Los Amigos, Sant Llorenç de Balàfia, Ibiza
A sprawling, California-inspired base at which to bond with best mates in the tranquil Ibizan countryside, but that’s only a short drive away from the cream of the island’s nightlife? We’ll take it.
12 July, 2022
On arrival at Los Amigos - following a 20-minute, air-conditioned, concierge-arranged transfer from the airport - we hear on the grapevine that our neighbour, somewhere yonder, amid an easy-on-the-eye landscape scattered with palms and almond trees, cacti, lavender and bougainvillea, is Radio 1 DJ Nick Grimshaw. Not that you'd know it. The villa has a long enough driveway that not even the occasional passing tractor or impromptu party thrown by Grimmy could disturb the calm of this beautifully appointed rural bolthole.
Close to the village of Sant Llorenç de Balàfia, in the White Isle's north-east, the single-storey property is a star of onefinestay's curated global portfolio of standout homes. Comfortably sleeping 12, it wouldn't look out of place in a well-irrigated Californian desert artists' colony - all pale concrete, floor-to-ceiling windows and daybed-studded terrace overlooking a kelly green lawn and 225sq m al fresco dining area complete with sublime swimming pool, outdoor kitchen, barbecue and beach club-esque hammock.
The verdant surrounds of Los Amigos, and its minimalist exterior.
While the grounds, with their football pitch and fully equipped gym, might make leaving the villa difficult, interiors are - be warned - going to make you want to rip up your own home and start again. Open-plan and in a soothing palette spanning oleander white to little-black-dress noir, the high-ceilinged, unfussy space welcomes with a tactile mashup of textures: fresh flowers, cool-underfoot flooring, wicker objets d'art, colourful books you actually want to pick up, lambswool throws, cotton cushions and a trio of coffee tables that resemble giant, glossy watermelon pips.
Talking of watermelon, there's plenty of that, ready sliced and ripe as it comes, in one of the kitchen's two pre-stocked fridges, along with giant bars of Milka chocolate, cheeses and charcuterie, while, in the other, there glistens a cocktail bar's worth of mixers, soft drinks, juices and wine: we keep circling back and opening the doors, greedy for - where to begin?
The villa's name - "The Friends" - is apt. This is a place that begs to be made the most of with good mates - epitomised by the giant black-and-white print on the living room wall of Keith Richards blowing smoke into Mick Jagger's mouth. Whether you want to restore and reset with your closest confidantes over Pilates by the pool or just put the private chef in charge of the barbie while you recover from the night before, this is a villa that promises to satisfy on every level.
Kudos to the impeccable eye of the villa's French owner: each of the six spacious ensuite bedrooms is a masterclass in balancing form and function, with the overall impression being one of contemporary minimalism softened by boho-chic accents: a Peruvian tasselled rug here, giant, raw-wood-framed mirror there.
That person in the group who packed 27 pairs of shoes but forgot sunscreen? Put them in the master bedroom, whose walk-in wardrobe is so big it will make them think they should've brought more. The room also benefits from a freestanding bathtub and indoor and outdoor showers.
One of six ensuite bedrooms in the villa, left, and a jaw-dropping bathroom layout.
Throughout, bathrooms are stocked with fluffy towels, quality robes and a generous array of full-sized Les Savonniers toiletries, of which the eucalyptus fragrance has become our go-to for life.
High-spec tech comes as standard, from the music system to the integrated USB ports, though some of it was so cutting-edge we felt a manual might have come in handy. We gave up on trying to figure out the remote for the bedroom blinds and slept with them open, safe in the knowledge that the only thing on the other side of those massive panes of glass was the cicadas.
What's for breakfast?
The "this is what villa living is all about" outdoor dining table, blessed by a backdrop of wildflower-strewn fields and the occasional butterfly flyover, is long enough to accommodate an airport hotel-sized breakfast buffet, and it's completely up to you what you put on it. We feasted on granola, yoghurt, warm pastries, a selection of breads, preserves, cherries, strawberries, figs, olives, cheeses and cold meats. Until it was almost lunchtime.
How about lunch and dinner?
A chef is available, on request, five hours a day, except Sundays. It's well worth having at least a few meals catered for your group, with talented locals being best placed to showcase the fishing and farming that are the bedrock of the island's rich culinary heritage. If you're putting in a dessert request, make it for greixonera - a ridiculously moreish traditional cake made with eggs, milk, cinnamon and lemon zest.
In the mood to explore? Throw on a beach cover-up and head to San José toes-in-the-sand hotspot Casa Jondal for some fabulous people-watching and rustic yet accomplished seafood dishes; NOBU, for an aperitif overlooking Talamanca Bay, before diving into all the sushi, sashimi and other hit numbers you can always depend on; or Radio ME Ibiza's divine rooftop bar for killer cocktails, dizzying bird's eye views of the Santa Eulalia coastline and a superlative Mediterranean-leaning menu.
Take a sneak peek inside Los Amigos...
Absolutely everything you could hope for, from fast WiFi to a home cinema. The biggest drawcard on this front, though, is the onefinestay concierge service, which takes all the admin faff out of your hands. We're talking hard-to-get restaurant bookings conjured up, powerboat cruises across to sister island Formentera booked, guided coastal hikes arranged and pretty much anything else your heart desires.
What are the eco-credentials like?
Nothing of particular note, but food prepared by the in-house chefs is always sourced locally and there's a no-wash-except-on-request laundry policy.
Good. There are no stairs, doorways are wide and your concierge is on hand to make sure any planned activities and outings are accessible, too.
Within a short walk I can find…
Lemon trees, olive groves and the odd egg-shaped rattan swing seat swaying in the shade of a tree. For anything else, you'll need a car. Did we mention the concierge service?
Things I should know…
You can swerve the fear of cancelled flights and arrive feeling fresh as a daisy by booking on one of Aero's 16-seater "semi-private" jets. The airline's London Farnborough to Ibiza route offers the kind of high style we thought had been left behind in the 70s, at a fixed one-way ticket price of £1,400.