Menorca is a rare gem in the Meditarranean — an island that has managed to preserve its verdant natural beauty and remain largely unspoiled by the high-rise tourism epidemic which has crept up on its neighbours. In 1993 it was declared a protected Unesco Biosphere Reserve, preserving its natural pastoral beauty and making it the perfect spot for a laid-back getaway.
Perfectly capturing this mellow rhythm is the newest addition to the island’s peppering of hotels, Villa Le Blanc – the latest property from the Spanish, family-owned global hotel brand Gran Meliá. Just steps from the sprawling Santo Tomás beach, the hotel not only reflects Menorca’s essence in its muted white aesthetic, but also in its environmental outlook: it is the brand’s first carbon neutral prototype, with sustainability at the forefront of its ethos.
Where is it?
Set on the Migjorn coast south of the island, a wooden walkway takes you straight from the hotel onto the charming Santo Tomás beach. Halfway between the capital Mahón and the historic Ciutadella, it is an idyllic spot to easily explore all that the island has to offer.
Walk a little further down the beach and you arrive at Son Bou, a resort on a wooded hillside which sweeps down to the longest beach on the island, edged by sand dunes for extra privacy. Villa Le Blanc is also within easy reach of Menorca airport – only 25 minutes by car.
Step foot into Villa Le Blanc and it feels like a restorative breath of fresh air. Open to the sea, the Mediterranean light floods through the hotel’s white stone arches as you enter, reflecting off the central pool. The minimalism and effortless beauty that characterises the hotel echoes the allure of the island itself – it’s quiet, understated and tranquil spirit.
Sustainability is at the helm of Villa Le Blanc. The hotel has incorporated state-of-the-art facilities to help improve its carbon footprint with the ultimate aim of carbon neutrality. Green energy management and waste management are the two pillars of this project, for example implementing biomass boilers and photovoltaic solar panels throughout the building.
Food & drink
A cocktail of iron-rich soil, small family farms, and the cleanest sea in the western Mediterranean provides Menorca with the perfect combination of stellar ingredients to enrich its local cuisine.
Villa Le Blanc’s iconic S’Amarador restaurant is uniquely Menorcan, and widely recognised as one of the best seafood restaurants on the island. Famous for a wine cellar with more than a hundred fine wines, the chefs at S’Amarador work with only the best local produce to prepare its delicious rice dishes and seafood bisques. With a terrace looking out over the sea, its particular focus on one of the culinary highlights of the Balearic Sea: the local lobster, which stars in the Caldereta de Langosta, Menorca’s signature dish.
In addition to S’Amarador, Menorcan restaurateur Joan Canals brings years of expertise to Villa Le Blanc with two more restaurants on the site. Nivi, the hotel’s more casual lunch and dinner restaurant, offers delicious paellas and magnificent grilled dishes, as well as lighter salad options for those sluggish days. For cocktails and a variety of fresh local food, be sure not to miss Cru, the hotel’s poolside restaurant.
Aside from the fine dining and Menorcan wines, Villa Le Blanc offers a vast range of activities to keep you occupied during your stay.
The hotel is centred around a beautiful outdoor pool, complete with poolside food and drink service from Cru bar. But where Villa Le Blanc really sets itself apart is its rooftop offering. Wind your way up the quintessential white staircase, and you’re greeted with an an exquisite oasis – a serene adult’s only pool overlooking the glittering Mediterranean. With design and furnishings reminiscent of a beach club in the golden years of the Balearic coast, it is the perfect place to watch Menorca’s famous golden sunsets.
For visitors looking to wind down with a wellness-focused stay, as well as its pools the hotel is home to a state-of-the-art spa thanks to Anne Semonin Paris, with treatments and experiences based on vegan cosmetics and natural products. There is also a state-of-the-art gym with a separate cardio room and a kids club to keep the little ones occupied while you get your sweat (or swim) on.
Many tourists visiting Menorca are happy to fall into the holiday rhythm of oscillating between the beach and the pool, but it would be remiss not to take advantage of all the island has to offer. For the more adventurous visitors, you can hire a boat — be it a self-propelled kayak or traditional Menorcan llaut which can be arranged by the hotel — to explore the less accessible beaches or watch the sunrise.
For those looking to get their culture fix, visiting Illa del Rei, a picturesque island in the magnificent bay of Mahón, is a must-do. Home to Hauser & Wirth, it is a new cultural hub for the island with art exhibitions, events and delicious cuisine all deeply rooted in the local community. Another option is Lithica in Ciutadella, a former limestone quarry artfully repurposed into an enchanting mixture of wild gardens, labyrinths and soaring rock faces.
You’re spoilt for choice for offsite dining options on the island, but Nonna Bazaar – a slow food, farm-to-table concept restaurant – and Coral – a traditional Menorcan restaurant with the perfect sunset spot – really stand out.
All rooms are equipped with quiet private seaview balconies and quality room service, the ideal place to embrace the sea breeze. The premium and supreme rooms are the perfect option for those looking for a luxury stay without having having to splash quite so much cash.
To those for whom money is no option, check into the the hotel’s luxurious swim up suite, with private access to the rooftop pool and secluded terrace overlooking the sea.
Room rates start at 450 euros for B&B in the Premium Room with terrace view in low season; visit melia.com