Agroturismo?’ Mr Smith asked, sounding slightly terrified, as we approached the hotel. ‘Does this mean we’ll be mucking out stables and milking the cows?’ ‘Don’t be ridiculous’, I answered, quietly eyeing the man pushing a wheelbarrow in the distance. I sure hoped we wouldn’t be singing for our supper. Thankfully, at Atzaró, one of Spain’s new agrotourism hotels, where a holistic approach to holidaying is the focus, you don’t have to harvest your own meals.
The converted century-old farmhouse is a típica Ibiza finca – all-white walls, windows and throw cushions. This hotel oozes what many folk would label ‘Zen’ and, seriously, from the moment we arrived, we felt relaxed. Usually this takes days, if not weeks, to achieve.
We came in on the early flight, so our room wasn’t ready, but Bea, the enthusiastic front-of-house (with great Ibiza-made gladiator sandals) greeted us with a smile and proceeded to show us around the grounds, which we were welcome to enjoy until our room was ready (and you knew when she used the word ‘welcome’, she meant it). And what grounds they are... Off the breakfast room (which serves a delectable feast until a very civilised 13h) is a large pool, surrounded by plush loungers, massage tables, and the requisite reclining daybeds. A highlight is definitely the cool-water Jacuzzi. Why hadn’t we thought of this back home?
We could have stayed there, basking in the sun, listening to the Balearic beats that were playing unobtrusively in the background, but Bea urged us to explore some more. Down a few stairs, we were led to Atzaró’s luxury spa, consisting of a lap pool (very chic, very skinny), several treatment rooms, a swish marble-laden changing room and, again, daybeds – one of which I instantly marked as my own (using a towel – not in the tomcat sense). Staff glided around in breezy billowing whites, and subtle signs reading ‘silence, please’ swayed from orange trees. I highly recommend a deep facial (they use a brush on special cases; clearly my urban pores were highly polluted). A quick look around made me realise why Kate Moss is said to have spent £30k here in one week on a spa holiday. This was pure luxury.
Ibiza is funny that way. Hedonists and hippies live harmoniously. And Atzaró seems to reflect that effortlessly. There’s nothing bootcamp about this set-up: champagne and mojitos are as much a part of the schedule as yoga and massages. Yet respect for nature and the body is at the root of everything. So is balance – something most of us city-dwellers are sorely missing.
After our tour, we decided to hop in the car and do a bit of exploring. After what we thought would be a brief chat, but was in fact a 45-minute animated ‘conversation’ in Spanglish, Catalan, Ibicenco, with the man holding the fort at the roadside grocery shop, we made a jaunt to some local beaches he recommended. Anyone who thinks that Ibiza’s beaches are made up only of strips of burnt tourists hasn’t seen the island properly. In two hours we drove through what felt like deserts, bushland and the tropics. We pondered how such a great variety of vegetation thrives here (and all so green!) in between trips to vacant beaches.
On one stop – Cala Boix – Mr S leaned over and said: ‘I feel like painting – this scenery is truly inspiring.’ Painting? It had been years since he’d felt so artistic. After begging Es Bigote (‘The Mustache’) to let us into his eponymous waterfront restaurant (he said no – the same response the King of Spain received when he turned up unannounced, so we felt in good company), we returned to the hotel to be taken to our room by the lovely Bea. After passing under our own personal grapevine, we were led into a corner cove, which, complete with outdoor sofas and carved driftwood recliners, and the scent of lavender filling the air, was home for the next two days.
We had a sitting room with fireplace, so cosy for winter; a large cavernous bedchamber, with a raised Japanese platform-style bed; and a well-stocked minibar, with contents including Veuve – nice touch. The ensuite, however, was the main attraction. After stepping through what felt like a secret door, we emerged in a terracotta-tiled oasis. The Asiatic/Arabic/African artwork and artefacts in here were as attractive as the ones in the lobby. The room had all the mod cons, but with scenery as good as this, they were duly ignored.
We spent a blissful day by the pool, splashing and falling in and out of consciousness, only to rally ourselves for a quick trip to Benirràs (the legendary bongo-beating sunset hang-out), and then back to the hotel for dinner. When we arrived at the outdoor restaurant, we again rejoiced at how well they do it in España. You can spend all the money in the world at some of London’s top haunts, but there’s nothing quite like dining alfresco for hours, amid palms and candles, fountains and statues, under the stars. The modern Catalan cuisine was delicious, the service was refreshingly unhurried (no 90-minute tables here), and the entertainment impressive. There was live opera, full orchestra during dinner, then a DJ into the wee hours.
After dinner, we took a stroll around the hotel, trying to decide how we could recreate the lily-pad pond look in our inner-city garden. More importantly, could we keep the fish alive? Sipping cocktails from the moonlit outdoor bar, we decided this was as good as it gets. I’d never have thought I’d be going to Ibiza to recharge, but that’s exactly what we did. Two days here felt like two weeks – it was like a giant power nap. And I definitely plan on doing it again. Actually, forgive me the clichéd Smith sign-off but, seriously, we’ve already booked.