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Menorca Experimental: Summer Is Just Getting Going at this Chic New Island Resort

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Menorca Experimental: Summer Is Just Getting Going at this Chic New Island Resort

August 28, 2019

For the many of us with late-August blues: summer has barely begun at Menorca Experimental, a resort designed by Remodelista favorite Dorothée Meilichzon that officially just debuted. Set on a former finca, or agricultural estate, on the Spanish island of Menorca, the appealingly low-key alternative to neighboring Mallorca and Ibiza, the hotel was created from a Palladian-style, cliff-top house and cluster of whitewashed farm villas.

All were reconceived by Meilichzon, who runs her own Paris design studio, Chzon, as a dream agroturismo retreat: the sort of place Picasso, Miró, and cronies would go to live it up in the sun. The results are both grand and playful—and filled with happiness-inducing details and earthy colors we want to apply at home. Join us for a tour.

Photography by Karel Balas, courtesy of Menorca Experimental.

The Hotel

Built for a military captain at the turn of the 19th century, the main structure sits amid groves of pine and juniper on nearly 75 acres overlooking the Mediterranean (the beach is a 10 minute walk down the hill). It’s now home to indoor and outdoor restaurants, a cocktail lounge, and 34 guest rooms.
Above: Built for a military captain at the turn of the 19th century, the main structure sits amid groves of pine and juniper on nearly 75 acres overlooking the Mediterranean (the beach is a 10 minute walk down the hill). It’s now home to indoor and outdoor restaurants, a cocktail lounge, and 34 guest rooms.

Menorca Experimental is the sixth hotel created by the Paris-based Experimental Group; Meilichzon is married to one of its three founders—they all met as students—and she herself, at 36, has seven top-to-bottom hotel designs to her credit (see Paris’s Hotel des Grands Boulevards and The Henrietta in London), plus a new Experimental Group property about to open in Venice.

In the lobby, Portuguese tiles line a dividing wall with a seating ensemble that includes Borge Mogensen Spanish Chairs and a concrete banquette that echoes the lines of the surrounding archways. Meilichzon put teams of local craftsmen to work on the custom furnishings.
Above: In the lobby, Portuguese tiles line a dividing wall with a seating ensemble that includes Borge Mogensen Spanish Chairs and a concrete banquette that echoes the lines of the surrounding archways. Meilichzon put teams of local craftsmen to work on the custom furnishings.

She also turned to makers around the world for accessories. The circular wood sconces, the Concentric 20″ and Concentric 15″,  are an American import: they’re by Allied Maker of Long Island, NY. (Read the workshop’s creation story here.)

Meilichzon says her use of archways, alcoves, and curves throughout was “inspired by the sunset on the sea.”
Above: Meilichzon says her use of archways, alcoves, and curves throughout was “inspired by the sunset on the sea.”
Menorca Experimental dining room, designed by Dorothee Meilichzon, Menorca, Spain. Karel Balas photo. Above: Bring friends: this communal table seats 20. Menorca Experimental dining room, designed by Dorothee Meilichzon, Menorca, Spain. Karel Balas photo.

Above: Most of the boldly patterned ceramic tableware is by Casa Cubista of Portugal.

For those who want to bring home a piece of the hotel, there’s an in-house shop. The straw hats, however, are not for sale—they’re for guests to borrow.
Above: For those who want to bring home a piece of the hotel, there’s an in-house shop. The straw hats, however, are not for sale—they’re for guests to borrow.

Admiring the rattan column? It’s the Medici Pedestal and Vase by Atelier Vime: see our post Rattan Revival from Provence. The faceted celadon tiles are from Portugal.

Guest rooms have modern-rustic paneled doors in Meilichzon’s bold riff on terra-cotta. Hooks whittled from twigs on the property hold accessories guests might want to use while exploring, including a Carrie Portable LED Lantern.
Above: Guest rooms have modern-rustic paneled doors in Meilichzon’s bold riff on terra-cotta. Hooks whittled from twigs on the property hold accessories guests might want to use while exploring, including a Carrie Portable LED Lantern.
Meilichzon is known for her inventive beds—and never repeats herself. At Menorca Experimental, she built altar-like concrete alcoves finished in white lime and inset with upholstered headrests in two shades of terra-cotta. The embroidered cotton bedspreads were made for the hotel by textile and ceramic studio LRNCE of Morocco. The herringbone floor is composed of terra-cotta.
Above: Meilichzon is known for her inventive beds—and never repeats herself. At Menorca Experimental, she built altar-like concrete alcoves finished in white lime and inset with upholstered headrests in two shades of terra-cotta. The embroidered cotton bedspreads were made for the hotel by textile and ceramic studio LRNCE of Morocco. The herringbone floor is composed of terra-cotta.
 “I wanted to do something very drawn with a lot of shapes but very simple shapes,” Meilichzon says of the headboards. This room has a microcement floor.
Above: “I wanted to do something very drawn with a lot of shapes but very simple shapes,” Meilichzon says of the headboards. This room has a microcement floor.
The headboards have built-in torchères and Fontini ceramic switches. The Yves Klein blue vases that can spotted throughout are by London ceramic artist Sophie Alda.
Above: The headboards have built-in torchères and Fontini ceramic switches. The Yves Klein blue vases that can spotted throughout are by London ceramic artist Sophie Alda.
The bathrooms are Meilichzon’s celebration of the local sunset over the sea. There was also another surprise inspiration: Ellsworth Kelly’s Austin, a stone building with colored glass windows at the Blanton Museum in Austin, Texas—”it’s a chapel of joy.”
Above: The bathrooms are Meilichzon’s celebration of the local sunset over the sea. There was also another surprise inspiration: Ellsworth Kelly’s Austin, a stone building with colored glass windows at the Blanton Museum in Austin, Texas—”it’s a chapel of joy.”
The painted arches are a clever way to introduce color without fully going to town. The sinks are made of local stone finished with a thin layer of concrete. French enameled tiles serve as a backsplash.
Above: The painted arches are a clever way to introduce color without fully going to town. The sinks are made of local stone finished with a thin layer of concrete. French enameled tiles serve as a backsplash.
A freestanding modern tub, the Evolve Bath 1850 from British company Claybrook, is set in its own niche. The two-toned floor is microcement.
Above: A freestanding modern tub, the Evolve Bath 1850 from British company Claybrook, is set in its own niche. The two-toned floor is microcement.
 A grand opening with pocket doors in another guest room.
Above: A grand opening with pocket doors in another guest room.

The Villas

There are nine private villas on the property, each with its own dipping pool.
Above: There are nine private villas on the property, each with its own dipping pool.
The villas were rebuilt from historic farm structures: “they’re inspired by traditional Menorcan architecture but with some twists,” says Meilichzon. The stepped stair walls were her idea—”they’re something you may have seen in Greece.”
Above: The villas were rebuilt from historic farm structures: “they’re inspired by traditional Menorcan architecture but with some twists,” says Meilichzon. The stepped stair walls were her idea—”they’re something you may have seen in Greece.”
Meilichzon used shades of green in the villas.
Above: Meilichzon used shades of green in the villas.
A peek inside a villa. (They were still being completed at the time of photography.)
Above: A peek inside a villa. (They were still being completed at the time of photography.)

The Surroundings

The original chapel on the property has been converted into guest quarters—but weddings here are also welcome.
Above: The original chapel on the property has been converted into guest quarters—but weddings here are also welcome.
Canopied mattresses for one and two surround the 26-meter pool.
Above: Canopied mattresses for one and two surround the 26-meter pool.
This way to Menorca Experimental.
Above: This way to Menorca Experimental.
The beaches on the island are all public. Go to Menorca Experimental for reservation details.
Above: The beaches on the island are all public. Go to Menorca Experimental for reservation details.

We’re longstanding fans of Quintana Partners, a design firm on Menorca. Here are some of their island projects:

Looking for a late-summer getaway? Consult our Design Travel archive for more ideas.

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