The modish mixologists behind Experimental Hotel Menorca aren’t letting their boho Balearic setting distract from their USP: the emphasis is still firmly on garden-fresh fare and first-class cocktails. A romantic 19th-century finca sets the stage – it’s been reborn as an artist’s retreat, a place where you’d find a modern-day Picasso sketching among the pine shrubs, juniper groves and wildflowers. Designer Dorothée Meilichzon has preserved the original features and golden Marés stone, while adding her playful, art-deco details. If you can tear yourself away from the infinity pool, walled gardens and head chef Sylvain Roucayrol’s Catalan cuisine, the beach is just 15 minutes away down a rock-strewn path.
Get this when you book through us:
A cocktail each at the bar (a total of two per booking)
Check-in is from 3pm and check-out is 11am. Both can be flexible, subject to availability.
Double rooms from $169.42 (€153), excluding tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €2.00 per person per night on check-out.
Rates exclude breakfast. The buffet – from €29 – features homemade granola, organic eggs, fresh juices, homemade jam and plenty of options for the gluten-free gang.
The hotel can organise private or semi-private yoga classes – just give them 24 hours notice.
The hotel closes annually from 19 October to 15 April.
At the hotel
Pool, walled gardens, beach access, free WiFi and free parking. In rooms: TV, desk, air-conditioning, free bottled water, tea and coffee, black-out curtains, and minibars stocked with pre-mixed Experimental Club cocktails and snacks.
Our favourite rooms
It’s hard to go wrong here as every room is designed by Dorothée Meilichzon, who imbued the interiors with her signature clean lines and art-deco touches – the bespoke blankets sure to launch a thousand #designgoals ‘grams are by cult Moroccan brand LRNCE. If you’re seeking seclusion, the nine villas are set away from the main house in the gorgeous gardens and each has its own private dipping pool.
The infinity pool is family-friendly and warmed by the Mediterranean sun.
Sturdy sandals for navigating the nature trails and roving the rock-strewn paths.
All public areas and some bedrooms are suitable for wheelchair users.
All ages are very welcome. The gardens are perfect for letting them run (contained) riot and the pool is family-friendly. With advance notice, the hotel can provide colouring books and snacks in your room as well as mini-sized bathrobes and slippers.
Snag a table on the terrace for stunning views of Mediterranean blue and stirring sea breezes.
We recommend island elegance – traditional Menorcan sandals, billowing kaftans, geometric prints and pressed linens.
Head chef Sylvain Roucayrol, who also runs the restaurant at the group’s sister spot the Henrietta Hotel, takes his inspiration from Basque and Catalan cuisine. The result is regional classics with a modern twist that never skimp on flavour, colour or personality. Ingredients are sourced locally from boutique producers or grown in the finca’s own vegetable garden. There’s both indoor and outdoor seating – hidden booths for whispering and a 20-person communal table for lively groups. The carefully chosen wine list is complemented by a new menu of Experimental Cocktails with herbs and aromatics from the gardens.
Since the Experimental Group is synonymous with modish mixology, you won’t be disappointed by the first-class cocktails here. Drinks can be served either in the retro bar in the double-height lobby or sipped in the sunshine around the infinity pool.
Breakfast is served from 8am to a leisurely 11am. Lunch is served by the pool from 12:30pm to 3:30pm; dinner is 7pm–11pm.
The full restaurant menu is available as room service during opening hours.
Reborn from a listed 19th-century finca, the hotel is on 40 acres on the south side of the Balearic island, overlooking the Mediterranean.
Menorca’s Mahon airport is 20km (a 20-minute drive) from the hotel.
We recommend renting a car for exploring Menorca’s secret calas and coves. There’s free parking on site at the hotel.
Worth getting out of bed for
Start with what’s here: eating, drinking, relaxing by the pool and taking the path through the pines to the little pebbly beach. The hotel can organise all manner of activities, so try your hand at pottery, painting or horseback riding. The actively inclined can take private yoga lessons or go hiking with a guide. When you’re ready to venture out, start with Menorca’s beautiful beaches: Playa de Son Bou, Cala Mitjanete and Cala Turqueta are some of the most famous. If you’re trying to steer clear of fellow sun-seekers, Menorca is a treasure trove of hidden coves and crannies – you might get lucky and find one all to yourself. Hire a car to discover pretty stretches of sand like Cala Binidalí or Cala Trebaluger (or just ask a local, everyone Menorcan lays claim to a secret spot). Budding boatmen can hire a traditional Balearic llaut to explore the calas. Back on solid ground, explore the island’s unspoilt coastlines by foot or bicycle – the many miles of wildflower-strewn hiking trails will lead you past prehistoric rock structures called ‘taulas’ that look like mini Stonehenges.
Head inland to Mahón (the locals call it ‘Maó’) to discover the old town’s restaurant scene. There’s seasonal seafood and paellas at Passió Mediterrànea, tantalising tapas at Ses Forquilles and sea views from the terrace at Jagaro. Outside of town, Anatea grill and tapas bar overlooks the crystalline Cala Macaralleta.
Island-hoppers have been partying at Cova d’en Xoroi, a cliff-side bar and nightclub, since the 1960s – the shimmying doesn’t stop until the sun comes up.
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 artistic agroturismo in Menorca and unpacked their handmade leather sandals, a full account of their Balearic island break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Menorca Experimental in Spain…
The four Frenchmen behind the Experimental Group may be hipper-than-thou and have cut their teeth on cocktail bars that stay open well into the wee hours, but with Menorca Experimental, there are signs of a softening. The first clue is the location; Menorca is not the Balearic isle for raving and misbehaving – the Unesco-protected biosphere is better suited to bird-watchers than bad boys. Don’t get us wrong, this rustic island experiment still has the guys’ signature verve: killer cocktails, cool-kid collaborators and art-deco design by Dorothée Meilichzon. But, you’ll also find that the pace is sedate and there are plenty of perches perfect for doing absolutely nothing: by the infinity pool, in the manicured walled gardens or down on the little pebbly beach. There’s even yoga and a vegetable garden. Yep, it looks like these Gallic hospitality gods are coming around to the allure of active mornings and early-ish nights – just don’t ask them to compromise on style.
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