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“Unique and Exceptional Experience”
Review of Domaine de Murtoli

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Domaine de Murtoli
Ranked #1 of 7 Hotels in Sartene
Certificate of Excellence
New York
Level 3 Contributor
18 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Unique and Exceptional Experience”
Reviewed 13 October 2013

This is an exceptional place and hard for me to compare with other vacations. After staying here for a week during our honeymoon, I would simply say put your trust in the many exceptional 5-star reviews described here, and the other professional reviews found online which describe the thoughtfulness, care and style which went into creating this place. The site itself has many wonderful pictures, but none really full capture the beauty and at times sheer genius of this place, which for me combined the beauty of a National Park and tranquility of a very tasteful and private beach resort and a sense of creativity that I don't think I have seen at any resort. Amongst the many attributes are the ability to have absolute privacy in very tucked away and remote dwellings, which come with convenient and tasteful furnishings and amenities. For example, amongst the pleasant surprises was the full washer/dryer which we had not expected. We were often torn between staying at our sheepfold to cook great meals ourselves and visiting the beach and Grotto restaurant which were both amazing, every meal was exceptional. The surroundings were quintessential Corsica, we had views of gorgeous mountains to the north; impressive hills, valley and sea to the south and a sunset which became a daily ritual from our private pool. This is a rugged place: unfinished roads, challenging terrain, and there are creatures you probably don't see on your commute, so potentially it's not for all. But the staff is truly available for anything around the clock, all your needs seem to have been anticipated, and despite the surroundings, you somehow feel quite pampered. Many things to fall in love with here: the food, the views, the natural beauty, the beach, many natural fragrances, hiking (I am a runner and I put together a variety of 5-6 mile runs on trails and dirt roads each day), and our late Sep/early Oct weather was great. We went horseback riding and the golf course under construction appears small but thoughtfully designed for casual rounds. We drove to Bonaficio one day, but there is really no need to ever leave this place. We enjoyed "A Nepita," small inside, but we spent every waking moment outside by the pool or our beautiful summer kitchen for meals. In addition to our great host Valerie, I wanted to recognize Remi, who served us most of our meals. We were also referred to Fleur for our horseback ride up the valley, who was a great guide and riding companion.

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Sniveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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197 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
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  • Service
  • Value
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (7)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
New York, NY
Level 5 Contributor
72 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 September 2013

Murtoli is extraordinary – unlike any other place in our extensive travels – and if simple fixes were done to remedy a couple of serious problems, the experience of being there could be perfection.

In addition to the rugged natural beauty of the place, a high point for us was the restaurants. Except for two nights at the Grotto, we had all our lunches and dinners at Murtoli’s amazing Beach restaurant. The restaurant’s sophisticated concept melds rusticity with imaginative and tasteful design touches worthy of an architectural award. (The engaging Valérie Canarelli, Murtoli’s manager and wife of the owner, informed us that the Canarellis had done the design themselves. ) Service at the restaurant hit that sweet spot between impeccable professionalism and easy, engaging friendliness. On a scale of 1 to 10, the restaurant team gets an 11.

The food is fantastic. Among our favorite dishes were the cold lobster with heirloom tomatoes and herbs from the estate, and a grilled whole fish that was introduced to us for prior approval before hitting the coals. The nibblies that accompanied drinks were excellent. They included brook minnows that had taken a quick dip in the deep fryer before being tossed in sea salt and eaten like peanuts, as well as simply prepared but delicious toast squares topped with dark tuna meat and olive oil. The only menu item that was not local was the beef, and perhaps not coincidentally it was the one dish we found disappointing. The knowledgeable staff helped us navigate through the extensive list of excellent Corsican wines from indigenous varietals, some from Paul Canarelli’s own vineyard.

On two evenings dinner was served at the Grotto, an ingeniously designed restaurant inside a cave with an outdoor terrace where we had drinks that overlooks the estate’s rocky terrain and sea beyond. On both evenings musicians performed haunting Corsican polyphonic songs. Both nights were great, but we particularly enjoyed the Tuesday performance, where Corsica’s most famous singer (who provides the background music on Murtoli’s website) and two of his buddies sat around one of the restaurant’s wooden tables, wine glasses in hand, as if, having dropped by the village eatery for a meal, they had decided to perform some songs at their friends’ urging. They talked and joked among themselves between songs. It seemed totally authentic and was very special. To my disappointment they don’t seem to have put out a CD.

Our favorite activity at Murtoli was enjoying the estate’s amazing 3 km beach, with its fine sand (unusual for the Mediterranean in our experience) and mesmerizing surf. Rustic chairs and chaise-longues with bright purple upholstery are nestled under trees and thatched lean-to’s, making ideal spots for reading or just zoning out.

Getting around the estate entails muscular driving on rough, rocky unpaved tracks with steep inclines and spectacular views at every hairpin turn. Murtoli imposes a 20 km/hr speed limit for good reason – particularly for nighttime driving, when baby wild boars appear out of nowhere to gaze quizzically at your approaching vehicle as if the car were a new friend. Lunch and dinner entailed roundtrips from our sheepfold that translated into almost two hours of this driving daily. For me the driving enhanced the experience of being at Murtoli – it was a constant reminder that I was no longer in my hometown of Manhattan, plus it tapped into the love for roller coasters that I’ve harbored ever since childhood. But it’s unquestionably not for everyone. And if you’re not into the driving, that could mean being stuck in your sheepfold and passing up the opportunity of enjoying the restaurants, which were a high point of our daily routine.

In contrast to all of Murtoli’s wonderful qualities noted above, our sheepfold (A Filetta) was a huge disappointment. Although the outdoor stone swimming pool and the view are great, the interior is austere – not in an attractive, minimalist/rustic way, but in a drab, cheerless way. Replacing the crude gray bedcover with something bright – say, the purple used in Murtolli’s beach furniture – substituting more cheerful upholstery for the brown sofa covering, and replacing the flimsy bed pillows with fluffier ones could transform what is now a Spartan, dispiriting interior into a warm and welcoming one (without sacrificing the house’s inherently rustic nature). It’s obvious from the imaginative design throughout the estate that Valerie Canarelli has a sophisticated eye for color and design, and A Filetta could benefit from her touch.

A huge problem for us was that A Filetta has neither screening in the windows/door nor air conditioning. We were left with the unpleasant choice of inviting insects and lizards into the house through an open window or door in order to remain cool, or enduring heat and the humidity from trapped shower steam in order to remain creature-free. We opted for the latter alternative, and spent uncomfortable nights without even a sheet on top of us because it was so muggy. (We did actually open the window once out of desperation, whereupon a lizard that had lying in wait scurried into the house and into hiding under the sofa.)

The net result was that we avoided spending time in the sheepfold as much as possible.
Be aware that the driving directions provided in the pre-arrival package are easy to follow until almost the end the journey, when you arrive at Auberge Canarelli. You will find neither the written directions nor the accompanying squiggly diagram to be of any help, however, in getting you the last short leg from Auberge Canarelli to Murtoli – even though the two properties are practically a stone’s throw away from each other – and a phone call to the hotel won’t help because the reception desk doesn’t know how to explain the route either. It took us an exasperating half hour to find Murtoli after arriving at Auberge Canarelli. So as a public service to Murtoli newcomers I offer the following directions (for those coming from the direction of Figari airport):

“On the near side of Auberge Canarelli is a large unpaved parking lot flanked by a wall at the right-hand end. Turn left from the highway just at the wall and (with your back to the highway) continue a few meters through the parking area onto the dirt road at the far side. Immediately veer to the right at the fork (a sign will say “Entrée Interdite” or something similar). (Do not take the left fork, which slopes steeply downhill.) In a short distance, after passing an upward sloping residential driveway on the right, you will reach a small parking area for the Reception sheepfold, which is up the stone stairs.”

Room Tip: Request a house with air-conditioning.
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  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
8 Thank villagesq
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Milan, Italy
Level 5 Contributor
35 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 September 2013

The Domaine de Murtoli is a unique place, where the stunning beauty of the Mediterranean landscape is masterfully combined with the most sophisticated and respectful restoration of the existing bergeries.
We stayed at Arba Barona, an amazing and charming stone house where every detail seems casual but is in fact the result of a careful aesthetic research.
Both the inside and the outside kitchens are perfectly equipped with first quality facilities, making the cooking of our own meals and the dining at home a real treat.
The house is small and has no relaxation area, but the garden, the pool and the summer kitchen and dining area are so beautiful and well organized that you never regret the lack of it.
The service is excellent, the staff is friendly, efficient and invisible!
The private swimming pool, carved into the rose granite rock, is breathtaking: surrounded by absolute silence, myrtles, holm oaks and arbutus, the pool is sheltered from the eyes of other guests of the domaine.
The beach is unique and fabulous, with the Ortolo river flowing from the valley into the crystalline waters of the bay.
The fishing facilities are excellent.
The beach bar and restaurant are again a special treat for the expert eye, searching for exquisite settings, but the food is overpriced and the only real aspect of our stay at Murtoli not quite up to our expectations.
The overall judgment is excellent, my husband and I spent a wonderful week in late August with our two children aged 13 and 10 years, in a pristine landscape but in reality extremely sophisticated and masterfully organized. Will definitely be back!

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank VaiMartuzza
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Los Angeles, California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 9 August 2013

Situated on a large family estate, Murtoli offers natural beauty, privacy, and excellent service. The various houses are beautifully appointed, furnished and equipped at a high standard; and the hospitality is gracious and discrete. A quietly elegant offering in an unspoiled Mediterranean environment, suitable for couples, families, and groups of friends.

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Michael O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne, Australia
Level 3 Contributor
19 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 December 2012

Domaine de Murtoli is like nowhere we've stayed before. The drive around the coastal road towards the estate is spectacular, giving a taste of what lies ahead. Beyond the impressive wrought iron gates the long bumpy driveway would please any 4WD enthusiast. Our young sons loved it. The estate is huge and naturally beautiful. Words don't do it justice. Just amazing. Pristine private beach, rugged terrain, rocky hills, wildlife, and old fort in the distance, views to die for.

Our villa, L'Arba Barona was rustic from the exterior but perfectly furnished and fitted out on the inside. I had the French country kitchen of my dreams - fully equipped and charming. The furnishings and decor are perfectly rustic yet luxurious. The bathroom supplies were beautiful L’Occitane products and were in generous supply.

The beach was superb. The facilities are all so understated yet so magnificent and beautiful. The thatched roof shade structures were well placed apart and provided a beautiful place to while away the day. The restaurant was great. We ate so many beautiful dishes. The spaghetti with clams was the highlight – our five year old son devoured it every night. The Fleur de Murtoli rosé was a highlight. We cannot find a rosé as perfect.

It is a dream of mine to return one day though from Australia it is a huge effort but well worth it.

  • Stayed September 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank AnnaMcKinnon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Twickenham, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 October 2012

We were guests of my sister in law at the Eddera house, in the Cove area of the estate. This meant the private cove / beach was just a few mins walk from the property. We felt just like Robinson Crusoe here. Stunning! In general this is a beautiful corner of the earth. So amazingly cosseted from the outside world. The estate is raw in its beauty. Cattle and wild boar roam freely. Dust track roads lead you to the beach restaurant, the vegetable garden, the Equestrian centre, beauty treatments and more. Words cannot really describe how extraordinary and wonderful this place really is. There is little need to actually leave the estate. Your food shopping is brought to you daily or you can eat at the beach restaurant (sumptuous local fish and meat). Valerie (your host) is a charming and enthusiastic person. Her family have developed this estate with love and imagination. If you can afford this, go! As I say we were v lucky to be invited along.

  • Stayed August 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank CharlieH2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Palestrina, Italy
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 September 2012

We spent in Murtoli our honeymoon. It was fantastic, a dream!
We stayed in the Tiria house: very romantic atmosphere and a beautiful panorama. Total privacy, personal swimming pool, breakfast served in the garden in small baskets. Cleaning services very efficient and when we came back from the beach we found the table set. The estate is really big: around free animals (eagles, boars, sheeps, horses, cows on the beach) and nature. A three-kilometer private beach and a 5-star restaurant that will delight. A special note for the kindness and professionalism of Responsbile, Valerie, and all the staff at the Domaine. Nothing is left to chance, everything is taken care of small details, all needs met.
We suggest only to use a car suitable, since the beach is only accessible by car and the trails in the Domaine are unserface.
We had read that you fall in love with this place and for sure you will want to return. Well, it's true! we are already planning to do so at some anniversary.

  • Stayed June 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Stefania C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Domaine de Murtoli

Property: Domaine de Murtoli
Address: Vallee de l'Ortolo, 20100, Sartene, Corsica, France
Region: France > Corsica > Corse-du-Sud > Sartene
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 7 Hotels in Sartene
Number of rooms: 19
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located in the South of Corsica, between Sartene and Bonifacio, lays a territory of 2500 hectares wide, with a preserved coastline of 8 kms long, uniting the sea, a river, beaches, dunes, maquis, plains, hills, forests, and mountains. The Domaine de Murtoli is unique holiday destination offering 19 authentic sheepfolds from the 17th century within wide-open spaces, breathtaking landscapes, and access to all of your favorite sports and hobbies. In this spectacular site, it is possible in one day to fish in the sea and in a river, go hunting, water fowling, horse-riding, play golf and even having a meeting in our seminar room. Everything that you've dreamed of is here. You'll discover pristine nature, the heady scent of paradise. Blissful moments that will last an eternity begin here. We invite you to discover... ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Domaine De Murtoli Corsica/Sartene

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