Mallorca might attract the masses and Ibiza the hedonistic, but when it comes to Balearic beauty, tuned in travellers are heading straight for their relaxed, bucolic sibling. Such is the setting for Menorca Experimental, a hotly-anticipated new hotel opening from the group better known for its expertly crafted cocktails – try them at Experimental Cocktail Club in London’s Chinatown, Balagan in Paris and Experimental Beach in Ibiza – and sleek urban hotels: Covent Garden’s Henrietta, and Parisian base Hotel des Grands Boulevards.
This new outpost on the island’s southern shore, 30 minutes from capital Mahon’s picturesque harbour, is a decidedly mellower affair. French interior designer – and long-time Experimental collaborator – Dorothee Meilichzon has transformed a former 19th-century Spanish ranch or ‘finca’ into a white-walled retreat, reimagined as an artist’s summer house. Using local materials and artisans throughout, the result is an utterly Balearic blend of rustic and right on trend, where farmhouse furniture and terracotta coexist in harmony with fresh pastel hues and clean, curved lines.
While most of the Experimental’s 43 rooms are housed in the grand main building, which sits within a vast garden, there are also nine private bungalows complete with their own evocatively named ‘dipping pools’. The interior spaces are streamlined yet soothing – each light-filled room features supersized upholstered headboards and boldly embroidered textiles, as well as ceramics from Marrakesh-based studio LRNCE. They’re totally television-free, but there’s plenty of stimulation on offer if you tire of Mediterranean-flavoured R&R, from horse riding and guided hikes to yoga, pottery and painting classes. In true pastoral style, guests can borrow a basket and a straw hat from a wall display – no umbrellas needed here – for the 15-minute saunter down to the beach.
Outside, the hotel’s 30 hectares include a fully restored original vegetable garden which supplies much of the restaurant’s produce. Food features heavily at the resort (think light, fresh eats like sea bream ceviche or watermelon and feta salad), the 30-person communal table sitting at the centre of the airy dining space with its waxed concrete walls and rough-hewn wooden floors.
It may feel like a new frontier for the group – who recently opened a Verbier chalet and will unveil a new Venice palazzo this autumn – but there’s one important thread of consistency: the standout cocktails on offer at the bar, which fully live up to the brand’s moniker. Rooms from £185, menorcaexperimental.com