Most often, it’s the ritzy and crowded beaches of Mallorca, Ibiza, and Formentera that lure visitors to the Balearic Islands. Less well known than her neighbors in this archipelago just off eastern Spain is hushed and bucolic Menorca, a location that invites communing with nature. One such place to revel in this solitude is the hilltop Es Bec D’Aguila, a revamped 19th-century finca originally built by a wealthy merchant family as a weekend pad for hunting and entertaining.
Current owners Benedicta Linares and Benoit Pellegrini live in London with their three children, but for two weeks a year they all hole up at the finca, relaxing and taking in the beauty of the island where Linares grew up. When they are back in England, the sprawling Es Bec D’Aguila (Eagle’s Beak) is available for rental, buoyed by hotel-style perks like a private chef and concierge who orchestrates massages and pottery workshops.
When the family decided to open the home up to visitors when they were away, they chose Paris- and Lyon-based architects Atelier du Pont to handle the renovations. The firm ensured that the three-story, 11-bedroom estate would feel both welcoming and upscale. "When they bought the house, the building was quite massive with no light inside. The space’s partitions were useless and the garden was like a jungle," recalls Anne-Cécile Comar, architect and founding partner at Atelier du Pont.
Like most refurbishments, this project also yielded nice surprises: "We first thought the garden was just a mess of bad plants," she adds, but after a thorough cleaning, her team discovered it was actually quite beautiful. Now it’s a lush backdrop for the swimming pool, fountain, outdoor kitchen, and stone-surrounded daybeds, a set-up akin to a boutique Mediterranean resort.
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The wild, local landscape influenced Atelier du Pont’s design, and it can be admired throughout the finca, most notably from the swinging hammocks, the multiple terraces, and the yoga studio and deck overlooking the olive trees.
Menorca’s architectural heritage was another source of inspiration, leading Comar to create open spaces on each floor, add bathrooms to bedrooms, and magnify natural light and the pastoral environs through large windows. Gorgeous vaulted arches and hand-made Cuban tiles found in the finca were either restored or tailor-made, juxtaposed with contemporary Spanish furniture, as well as pieces from England, France, and Denmark. Patterned headboards, some of them rounded, some of them ribbed like accordions with built-in nooks, are among Atelier du Pont’s own designs.
White-washed walls greet visitors at the entry, giving way to a spectrum of colors spanning salmon pink, deep blue-green, and royal blue, delineated by pockets of intimacy. Conversations transpire in front of the fireplace, for instance, and meals are shared at the long communal table. In the living room, reminiscent of an English club, cocktails are made at the green marble bar. Artwork and handicrafts instill the finca with coziness and art-gallery flair.
By working with local craftsmen, Atelier du Pont honored local materials like dry stone walls, marès stone, and white and colored lime. These, says Comar, reflect "the color, the feeling" of Menorca. "The island is small and protected and the spirit there is still authentic. We wanted Es Bec d’Aguila to fit the place. It really feels like home but it also has this strong historical atmosphere."
Pointing to the organic vegetable garden, the honey made on-site, and the hens laying fresh eggs, Comar notes that the getaway is "much more than a fully serviced rental; it’s a real rural retreat connected to the land."
Get in touch with Es Bec D'Aguila to book your stay.
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