Menorca, an island which is far removed from the hustle and bustle of daily life, surrounded by golden sands and shimmering aquamarine waters. Today, we are lucky enough to interview the owner of this magnificent villa and share her thoughts on Menorca with you.
Why did you choose this island, and this property in particular?
I grew up on the island but never realised how wonderful it truly was until I started studying and working in different parts of Europe. I missed waking up to clear blue skies, the warmth of the sun and the safe, peaceful atmosphere of the island. After several years away my husband Antoine, who has been spending his holidays here for the last 20 years, and I decided that this was where we wanted to relax, gather together family members and be part of the local scene. We came back to reconnect with nature – at just two hours from London or Paris, where else can we can enjoy unspoilt charm, crystal-clear waters and incredible weather?
Purchasing Villa Alaior was a dream come true: working on a countryside property and restoring its character and Menorcan heritage is a wonderful project to be a part of. It’s exceptionally difficult to find such a historic seaside property in Menorca, set in 1000 square meters of land with gardens, farmland and infinite potential. So when we stumbled upon this property, there was no looking back!
How is the architecture of this villa unique?
The original architecture of Villa Alaior was very grand, perhaps a little too much so, and the living spaces were well-structured but old-fashioned. Our architects on the island as well as their French counterparts, interior designers Atelier Du Pont, did an excellent job in softening the edges of the grand Finca, adding light and making every space feel comfortable and easily accessible. They also brought out all of the existing beautiful details and enhanced them with whitewashed masonry elements and work tops, as well as bespoke carpentry. Every room is now spacious, all of the bedrooms have bathrooms and there are plenty of annexes and living spaces to keep everyone happy without interfering in others’ personal space.
Our biggest inspiration for the renovation was the Menorcan countryside, with its whitewashed farmhouses, grey-green colour palette, Mediterranean plants, stone walls and unique fusion of architectural influences : British elegance, French charm, and Spanish authenticity with Moorish touches.
Tell us more about the heritage of your villa:
The finca was built in the 19th century by a family of wealthy merchants who used it as their weekend retreat from their activities and main house in Mahon. They put a lot of pride and effort into bringing every luxury possible at the time to the house, such as running water in the bathrooms and exquisite tiles in every room.
They loved hunting, enjoying wildlife and entertaining neighbours from surrounding fincas. We recently saw some of the pictures of a procession honouring the Virgin Mary being welcomed in the garden of the house 60 years ago – it was a wonderful sight.
What experience do you offer guests staying at your villa?
We would like Villa Alaior to be a place that brings people together, where they savour every moment with each other. An opportunity to relax while immersing yourself in the surroundings and discovering wild beaches, sailing, traditional cuisine and local culture.
We aim to offer guests a real break from their daily lives, where they can just sit back and relax while our staff takes care of everything they might need, from preparing delicious meals to organising more chilled activities such as craft or pottery classes. All that while feeling very much at home and free from social pressure or formalities.
What are your favourite spots surrounding the villa?
Some of the places on my list would be L’illa d’en Colom, a beautiful little island near the beach of Es Grau on the east coast of the island. Enjoy the kayak/boat ride to get there, and tuck into lunch at Los Tamarindos while your children splash around in the water. The Calas of Alcaufar or Canutells are equally charming, the latter having a restaurant with fantastic views and the best fresh fish!
Close to Es Bec d’Aguila is San Adeodato, with its long stretch of beach and clear waters. To soak up the nightlife of Menorca, head to Mahon Port or go to a concert at the Akelarre, and don’t forget a drink in one of the many bars in the city centre.