At Fontenille Menorca, two Relais & Châteaux hotels share the land and sky: Torre Vella and Santa Ponsa. On nearly 750 acres, they embody Menorca’s floral, terrestrial and architectural wealth. Explore the Torre Vella finca amidst the olive trees, a site steeped in natural, down-to-earth enchantment
Torre Vella, opened by Les Domaines de Fontenille in the summer of 2019, is one of those agricultural estates of untamed splendor, an ode to the bucolic beauty being rediscovered in this century in search of meaning.
Having undergone a major renovation, the Menorcan finca, a listed monument, is conspicuously more modern in appearance, like the former barn now converted into superb suites with private pools, while retaining all its rustic personality. The establishment also remains unshakably rooted in the land, reached by the kind of rugged country lane so typical of Menorca, more of a path than a road, bordered by dry-stone walls called tancas. The property is surrounded by fields of alfalfa and barley, wild palms, holm oaks, shimmering stretches of olive, fig and pine trees as far the eye can see, until the land meets the water. All exuding a fragrance to inhale deeply as you stroll through the scrubland.
The playground of this bohemian-tinged agroturismo contrasts with the russet earth and architecture in every shade of white, a botanical world as loose-locked and unfettered as the buildings are uncluttered and crisp, aesthetic contrast epitomized by the immense main swimming pool that seems set amidst the plowed fields themselves, with straw bales and rippling dune grass at every turn.
Reached by a network of wooden walkways connecting it to enchanting islets shaded by neutral-toned sun umbrellas, it resembles a drinking trough in an imaginary savannah, where the only emotion is the simple, immediate joy of being in direct contact with the earth. Treading the ground, caressing the stony or whitewashed walls, hugging the olive trees, running fingertips across the grass tops, counting the butterflies or ladybugs flocking here to spread their wings in the light – these experiences are priceless.
Your soul longs to lose itself out on these arid, sun-scorched acres, indefinitely suspending time, as though capturing your stay in a Millet painting. But the cuisine craftsmanship of Albert Riera brings you back to temporal reality at regular intervals. The Iberian artist is unequalled in preparing an ample, delicious breakfast and simple, striking dishes, often vegetarian, utterly leading-edge, and changing daily based on what is growing on the estate or selling in the local markets.
The lemon-seasoned sardine rillettes with citrus picked on the grounds or the fried smelt topped with light and airy aioli froth can be savored on wooden tables cooled by the trellis’ shade, in the old stable decorated with iconic prickly pear cactus pads, or beneath the sky in the inner courtyard flooded with moonlight come evening, a sight worth staying up for. Not to be outdone, the staff make every encounter feel fresh and friendly, keeping the premises as impeccable as one would expect when seeing the familiar fleur de lys pinned to the ladies’ embroidered bodices and the gentlemen’s polo shirts.
Torre Vella: rustic and refined, poignantly pastoral.