How did you get into the hospitality industry?
From an early age, Jean Pierre Pinelli has been a builder in his soul. He wanted to introduce in the Corsican market to a new category of customers: Luxury Hospitality. He designed La Villa in 1992, with the architect Stéphane Maresz and it became the first luxury hotel in Corsica.
What do you love most about being in this industry?
Hospitality is an industry in which we have the pleasure to meet a lot of people from different countries and backgrounds, helping us open our minds. Guest satisfaction is our daily aim and knowing that we are making them happy makes us feel so grateful.
What are some of the difficulties of being in the hospitality industry?
Excellence is our priority, within our guests’ services, employees and our infrastructure. We must always remember that point, in order to manage it the right way. As the industry is growing very quickly, we have to improve and adapt our property to be competitive and not stay on our laurels.
Tell us about La Villa’s history – when was it founded, how has it changed since opening, etc?
The site of the hotel was originally a monastery before it reverted to nature. As said earlier, Jean-Pierre Pinelli designed La Villa in 1992, with the architect Stéphane Maresz. In 1995, the hotel became Relais & Chateaux. Step by step, we increased the accommodation capacity with new buildings and we also improved the facilities of the hotel. Over the last 4 years, we have totally renovated the hotel in order to remain on the cutting edge of design and innovation.
Tell us a bit about the design and concept of La Villa?
The outside appearance is Mediterranean architecture inspired by buildings of the nearby villages, without excessive embellishment. Set in a 3-hectare field, where nature is made beautiful by the skill of the guardians, you can enjoy rows of Cypress, copses of myrtle, bushes and shrubs with the aroma of the maquis – each walk is a discovery.
Once inside, the Mediterranean style gives way to a contemporary and timeless design. Marion, Jean Pierre’s wife, manages the decoration with care, down to the smallest detail. La Villa opens its doors to artists for exhibitions of sculptures, paintings, photos… this contributes to the artistic atmosphere of the area.
What makes the hotel so special in your opinion?
The location of the hotel, overlooking the bay of Calvi offers an amazing landscape. But the location isn’t the only attraction of the Hotel. There are elements we cannot see that can make a stay unforgettable: the welcome and the friendship of the owners Marion, Jean Pierre and their children Marie & Antoine, and their team towards their guests. As we are part of Relais & Chateaux association, coming to La villa is not only about sleeping in a room, it is so much more. We want our guests to feel like they are being treated as a friend at home.
Tell us more about Calvi and The Balagne, what makes this destination so unique?
The Balagne is an extraordinary location due to the variety of the activities it offers and the beauty of the landscape. It ensures the satisfaction of the sea lovers with a lot of different sandy beaches and boat excursions, as well as appeals to nature and hiking lovers with the Bonifato forest and other nice trails in the area.
Balagne consists of a coastal region, located between Calvi and Ile Rousse, and a hinterland of hills overlooking the sea. Nicknamed “The Garden of Corsica”, Balagne is full of olive groves, fig trees, orchards and palm trees. It is dotted with beautiful hilltop villages with narrow streets and typical houses as Sant’Antonino, Pigna, Speloncato, Lumio, Belgodère … and stunning baroque churches like Corbara or Romanesque like Aregno. You can also take the road of Balagne artisans which is an invitation to discover the local traditions and know-how. Do not miss tasting our wine, charcuterie, cheese and Olive oil.
Calvi and its Harbor, with lots of cafes and restaurants, mingling boaters and local fishermen, is an amazing site.
An unmissable place to visit in the Balagne area is the 12th Century Genoese citadel that stands proudly on its promontory. Majestic and menacing, Calvi seems invulnerable to time passing. It embraces landmark, symbol and history at the same time. The walls of the citadel which have been modified through time with additional fights are following the uneven relief of the rocks. Within its fortifications, houses squeezed together shape small, narrow and steep streets, in sometimes complicated paths, leading to the Palace of the Governors Genoese or to Saint Jean-Baptiste Cathedral. In the olden days, the only entrance to the city was guarded by a drawbridge.
What do you think is the most important to guests when they book accommodation and how do you factor this into the La Villa experience?
One of the most important things regarding our guest’s impression is that they have to feel like they are in their second home in our hotel. Cleanliness and guests’ services take part in the main point of course, but they want to have a sincere and kind exchange with the team of the hotel. That is what happens at La Villa and explains how we welcome regular guests.
Where does the inspiration come from for the hotel decor?
Marion manages the whole interior decoration, down to the smallest details. She surrounds herself with designers she is taken with, to give a very special atmosphere to the place. Philippe Hurel for the furniture, Julie Priscat for the lights, Hartley’s house for the carpets, Pierre Frey for the fabrics, without forgetting the Italian designers Porro and Moroso for the Contemporary Suites.
With the renovation of the hotel, she wanted to offer a summery atmosphere with lighted and modern rooms. Each of them has his own identity.
Can you tell us any of your favorite highlights (services, facilities, special suites/rooms) from in and around the hotel?
Enjoy free access to our indoor pool heated to 28°C, our fitness center and our 2 hammams. Additionally, our hotel is composed of four outside swimming pools, including an elegant 25-meter swimming pool. The black stone adds a unique touch to the pool area. A swimming pool for children is also on site.
Other activities are at our client’s disposal such as our clay tennis court, our game room or the petanque field.
Can you tell us about the culinary offerings at the hotel?
The chef will make you live taste experiences, where simplicity and sincerity are in the spotlight, with Mediterranean flavors. The cuisine is in harmony with the place, and reveals the richness of Southern gastronomy.
The main swimming pool of the hotel has its lounge, a friendly musical place, open from the 15th of June to 15th of September. Our Pool Bar Team offers you a fresh menu. It is an invitation to relax at the pool or to enjoy a cocktail under the shade of pine trees.
What do you hope guests will expect when they walk into the hotel?
A familiar and relaxing atmosphere at the hand of all our team members.
First of all, our guests will meet our front office team managed by Alain, our assistant director. A tour of the hotel will be offered before the presentation of their room. They will feel instantly supported and helped with any questions or suggestions they may have.
Throughout their day, they will also meet the happy mood of Dume, our restaurant director, Christelle our pretty spa manager and Frederique, our famous valet.
What do you think will leave the biggest impression on guests who visit La Villa?
The close relationship between the executive members, the team members and our guests which makes the atmosphere of the place heartwarming and comfortable.
What is on the hotel’s agenda next? Any special events, offers or plans for the future?
The summer city of Calvi has some nice events such as :
- The music festival on June 21st
- Calvi on the Rocks: Prestigious festival which welcomes a large number of famous artists from July 5th to July 10th
- The famous “Sainte Marie” (the Assumption) which is the main celebration of our summer and where our clients can enjoy their dinner with wonderful views of Calvi’s bay light up by fireworks .
To find out more about La Villa Calvi, visit their website.