B&B and Beyond: Can Planells, Ibiza - Forget beats, it's all about tweets
Birds are the soundtrack at the rural estate where the island's famous party scene feels a world away
Wednesday 26 March 2014
Greener, quieter and much less developed, northern Ibiza is a world away from the package resorts and epic nightclubs found elsewhere on the island. Here the pace is slower, the vibe more authentic; the tone set by birdsong, not beats. Scattered around this unspoilt hinterland is a number of agroturismos, or rural hotels, that are revitalising the countryside.
Can Planells is one such place. Situated on a sprawling estate owned by the same family for generations, it's been welcoming tourists since 2001, when economics forced the business to diversify. Labour costs were high and competition from cheap imports meant that farming was becoming unviable. Instead, the owner opened his home to guests and Agroturismo Can Planells was born.
Opening at the start of May for the summer season and fresh from a winter refurbishment, Can Planells is a peaceful retreat in the midst of Mediterranean countryside. There are shops and local restaurants in nearby Sant Miquel and a choice of coves and beaches just a little further on.
Can Planells occupies a traditional farmhouse, surrounded by fields and orchards. The house - swathed in bougainvillea - fronts on to a landscaped garden, with a swimming pool and sun-trap terrace off to one side. Lazy afternoons here are scented with orange blossom.
There are eight rooms in total: four good-sized doubles in the main house and four larger suites in the adjacent stable block. Each is simply furnished in a traditional, country style of whitewashed walls, exposed wood beams and wrought-iron bedsteads. The four doubles have porches, while the suites come with private, south-facing roof terraces affording distant views to Ibiza Town and the shimmering sea beyond.
A daybed at Nikki Beach club THE BREAKFAST
The notion of staying on a working farm comes into its own at breakfast. From just-laid eggs and home-made jams to tomatoes, oranges and avocados (plus other seasonal treats, from strawberries to sharon fruits), pretty much everything on the menu is grown at Can Planells. Anything that isn't produced on site, such as bacon, cheese and sobrasada (a Balearic blood sausage) is sourced from local farmers. Home-baked breads and croissants complete the plot-to-plate experience, with everything served on a leafy terrace, or inside the house should the weather demand.
As front-of-house, concierge and breakfast waiter, Joan Planells is a busy man. Always dressed in white, he flits effortlessly between Spanish, German and English to converse with guests in their native tongue. His passion, professionalism and endless charm serve the family business well; and it's very much a family affair, with Joan's mum in charge of catering while his father tends to the farm.
Can Planells is designed for relaxing, but there's more to do here than just laze by the pool. A four-strong fleet of mountain bikes is available for guests to borrow. Follow peaceful lanes to Santa Gertrudis for coffee or lunch in the square, then freewheel through a pastoral scenery of ochre soils, deep-green pines, white cube houses and the bluest of skies.
Port de San Miquel The nearest beach is at the resort of Port de Sant Miquel (about two miles away), but for something edgier, persevere along the coast road to Cala Benirrás - a glorious cove of vivid waters and pine-topped cliffs. Here you'll find a couple of decent chiringuitos (beach bars) and one of the best sunsets on the island, celebrated on Sundays with rhythmic drumming at the Fiesta de los Tambores.
Nowhere on the island is much more than a 20-minute drive away. For a change of tempo, head to the new Nikki Beach club in Santa Eulalia (00 34 619 753 710; nikkibeach.com/ibiza), which opens in mid-May after soft-launching last summer. This stylish beach club draws a party crowd on Fridays and Saturdays, but for the rest of the week it's much more mellow, with friendly service and an unpretentious vibe. There's no cover charge; just turn up for the restaurant, or rent a lounger (from €25/£21pp) and make a day of it. The restaurant is very good; expect seafood, sushi and excellent steaks. Enjoy it all with your feet in the sand and a sunshine soundtrack of laid-back beats. An à la carte lunch costs around €60/£50pp with wine.
Agroturismo Can Planells, Venda del Rubio 2, Sant Miquel, Ibiza, Spain (00 34 971 334 924; canplanells.com). Doubles start at €150 (£126) per night, including breakfast. Open May -October. James Litston flew to Ibiza with easyJet (0843 104 5000; easyJet.com), which has flights from eight UK airports from £24 one-way.
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