood here than you can shake a stick at. That’s a compliment – it brings a sensuous, calming warmth to the interior spaces, and as a result this hotel – tucked into the cliffside, 20 minutes’ drive north along the coast from Bonifacio – is, quite literally, part of the scenery.
With its terracotta-tiled roof and crumbling stone walls draped in electric green vines, this boutique hotel is a full-on fairytale Corsican farmhouse. Lurking among tufts of cork oaks and olive trees, just off the main road into Bonifacio, it feels like an honest-to-goodness secret gem. There are only six rooms and suites to choose from, but each one is uniquely and exquisitely decorated, blending rural French rusticity with cool, contemporary touches such as stylish coffee tables and tripod floor lamps. The restaurant is the star of the show here, so much so that chef Lionel Lebrun offers classes for cookery-keen guests.
There are two buildings to choose from when picking a room in this Bonifacio hotel. Without hesitation, choose the Citadel side. High up on the rocky escarpment overhanging the blue waters of the marina, it has an unbeatable location, steps from the higgledy-piggledy streets of Bonifacio’s old town. Quite apart from the views and car-free convenience, the rooms here are swooningly chic, with white floors, walls and rafters above set off by pops of mustard, brass and navy blue in the lights and soft furnishings. It’s a masterpiece of less-is-more.
Poured-concrete coffee tables, industrial-chic bedside lamps, and a Nordic colour palette of moss green, charcoal grey and blonde wood – the rooms of this rural check-in, minutes from Bonifacio, wouldn’t look out of place in a Stockholm boutique hotel. If it weren’t for the warm sea breeze, sculptural umbrella pines and sliver of luminous blue water visible from your balcony, you might even think you weren’t on one of the Med’s most magical little islands. Rest assured, you are.
Like a Frank Lloyd Wright villa transposed from the Hollywood Hills, this hotel has the sort of sleek, low-slung profile that budding architects dream of creating. Rooms overlook either a dense green carpet of maquis and tree canopies or Bonifacio’s teetering cliff-top citadel, and all are all effortlessly cool, with clean, minimal lines, organic tones and textures and see-through-partitioned bathrooms that make the most of the views. You can brush your teeth against the twinkling backdrop of Bonifacio by night.
It’s listed as a villa, but you don’t have to book the whole property in order to stay here. Simply pick one of the nine rooms, each uniquely decorated (the zebra print-themed room was a bit outré for us, but there are calmer options). Now settle in and spend the holiday soaking up the Corsican sun beside (and in) the cute communal pool. In truth, at full occupancy, the communal areas may strike you as a bit over-subscribed (there’s only one table-football table and three bar stools), but it’s a good option to meet fellow travellers. You’re only a six-minute drive from the shops and bars of Bonifacio.