Of the three Balearic islands, Menorca is the most discreet. It nevertheless remains a natural jewel, between fine sandy beaches and unique architectural heritage. It is in the heart of this landscape that Frédéric Biousse and Guillaume Foucher, founders of the Domaines de Fontenille, have set their sights on a finca, a traditional farm, 9000 years old! As it fell into disrepair, the two men completely renovated it, with the help of the architect Miguel Jiménez Robertson, who had already taken care of other buildings in Menorca. The idea? “Make it a very mineral, direct, raw place, with a cocooning family spirit,” explains Laurent Branover, General Manager of the Les Domaines de Fontenille collection. The roughness of materials such as wood, straw and stone rub shoulders with linen, in perfect harmony with the surrounding nature.
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In the 17 rooms that make up the establishment, everything invites comfort. The sober decoration is impregnated with local craftsmanship, while the materials, such as marès stone as a floor covering, keep this place in its own juice. Refined tones such as beige, white and gray rest the soul and the spirit. Then simply relax by the edge of its private swimming pool (for some rooms) or breathe the fresh air on its terrace overlooking the vineyard, to forget all the hassles of everyday life! To recharge even more, yoga and meditation sessions are given on a rocky platform overlooking the sea. For the more athletic, the hotel offers walks, bike rides or horseback rides to admire the sunset, on the coastal path along the island. Who could believe, faced with this paradise of refinement that is now part of Relais & Châteaux, that this "Torre Vella" ("old tower" in Spanish) is a site occupied since the Neolithic era?
An eco-friendly establishment
In 1993 Menorca was classified as a "World Biosphere Reserve" by UNESCO. To get up to speed, the establishment attaches great importance to the preservation of the surrounding nature. In Torre Vella, as in Santa Ponsa, the other address of the Domaine de Fontenille, located not far from there, everything is done to reconnect with the primary vocation of the finca: agriculture. Fontenille Menorca thus has 20 hectares of organic vines, 20 hectares of aromatic plants, an oil press, a honey house and no less than 5000 m2 of permaculture vegetable garden, where the restaurants are supplied.
In the kitchen, the Catalan chef Albert Riera officiates, with a healthy and mineral menu with Iberian accents, renewed every day. In an intimate atmosphere, the “Siempreviva” restaurant gives pride of place to planchas, barbecues and fish and offers, in the evening, to enjoy tapas, on the patio of the house, or under the stars. Every other day, the Nomad bar, meanwhile, offers an aperitif on the edge of the cliff, 60 meters above sea level.
Conviviality as a key word
Torre Vella shuns the brilliance of chic. The ostentatious thus has no place there, its splendours being rather those of the heart… and of sharing. In this revisited hacienda, you feel good, at home, as Laurent Branover confides "We created it like a large guest house", before continuing: "It's the quintessence of what is for me today's hotel industry. It is the art of receiving”.