We arrived at dusk in early autumn having travelled 2.5 hours from Valencia along winding roads increasingly overlooked by medieval towns and castle-topped rocks the closer we got. After a final bumpy 5 km we reached our destination, a collection of ivy-clad, low stone buildings lit atmospherically by warm recessed lighting. We made our way in through narrow corridors, up worn steps and through leafy courtyards to be welcomed into the farmhouse style kitchen. This, it was explained, is the heart of the house, and a symbol of the hotel’s ethos as being a home away from home.
The hotel was originally a scattering of farm buildings, and a 15th century tower. With careful renovation the disparate elements were transformed into a delightful labyrinth of airy bedrooms, generous living spaces, sweeping archways, garden nooks and picturesque stone terraces. Rooms retain their original character through features such as exposed brickwork, deep stone window ledges or the spacious bathrooms not constrained by traditional architecture.
In summer you’ll find no end of shady corners to enjoy the sunset or gaze at the stars. As the evenings turn chilly you’ll find yourself curled up in front of an open fire or browsing the extensive library, never far from the impressively stocked honesty bar tucked inside the chilled stone cellar.
Organic produce is grown on the 220 acres of land, which is the foundation for the delicious and contemporary evening menus and plentiful homemade produce such as preserves and oils. The open kitchen fire smoulders and smiling cooks are constantly whipping up something mouth-watering, whether it’s lemon curd, marmalade or fresh chocolate cake. Check the hotel website to coincide your visit with a weekend cookery workshop if you like your relaxation to have a productive element, and if cooking isn’t your thing you could try some liquor tasting (gin, whisky) or even a spot of astronomy from their fabulous high powered telescope.
La Torre del Visco manages to strike an enviable balance of unhurried and friendly atmosphere whilst maintaining a professional and efficient service. It’s an ideal combination for a heart of the Spanish countryside luxury retreat.
Hotel Hacienda Na Xamena is all about style. Perfectly designed in the 1960s by the architect owner, every line maximises the magnificent view, every feature has been carefully considered to enhance the stunning landscape and reflect the different moods of the sea and sky.
Reception is on the 5th floor; you descend to the bedrooms located off echoing tunnels hewn into the cliffs. It’s a cross between a millionaire’s playground and an underground lair. The rooms are simple and modern, white with curved lines and expansive windows. With features such as a steam shower and hot-tub balanced on a window ledge overlooking the ocean you don’t really need any other frills. Sunset from the tub is essential.
The main hotel terrace wraps round a free-form pool which has gentle water features and the gradual slope of a tropical shore at one end. The beautifully landscaped space is shaded by olive and palms trees and flanked by meandering herb borders, giving it a wonderfully natural feel. The terrace extends to an upper level, with plenty more day beds and secluded spaces to absorb the view which is nothing but a vast expanse of sky, sea and sheer cliff face. As sun descends into the ocean in spectacular fashion the pool is lit beautifully, with tiny blue LEDs in the pathways glittering like star constellations.
As the first 5 star hotel on the island La Hacienda has been sharing its vision for decades. Perhaps though there is a slight complacency when it comes to service, which could do more to complement the sublime view and surroundings.
Sa Talaia certainly has plenty of ‘curb appeal’. Enter the leafy drive to be greeted by plentiful canopied daybeds dotted amongst the shadowy palms. Beyond that is an imposing stonework turret presiding over the large pool. The top of the turret houses one of the 12 bedrooms, which boasts a wraparound balcony and 360 degree views. The hotel used to be the private residence of the owner but has now been converted into a boutique hotel as part of the Palladium Hotel Group. Its style is modern and quirky, with lamps which don’t look like lamps, colour-splattered paintings and random pieces of contemporary art in hallways and staircases.
The vibe at Sa Talaia is friendly without being intrusive, helpful but laid-back. There are periodic activities if you want them such as yoga, meditation or belly-dancing; I unwound with a hypnotic gong meditation on the dappled grass beneath the trees at a civilized 10am. If you’ve come for privacy and discrete service you are left to your own devices. Dinner is available overlooking the gardens or in the glass-fronted restaurant. There’s no menu, just options jotted on a chalk board, depending on what was bought at the market that day. At three courses for 15 euros its simple, fresh fare should you prefer a night in with a bottle of Ibizan red. The kitchen can cater for all requirements, and given the eclectic appetites of guests arriving in Ibiza, focuses on the healthy, tasty and locally sourced.
Even at full capacity we didn’t see more than 6 guests at a time. The Sa Talaia feels quiet, and with grounds so large it’s never going to feel anything other than secluded. Guests drift by the pool, visitors attend classes (we enjoyed the results of a vegan baking class) and the small team of staff (we only ever saw 4) co-exist in this conveniently located small hotel.
Tucked a kilometre away up a dirt track, Can Pujolet is a world away from the rest of Ibiza. A lovingly restored Finca, this 10 bedroomed retreat place is the real deal. Surrounded by orchards of fig, avocado and almond trees with miles of dense forest beyond, the hotel captures everything you’d want from a rustic hideaway. The added bonus is the impeccable service, where the owner genuinely cares about your stay and works with a team who are equally as delighted to make sure you love the place as much as they seem to.
The main house is a maze of rooms and annexes converted from stables and sheds and connected by cosy nooks and narrow staircases. Light floods into different rooms through windows set in traditional deep stone walls depending on the time of day. Nine of the ten rooms have terraces; one ‘room’ is in fact a large apartment with two bedrooms, a low beamed den and beautifully designed kitchen.
The raised terrace overlooks traditional stone walls and the sweeping countryside. It’s almost impossible to believe San Antonio is less than half an hour away. The restaurant is an outdoor kitchen and flower-decked patio, where you’ll breakfast on fresh juice and home-made baked goods. It’s here that we were welcomed with cake and wine, and 3 course dinners for 22 euros were all home-made, fresh and delicious. Don’t pass up on the lemon sorbet dessert or the vegetable lasagne!
The friendly dog who passes the time under your table, the abundant vegetable patch which is clearly a labour of love and the wonderful 20 minute hike to the soul-soothing viewpoint where the sun sets into the ocean all fit perfectly with the essence of this place. It feels authentic and genuine. The owner’s gift is that for however long you stay you will feel like your visit matters and that it is your home to enjoy too.