PER­FECT PEACE

Far from the madding crowds, Lucy Half­head dis­cov­ers the un­spoilt beauty of north­ern Ibiza at a se­cluded, cen­turies-old es­tate

Harper's Bazaar (UK) - - Escape -

Dawn was threat­en­ing to break as we made our way along the path, cloaked in dark­ness, blink­ing to keep our eyes open. Un­like most peo­ple who find them­selves awake at this hour on the is­land of Ibiza, my friends and I were not stum­bling out of a night­club but try­ing to find our villa af­ter a less than punc­tual flight. Fol­low­ing a smooth half-hour’s drive from the air­port, we were sud­denly glad to have a 4x4 for the bumpy, twist­ing dirt track we were met with as we turned off the main road. It was only the next morn­ing that our sur­round­ings came into fo­cus: a sprawl­ing pine-cov­ered val­ley, em­bel­lished with an­cient apri­cot groves and laven­der-lined paths, lead­ing down to a slither of sparkling sea.

The White Isle may have a for­mi­da­ble party rep­u­ta­tion, but head north and it’s a dif­fer­ent story. Away from the re­sorts, Ibiza re­tains the easy-go­ing charm that has drawn a free-spir­ited crowd of pain­ters, artists, beat­niks and hip­pies since the 1960s. Here, the Balearic is­land’s his­tory and cul­ture resur­face, and it re­turns to its be­guil­ing, un­hur­ried self. The coun­try­side is all red-hued earth, craggy hills, olive-trees and ar­che­typal flat-roofed houses, painted bright white, in­clud­ing our des­ti­na­tion, Finca 15 (so named as it was the 15th finca to be built in the area), a lovely, ram­bling res­i­dence that dates back 300 years. One of Scott Wil­liams’ ex­cep­tional Euro­pean prop­er­ties, it was re­vamped last year by an eco-ar­chi­tect and now of­fers el­e­gant ac­com­mo­da­tion for up to 10 guests, while re­tain­ing won­der­ful orig­i­nal beams and pol­ished stone floors.

Fur­nished with wooden beds, kalei­do­scopic cush­ions and quirky knick-knacks from around the globe, Finca 15 truly felt like a home, and was well stocked with en­ter­tain­ments such Scrabble, and plenty of glasses and bot­tle open­ers. De­spite its re­mote set­ting,

lux­u­ries in­cluded soft White Com­pany linen, a huge flat-screen TV and movie li­brary, and bath­rooms with mon­soon show­er­heads and un­der­floor heat­ing. And, although prob­a­bly de­signed with younger guests in mind, the gi­ant tram­po­line in the flower-filled gar­dens de­lighted our mil­len­nial gath­er­ing, as did a six-foot can­vas te­pee with work­ing elec­tric­ity and a dou­ble bed, ideal for ad­ven­tur­ous sleep­overs as well as a day­time den.

Our days took on a sim­ple rou­tine. In the morn­ing we would visit the lo­cal vil­lage of San Joan for a café con leche and buy car­tons of gaz­pa­cho, juicy grape­fruit and quiches from the bak­ery. Cen­tred around an 18th-cen­tury white­washed church, San

Joan is bliss­fully quiet, with hid­den gems such as the Giri Café, an or­ganic restau­rant serv­ing dishes with in­gre­di­ents from its veg­etable gar­den; a phar­macy sell­ing smart Dr Hauschka prod­ucts; and a splen­did ar­ti­san mar­ket on Sun­days with a great se­lec­tion of hand­made jew­ellery, leather­wear and can­dles.

Back at the villa, we ex­plored the grounds, which were filled with gi­ant palms, fig- and lemon-trees, mak­ing the most of the lat­ter’s boun­ti­ful fruit to gar­nish jugs of gin and tonic. Drink in hand, it was time to com­man­deer a sun­lounger for a daily dose of vi­ta­min D, our only com­pan­ions a me­nagerie of floats – in­clud­ing a flamingo and a swan – that would glide si­lently across the sur­face of the navy-blue in­fin­ity pool; the only sound the wind chimes nes­tled within the bougainvil­lea cloak­ing the old, limed walls of the house.

When it was par­tic­u­larly hu­mid we packed up the car with beach tow­els and books and set off in search of a sea breeze. Luck­ily, Finca 15 is a short drive away from some of Ibiza’s pret­ti­est beaches, such as the quiet coves of Cala d’en Serra and Xuclar, where we swam in the iri­des­cent topaz wa­ter and ate amaz­ing spaghetti with clams and sar­dines, sit­ting at wooden ta­bles with our feet in the pow­dery sand. While on this side of the is­land, it’s also worth spend­ing a lazy af­ter­noon at the se­cluded beach club Aiyanna, which has beau­ti­ful bo­hemian in­te­ri­ors and de­li­cious food – in­clud­ing chilled oc­to­pus and an in­cred­i­bly fresh and zingy tuna and mango salad – with not a boozy club­ber in sight.

We’d re­turn dozy from the beach with warm, salty skin and wavy hair, and gather to­gether on the villa’s vast day-bed, to en­joy the un­in­ter­rupted view across our king­dom. On hazy nights, as the sun sank into the wa­ter like a bur­nished coin, the pas­tel colours of dusk would swirl around us and pin­pricks of starlight would quickly ap­pear in the vel­vety black sky. No lasers and Day-Glo for us, and we wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

Finca 15, from £450 a per­son based on 10 shar­ing (£990 a per­son in peak sea­son), with Scott Wil­liams (01749 812721; www.scot­twilliams.co.uk).

Below, above left and op­po­site, left: Finca 15 £232 Dolce & Gab­bana

From a se­lec­tion Bucherer Evening bag, £13,845 Chanel £140 Heidi Klein

Finca 15. Left: Aiyanna beach club

£850 Her­mès £55 Aspinal of Lon­don

£520 Her­mès

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