There’s always room at the inn at Cristine Bedfor, a charming collection of Menorcan houses in Mahón (and no relation to uninspiring English towns). She does however find a kindred spirit in the Cotswolds, with brocante-sourced artworks and antiques, bohemian soft furnishings and a house-party feel. Always considerate of her guests, Cristine’s pool is the perfect spot for summer, with a fireplace in the lounge for the winter. The island’s harbour-facing restaurants, pine-lined coves and sandy shores are all within easy reach – and a seat at Cristine’s table will be awaiting your return.
Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 4pm.
Double rooms from £144.37 (€162), including tax at 10 per cent.
Rates usually include breakfast.
Unsurprisingly for such a generous host, Cristine shares her busy calendar with guests, inviting them to join her for cocktail classes, soap-making workshops, film nights, tea parties with live music and charitable events.
The hotel closes every year from around 10 January to 24 February.
At the hotel
Free WiFi throughout, gym, two boutiques. In rooms: tote bags, free bottled water, minibar stocked with island produce, air-conditioning and locally made bath products. Tablets can be borrowed on request.
Our favourite rooms
Character and charm are packed into every corner of Cristine’s place, but for maximum historic ambience, request a room in the oldest part of the hotel, building number 17, which houses the owner’s top-secret, sloping-ceilinged favourites.
The as-stylish-as-everything-else stone-lined and turquoise pool is ready to refresh you from 8am until 8pm.
There’s no spa, but the hotel does have one treatment room.
Everyone loves a second wind around here – fit in with retro/vintage/pre-loved pieces.
One room category is suitable for disabled guests. The communal areas have accessible bathrooms and there’s a lift to get to most floors.
All ages are welcome – extra beds and cots can be added, and lots of the rooms can have twin beds on request. The restaurant has highchairs and babysitting can be organised.
All of the (island-made) bath products are in refillable metal bottles, the carpets are created out of discarded plastic and the hotel works closely with the Menorca Preservation Fund to help local farmers adapt to more sustainable forms of agriculture. Cristine shuns new furniture in favour of giving old pieces a second life, and even the staff uniforms are formed from former fishing nets and plastic bottles.
Out by the fountain in the patio – or at Cristine’s convivial communal table.
As effortlessly elegant as your host.
Cristine’s Kitchen by Ses Forquilles unites the vision of our esteemed host with a Menorcan institution and purveyor of the island’s best paella since 2006. The restaurant is on the palm-edged patio, serving all-day options such as flatbreads with sobrasada and honey, and mains like roasted sea-bass. Breakfast is taken either out on the patio or inside. And it’s not just the plates that are pretty: every detail from the linen to the lighting has been hand-picked. Cristine’s tea parties of home-made cakes and pastries are held daily from 4pm.
The bar staff are so good at making the island’s beloved beverage – the local-gin-and-lemon-packed pomada – that people have been known to call in just to have one. There’s an honesty bar in the living room, too.
Breakfast is served from 8am to 11am, lunch hours are noon to 4pm and afternoon tea is available from 4pm to 7pm. Dinner starts at 8pm until around 10.30pm.
There’s no formal room-service offering, but if you fancy something, just ask, as you would at a friend’s house.
You’ll find Cristine’s beds for the night in the Menorcan capital Mahón (also known as Maó), on the Balearic island’s east coast.
Menorca’s main air hub is a seven-minute drive away. Transfers through a local company can be arranged on request.
A car will come in handy for exploring the island – there’s a car park 20 metres away, which costs 10 euros a day. Hotel staff can help with rentals, and you can pull up out front and they’ll do the parking for you.
Mahón’s port is a 10-minute walk from the property. Ferries drop anchor here from all over Spain, including Barcelona, Valencia and Palma. It’s also possible to dock at Ciutadella, on the other side of the island.
Worth getting out of bed for
The patio, pool and gardens are calling, but the island has lots of sandy beaches, pine-edged coves and cliff-top towns to entice you, too. The staff can book a brilliant guide to tour Mahón with you while imparting some fascinating local history, arrange sailing trips departing from one of the biggest harbours in Europe and point out walking routes – like the Cami de Cavalls, an old horse path that borders the entire island. They’ll also be able to arrange diving, cycling and cultural tours of Lazareto island, Ciutadella and Cuevas del Agua.
Nearby Anna & Pepe is run by a couple so confident in the tastiness of their patatas bravas that they’ve added ‘iWow!’ to its title on the menu. The restaurant also has a sub-section of tartares (tomato, tuna, salmon and steak) and a list of puddings definitely worth saving room for. At Cristanal & Gradinata, the best manolitos on the island await: there are new tiny sandwiches to try every day. For the best lobster caldereta, head straight for Sa Llagosta; and excellent seafood is served up at Trébol in Es Castell, too.
The sangria never stops flowing at Bucaneros beach club, a 20-minute drive south from chez Cristine.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this boutique hotel in Spain and unpacked their authentic abarca sandals and artisan liqueurs, a full account of their Balearic break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Cristine Bedfor in Menorca…
Welcome to Cristine’s place, a Menorcan guesthouse bringing a little taste of an English B&B from the Cotswolds to the Balearics. The name is a play on a Spanish phrase meaning ‘bed for’ the night, and nothing at all to do with dreary towns just north of the M25 (sorry, Bedford). Setting new standards for the term hostess with the mostest, Cristine has travelled far and wide to source every piece of furniture, artwork and fabric – and even the choice of crockery has been meticulously considered. It won’t come as a surprise to learn that she really loves having people to stay, gathering friends around her table to impart island knowledge or just good old gossip, and crafting a calendar packed with workshops, yoga retreats and charitable dinners for the island’s farmers. The historic set of houses date back to the early 19th century, but their glory days are clearly still to come now Cristine’s in charge. It may not be home, but it sure will feel like it.