Perceived wisdom might suggest that the Mediterranean has lost its charm and has become over-developed. Yet Menorca is evidence that this is far from the truth. This small Balearic island has actively protected its culture, traditions, environment, cuisine and way of life.
For this reason, visitors to Menorca enjoy a unique Mediterranean experience; one that is made all the more memorable with a stay at Torralbenc, the island’s chic, rural boutique hotel and winery, writes Andrew Forbes.
Menorca is quite unlike any other Mediterranean island I know. It has the picturesque coastal coves and aquamarine waters one might expect of the Balearics, yet the pastoral landscape, punctuated with drystone walls and farmsteads is more reminiscent of the Spanish peninsula.
The island has a rural charm that is compelling.
Torralbenc perfectly captures this special Menorcan spirit. The property, set in a 70-acre estate, is a traditional 19th century farmstead, that has been converted into a luxury rural hotel; offering the intimacy of a small hotel with the facilities of a refined, intimate resort.
There’s a gourmet restaurant; elegant spa; pool; gardens; and new for 2018, the opening of the boutique winery, a project that is the fruit of many years work.
Former farm buildings have been restored, enhanced and reimagined to create the hotel – each space is full of character.
Pathways lined with rosemary link the restaurant, the reception, spa (which uses products by Natura Bissé and SeaSkin), and the accommodation.
The pool area offers resort style glamour with the charm of a rural outlook towards the sea.
The accommodation is in small traditionally built cottages overlooking the countryside towards the Mediterranean.
Each room has a private terrace. One is immersed in tranquillity – there’s just the sound of fountains and birdsong, as the estate is surrounding wild flower meadows, olive groves and the vine yards.
Chef Luis Loza heads the team at the restaurant, open for breakfast for guests, and also for lunch & dinner for non-residents.
The Mediterranean cuisine can be pared with the estate’s own wines, as well as with wines from across the Balearics and beyond.
Capturing the flavours of ‘land, sea and fire’ the menu includes starters such as grilled local prawns; ‘lobster aguachile’; smoked sardine fillets and local beef carpaccio. Main dishes, from the charcoal grill, can include octopus with romesco sauce; roasted baby lamb shoulder and Iberian pork.
Torralbenc’s vineyards date back to 2008. Grape varieties planted on the estate include Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay Parellada to Malvasia, Monastrell, Syrah, and Merlot.
This significant investment in time and effort has now begun to pay dividends. Last year Torralbenc produced 21,000 bottles and this year 2018 the figures will increase to around 32,000. They hope to reach some 60,000 – 80,000 bottles in the coming years.
This small winery is open for guests to visit. Like the stylish winery hotels of California, US or the Western Cape of South Africa, Torralbenc guests can have a tour of the winery and private wine tasting.
One can meet the winemaker, César Palomino Guzmán, and taste the estate’s first vintages – white, rosé and red.
Torralbenc can arrange romantic picnics amongst the vineyards – celebrating local produce.
Little wonder Menorca is such a foodie island. For further inspiration read our Eat Do Sleep Menorca Guide here.
The front desk team at Torralbenc explained that they can create tailored experiences for guests; from boat excursions; snorkelling, scuba diving; horse-riding; as well as gourmet and wellness experiences.
This hotel has been included in our best hotels in Menorca guide.
Ctra. Maó – Cala’n Porter, Km.10, 07730 Alaior, Menorca
Tel: +34 971 377 211