THE first decision to make as you stroll down the drive from the car park at Agroturismo Cas Gasi is which path to take to reception: the first follows a perfumed bank of roses, planted four rows deep; the other meanders beneath a floral arbour of wisteria and jasmine.
It’s springtime in the rural heart of Ibiza, a part of the island few tourists ever reach, and the air is heavy with the scent of orange blossom.
There’s nothing but wild countryside for miles around. Just an artfully-updated 19th century farmhouse set in its own little Garden of Eden, with orchards, grape vines and an organic kitchen garden thriving with cabbages, lettuces and leeks.
The grounds produce much of the fruit and veg for the hotel menus and 450 carefully clipped trees provide all the extra virgin olive oil the hotel needs – sustainable agritourism at its best.
With a view of rolling green hills that stretches to the 475-metre tip of Sa Talaia, Ibiza’s highest mountain, this pastoral vernacular is as far removed from the fleshpots of ‘San An’ as you could possibly imagine.
So when you hear that Pete Doherty mixed the ‘perfect’ Sex on the Beach cocktails in the bar, while fellow rocker Bryan Adams was also in house, you’re not sure if you heard right.
But just Google the place online and you’ll find a trawl of A-listers, who have allegedly stayed at the low key property, including Richard Gere and European royals, such as the King and Queen of Norway.
The key to this is privacy, being off limits to external visitors without a reservation and, of course, the peace and quiet. The price at 425 euros a night for a Deluxe Queen room also helps.
But what you get is a lot more than just amazing ambience.
The suites are particularly opulent, while the Ibizan Palaces, a pair of 165m2 villas secluded from the main hotel, list luxuries like ‘XXL beds’ with feather mattress toppers and imported damask sheets. They were also very chic inside.
My upgraded double room had similar bedding and was equally well-appointed with a giant bath, sitting area and stylish antique wooden furniture, as well as a superb balcony with views to relocate for.
There are four hectares of grounds to wander around, with floral walks starting right from your door. There’s also a fully-equipped gym and a yoga space. Oh, and a free Vinyasa flow class every morning at 8.30am, Namasté … if you get up in time!
But the real masterstroke for me is the impressive open-plan industrial kitchen, added last year with the intention of converting one of the suites into a fully-fledged restaurant.
Led by chef David Reartes, it focuses on home grown produce with some classy culinary twists, such as the farm chicken cannelloni, served in a rich truffle sauce, or the leek tatin, with almond praline, a visual masterpiece.
The timing for the restaurant’s opening is impeccable. Ibiza is finally seeing a real resurgence in the culinary stakes, gaining its first Michelin star this year.
Mirroring the natural style of the hotel, expect candles on every table, flowers and cool jazz – that’s if no pianist is on hand to tinkle the ivories on the showbizzy white grand piano.
I chatted to the Ibizencan sous chef, who is very aware of the island’s new foodie focus and believes ‘up to three or four’ restaurants could be vying for a star over the next year or two.
“There is a real buzz and with a cookery school set to open over the next few years the island could finally start competing with Mallorca,” he insisted.
When I suggest Cas Gasi could be one of them, owner Margaret shrugs, contending that she would be more than happy with one of the new ‘Estrella Verdes’ (Green Stars) for sustainable restaurants, introduced for this year’s guide.
Very much the life and soul of Cas Gasi, this inspirational chatelaine floats glamorously around the place with her water dog, Viz, padding faithfully by her side. She spends almost as much time nurturing the staff and gardeners as she does helping the guests.
Coming from noble European lineage, her family earned the Fleur-de-lys honour back in the 13th century for repelling the Moors in the Pyrenees (and there is also an intriguing connection to Marie Antoinette and a passport…) The heraldic emblem is the motif of the hotel.
But Margaret is anything but snobbish and her family are equally down to earth, with her husband lighting the fires and chauffeuring guests to and from the airport.
Their children regularly return for holidays to help out and enjoy their former home.
“There is almost nowhere else like this left on the island,” she tells me. “We are a genuine local family business that started 30 years ago and we’ve just kept growing organically ever since. I don’t like crowds and don’t go out much. This is my life until it’s no fun anymore.
“I guess I am a housewife who became a hotelier,” she adds jokingly.
Just as I am leaving (typically), Margaret tells me they are preparing for the arrival of a group of models and photographers for a shoot. “From all over Europe,” she explains. “The first time they have left their countries for a year.”
They will be in for a rare treat. It’s springtime in Ibiza, quite the best time to visit the island, and Cas Gasi really rocks it with those roses.
Visit the Cas Gasi website HERE
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