This Soccer Star Turned Hotelier Wants to Rent You His Ibiza Home This Summer

You don’t need to be bonkers to be a goalkeeper, but it surely helps. Placing one’s head in harm’s way of a rocketing projectile and swinging cleats for a living is risky enough; adding insult to potential injury, if your side loses, you’re usually the one who gets blamed.

Meet Bobby Dekeyser. In the 1980s, he was a fearless backup goalkeeper for Bayern Munich, then the toast of European football. At age 26, a catastrophic injury nearly cost him his left eye and brought his sporting career to a dramatic close. Thankfully, he remains 100 percent committed to crazy jobs: He’s now a high-end hotelier.

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Since opening Nay Palad Hideaway, his flagship barefoot paradise in the Philippines, in 2012, the resort has garnered a trophy cupboard to rival Bayern Munich’s. But his new opening may eventually surpass that: In June, Dekeyser will rent out his own home on Ibiza. This is his most personal project to date—and his most intriguing.

One of the property’s many communal spaces.
One of the property’s many communal spaces.

The six-bedroom Nay Palad Farm sits amid the dusty, coral-colored valleys and pine-studded hills of Ibiza’s northwest, 10 minutes from a rocky coastline that stubbornly refuses to be tamed by mass tourism. Its quirky villages include the sleepy Sant Mateu d’Albarca, a stroll from the villa, where Juntos House serves some of the island’s most sophisticated cuisine and the post office opens only between
1:00 and 1:30 p.m.

To truly appreciate this joyful mash-up, however, you need to know the man. Decades ago, before turning to the travel world, Dekeyser did something even more bonkers: He made deck chairs sexy, founding Dedon, the phenomenally successful, super-luxe outdoor-furniture company whose fans include Brad Pitt and the Pope. But he was never your average hard-nosed boss. He built factories with five-star leisure facilities and cajoled high-profile Hollywood customers to make surprise visits so that work would be fun.

The lush flower-pagoda dining area.
The lush flower-pagoda dining area.

His motivation has always been to encourage community. “I was never interested in furniture,” he admits. “It was just a way of bringing people together outdoors.” Nay Palad Farm takes this aspiration to the next level: Every gargantuan seat can comfortably hold six; every table can accommodate the whole gang; every corner is engineered for a gathering.

So what’s scarier, goalkeeping or hotel-keeping? “Hotels,” Dekeyser says, no hesitation. “But they’re also much more fun.”

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