Category Archives: Luxury Vacation

Slow Food and Sweet Siestas The True Spirit of Ibiza

We love the island of Ibiza and its many unexplored special places !So after reading several recent travel articles on Ibiza which focussed on partying at the new Las Vegas style hotels and “clubs” in Playa den Bossa, the southern beach club bling factor with overpriced restaurants serving underwhelming food, we decided it was time to share some of  the real Ibiza where time stands still and you can really switch off.

There is a different side to this magical island which makes traveling here a must for lovers of luxury travel and slow food. While an evening at Lio Cabaret may be on most peoples list and while we will happily rent you a luxury villa in Ibiza there is so much more to this island than what is commonly perceived.

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Ibiza fields in spring

The amazingly vibrant countryside and farmlands of the north combine with stunning cliff shrouded beaches, pine covered peninsulas and fishermen’s coves to make this island a very special place to visit and enjoy its history and its nature. Here are our top places for families and friends alike to siesta and enjoy local produce cooked the way we like it in the true spirit of Ibiza.

 

The Agroturismo

On our recent trip to Ibiza we made a wonderful discovery, the Agroturismo Can Domo, which we had not visited for twelve years turned out to be a hotel and restaurant we would highly recommend. The pretty hilltop hotel is a renovated finca with very attentive service and eight charming bedrooms – ask for the upstairs suite with its private terrace with sea and campo views. The bedrooms are all decorated in muted pretty tones with well appointed en suite bathrooms. The big bonus here is the owner’s husband Pau is a fabulous chef and the menu consists of light, creative dishes using organic and local produce. Lunch and dinner are served on the shaded pool terrace and at night you watch the moon rise from your table.

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The owner and her husband the chef
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Night time dining at Can Domo

 

The Boat

Octapus C is a beautifully restored sailing yacht it sleeps six people comfortably and is available for day cruises for up to ten guests. If you choose to request a picnic on board the food comes from the farm kitchen at Can Pere Musson, organic fresh food is sourced from their kitchen garden and delicious salads quiches and cold pastas are served for lunch with a lovely cold glass of rose. The perfect vessel for a day cruise to small coves for swimming or an overnight trip to Formentera. The crew are charming and you can waterski or ride a doughnut from their dinghy.

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Octapus at sea

 

The Beach Restaurant

Our favourite place by far for lunch at the beach and a swim is the small bay of Xucla near San Joan in the north of the island. The beach shack which is run by two brothers and their sister serves up fresh salads and fish just caught in a nearby creek the same morning. The crystal clear cove is a brilliant place to swim and snorkel and the vibe at the restaurant area is definitely relaxed. Local residents come down for sunset and its not uncommon to find a few of them strumming guitars as the sun slides below the horizon. The restaurant is also open in the evening on request, pretty candles line the walk way to the beach and on a full moon there is no better spot to dine and celebrate the beauty of Ibiza .

The Finca with Chef

New this year and nestled in the countryside within walking distance of the village of San Carles is the small  Finca del Campo with four double bedrooms and a possible fifth single bed. The setting is charming and quiet and while the rooms are simple its extremely peaceful and a great place to switch off. The owner is a chef and cooks amazing dinners for his guests all with locally sourced fish meat and produce and breakfast is served daily on the porch of the finca.

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Charming Finca with a Chef

 

Dinner and a Chupito

It used to be that no matter where one went for lunch and dinner a chupito (after dinner drink) was offered on the house. With the advent of the trendy and overpriced restaurants that have sprung up in the last five years this tradition is disappearing.

My dinner spot Can Cires in San Mateu is chosen for being authentic and serving great food. Recently on Easter Sunday we were served a local dish of roasted leeks which have to be eaten with surgical gloves and a bib! The food here is really good and the chef cooks meat and fish dishes in a simple traditional fashion. The large terrace is spacious and the clientele consist of many regular diners. The after dinner (or lunch) chupito to ease you into the siesta or nocturnal activities is offered automatically at the end of each meal.

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Lunch at Can Cires

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The Grocery Store

The owners of the farmer’s market store Viva Flor on the road from San Carles to Es Canar take great pride in explaining where their produce is sourced. Much of it is local grown by them or in nearby organic vegetable gardens. Their eggs are from their own hens and they have fresh flowers and plants for sale every day.

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Fresh organic and locally grown produce at Viva Flor

Opening Hours are from 08.00 until 14.00 For a more extensive selection of fruit vegetables meat and fish the market in Santa Eularia offers a great selection with local vendors selling everything from fresh chamomile for tea to local cheeses and a large variety of fresh fish, vegetables and fruit.

The Best Piece of Fish

Our intention was to write about affordable places that cater to the more discerning palate however I have to include the restaurant at Es Torrent in this blog. In a typical Ibiza beach cove setting under pine trees and shady umbrellas next to a sandy swimming beach this restaurant serves the most incredible grilled fish and fabulous seafood paellas. It’s not cheap but it’s so worth it.

The Olive Oil

Ses Escoles is a wonderful addition to the restaurant scene, set in a restored school house the owner Miguel has created a charming environment for a drink, a meal or an olive oil tasting. Their organic oils are made from olives from their farm  and all the produce used at the restaurant is organic and local.

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Organic Olive Oil and Fabulous Food

 

This Month’s Private House

We can offer many lovely private homes for rent from Fabulous Finca’s to Luxury Villas. We prefer to represent real homes that are cared for and loved, so when you stay there it feels like a home away from home. In the theme of the Spirit of Ibiza we would elect Can Calma as our home of the month as it represents the ultimate stylish yet chilled environment.

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Can Calma Ibiza

 

The eclectic comfortable design, the stunning views from the groovy roof terrace combined with the organic vegetables from the kitchen garden and the amazing Asian cuisine served by Anita the housekeeper all combine to make this the perfect luxury home for a fabulous relaxing stay.

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A trip of a lifetime in Kenya helps protect endangered animals

Our recent trip to Kenya was a re introduction to what has to be one of the most beautiful and fascinating countries in Africa . I had spent time in East Africa in the 1980’s but since then had not been back. So when we were sent an invitation to travel to a wonderful private estate on the foothills of Mount Kenya in the Central Plains we decided it was time to return. Having recently read West with the Night and Out of Africa my imagination was filled with visions of windswept farms and grandiose landscapes full of wildlife, I was not disappointed.

The best way to travel there is to fly in to Nairobi and then charter a small plane onwards. If you arrive at night you can stay in two or three charming hotels close to Wilson Airport and then jump on your charter the next morning. Should you land in the morning the best choice is to charter directly from the Nairobi international airport.

Nairobi is a very busy city but it’s not without a certain charm if you know where to look. It is essential to book a reliable driver before arriving as the traffic is very bad and driving is erratic at best.

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Nairobi Bolthole for your first night

Five things to do in Nairobi if you stay there :

Visit Giraffe Manor for tea or a gin and tonic:

Go to the Masai Market and stock up on kikoi’s

Buy colorful baskets from the street vendors near the German School

Climb up to the Longonot crater and spot some giraffe

Explore the area near Lake Nivasha

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This takes a little courage

Once you embark on your charter or commercial flight to the north, away from the madding crowds of Nairobi you start to feel the expanse and grandeur of this ancient country. The short flight to Nanyuki takes about thirty minutes and should you charter directly into the private estate its about forty minutes. Nanyuki airport is small and sleepy but it has a great little airport cafe and gift shop and is well worth a visit.

The private estate we visited is set in a conservation area that has been privately owned by the same family for over one hundred and fifty years. Here you stay in the grand house which is one of the most luxurious and well run private homes we know. This is a luxury rental in the true sense of the term.

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Kenya Estate 2. The Ultimate Kenyan Safari Conservancy Experience

The staff greeted us with such enthusiasm and took us to one of the beautifully appointed guest bedrooms. Once we were settled in it was time for a swim in the pool which overlooks the estate and the bush beyond.

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Every day before lunch the most excellent bloody mary’s are served on the dining terrace following a tradition started by early settlers here at the beginning of the last century.

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The Bloody Mary Spot

Dinner is served every night in the dining room which has a large fireplace and roaring fire to keep you warm on cool Kenyan nights. The cook is very creative and the food and house wines were delicious.

There are so many daily activities possible here that it is hard to list them all. Suffice it to say you can do as much or as little as you like. Morning game drives or game walks can be done each day , rising before sunrise, you track lion, elephant or rhino through the bush which is very exciting! We were always accompanied by experienced game keepers and drivers on these excursions . Bush Breakfasts are set up by the watering hole and Sundowners are organized on hilltops with majestic views over the estate. For lovers of fly fishing it is possible to travel to the lakes on Mount Kenya spend the night in a cabin and fly fish in two different lakes. Short excursions in tented safari camps to other locations are also possible to organize from this property.

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Arriving at the Bush Breakfast on horseback
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Sundowner View

The big pull here is that you are staying in a conservation area which is extremely well organized. This is a not for profit organization whose main aim is to protect the endangered animals.

Never before has conservation in Africa been so critical, and never before have our iconic animals been so threatened with extinction. The conservancy is blessed with some incredible resources, but they still need your help to protect this wildlife for generations to come. Clearly tourism remains the single largest contributor to the cost of underwriting secure habitat and it is hoped that their commitment to cycling revenue directly back to the conservancy will guide peoples’ decision in choosing this location as a preferred destination. We are the generation that has the choice and responsibility to reverse the damage and therefore we also encourage any and everyone to get directly involved in the conservation effort.

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