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Hacienda Na Xamena - A Vision that is always Evolving
By Jerry Brownstein
Just before you get to the beach at Puerto San Miguel, there is a sign to turn left for Na Xamena. This road gently winds its way upward through the forest, going ever higher until it suddenly reaches its climax: the Hacienda Na Xamena. Overlooking one of the most breathtaking views on Ibiza, this very special five star hotel first opened its doors 50 years ago, but its inspiration came from an even earlier era. It was originally designed, built and managed by Belgian architect Daniel Lipszyc, who had been a regular visitor to the island since 1954.
It is hard to imagine now, but for most of its history Ibiza had been an insular agrarian society. In the 1950’s – when the island was virtually unknown to the outside world – a small contingent of artistic Westerners found their way to this peaceful refuge. They were attracted to the stunning natural beauty, the low cost of living and the friendly local people. But perhaps the most important factor that brought them to this strange and wonderful island was the freedom to live and create in a beautiful place without the rules and boundaries of their home countries.
It was during this time that Daniel and his wife Ninie fell in love with that authentic and unspoilt version of Ibiza. By the 1960’s Daniel was inspired to create a special hotel that would reflect his experience of the island and its culture - the nature, the people and the freedom. He was looking for the perfect location, and an ibicenco friend said he knew of a place that might be right, so they went to see it. There were few roads in those days, so just getting down to Puerto San Miguel was an adventure. From there they hiked up the mountain, and at the top they were stunned. The panoramic view of the cliffs and the sea was (and still is) spectacular. Daniel was hooked, but this would not be an easy task.“Understated luxury in a spectacular natural setting”
The property was huge (150 hectares) and it would be very challenging to build in this area as there were no roads, water, electricity nor telephone lines. Daniel would have to create the entire infrastructure from scratch, but undaunted he did it all and eventually started construction in 1969. One part of the design was set in stone from the beginning – every room would face the sea so that all guests would be immersed in the power and beauty of that amazing view. In 1971 Daniel’s vision became a reality as the hotel opened its doors, and it immediately became a Mecca for travellers who wanted understated luxury in a breathtaking natural setting.
In 1995 Daniel’s son Alvar Lipszyc and his wife Sabine took over running the hotel. The original design had created a true Ibiza feeling that blended seamlessly with the surrounding nature. Alvar greatly enhanced that feeling by introducing many new aspects to the hotel over the years. One of the major additions was the Posidonia Botanic Spa which features Las Cascadas Suspendidas – a unique 45 minute hydrotherapy treatment. It is a labyrinth of eight different-shaped pools overlooking the sea and the cliffs. Each pool has a unique hydro-jet massage system, and as you move from one to the next your body is gently stimulated from head to toe.
On a more personal level, Alvar has a style of management that echoes the welcoming spirit of the ibicencos that he remembers from the many years that he visited Ibiza as a child. The Hacienda staff are treated as a family, and this creates an environment of gracious service that is warm, friendly and efficient. You feel this throughout the hotel, and it is a feeling that comes from the top down.
Alvar carries with him the traditional Ibiza ethos of harmony between the people and the natural environment. This is the essence of what makes the Hacienda special, and he now plans to take it to another level. Over the next five years he will create new experiences that will bring those feelings from Ibiza’s past into its future.
The first phase is already in progress and he calls it the Gestor Forestal – a vast fruit and vegetable garden that is farmed in the traditional ibicenco way. Guests of the hotel and visitors will have the opportunity to get acquainted with this aspect of Ibiza life, and can even do some work on the farm if they wish to really get into it.
This is another example of how the Hacienda has evolved over the years by enhancing its original vision. At the end of the day it is a place where one can truly feel the joys of being on Ibiza. As Alvar says, “It’s a pleasure to share the feeling that this magical place, Na Xamena, evokes; a combination of the spectacular views, the sunset, the setting. Quite simply, it all comes together and makes everyone feel wonderful.”