Parisian hoteliers Experimental Group have landed in the Balearics
Tucked away on the sleepiest and most serene island in the Balearic chain lies Menorca Experimental, the latest outpost of Experimental Group’s fast growing hospitality empire. While the group’s other properties are placed purposefully at the heart of the action (including trendy districts of Paris and London and soon, Venice), Menorca Experimental has slowed the pace. Surrounded by pine groves and rolling countryside, the hotel occupies a 19th century finca, with grounds stretching over 30 hectares – an idyllic setting for the group’s first full-service ‘resort’.
The finca’s 43 rooms are arranged between the grand main house and a cluster of whitewashed stone buildings, all of which have been sensitively restored by a team of local craftsmen under the creative direction of interior designer Dorothée Meilichzon (who is behind the distinctive design at Experimental’s other hotels) – even the vegetable gardens have been recreated to match mid-century maps of the estate. “I was very familiar with Ibiza but Menorca was new to me when I came almost two years ago. It is so preserved and I especially love the houses here – the architecture is beautiful; all white but with a lot of texture, very dark green shutters, white roof tiles, green gardens… very different from the fincas I knew in Ibiza,” explains Meilichzon. The interiors, although pared back and simple, still bear the hallmarks of her playful yet refined aesthetic – think oversized, shapely headboards, arched recesses and splashes of colour inspired by shades of the Menorcan sky.
We have reused materials found onsite, including stone, roof tiles and wooden beams, which we turned into walls, floors, lamps and tables
Taking her cue from traditional Balearic style, the designer has called on local, rustic materials such as drystone, hand-glazed terracotta, waxed concrete and olive wood to create light and airy spaces that feel handcrafted but at the same time, contemporary: “We have reused a lot of materials found onsite, including stone, roof tiles and wooden beams, which we turned into walls, floors, lamps and tables. I have also discovered a new favourite material in the local marres stone. We used it a lot for the project, it’s a really nice material to work with.”
Menorca Experimental aims to capture the ‘spirit of an artist’s retreat’, so creativity and restoration are very much central to the agenda. Guests can try their hand at pottery or painting, take in the beautiful surroundings by bike or on horseback, or swim in the secluded cove a few minutes walk away from the hotel. Meanwhile, back at the finca there are plenty of ways to unwind, not least at the hotel’s bar and restaurant. Experimental group is known for its
innovative cocktails as well as its focus on seasonal, local ingredients – even more the case here, as much of the menu will be sourced from the estate’s own gardens. Surely enough to leave anyone inspired, artist or not.