Can Talaias

near San Carlos (Sant Carles), Ibiza, Spain Book from Eur145

Reviewed by Emily Preece
A boho agriturismo high on a hill, with an easy vibe and an amazing ocean view - a slice of the secret Ibiza
Out riding one morning many years ago, comic actor Terry Thomas (much-loved bounder) stumbled upon a dilapidated finca at the top of a hill, surrounded by carob trees and blessed with an incomparable view. He and his family made it their home, and now it is a small, lovely, laid-back hotel, run by his youngest son. The main house was extended in Ibizan style, with thick walls and soft rounded edges, and a vast terrace to take in the sensational Mediterranean view. Gardens were added, greenhouses too, the main one devoted to succulents. Now bougainvillea, oleanders, umbrella pines and lush palms abound, and a peacock adds a touch of exotica.

Cushan and Laetitia, welcoming and charming, run the place in an easy, chilled style. Slip into the delicious little pool, pick a beer from the honesty bar, nod off in the shade of the olive tree: few places make you feel so totally at home. Warm polished-wood floors, cushioned arched windows, a piano in the corner, lanterns at night: all is stylish and understated. There are 8 bedrooms to choose from, some with their own terraces, all with gorgeous big beds and delightful, colourful bathrooms. The house feels remote (which is a joy) yet there are innumerable beaches and coves within a 10-minute drive - sandy, beautiful and uncrowded. If you want secret Ibiza, you’ll find it here.

Highs

  • Stylish, understated décor and a frisson of bohemia
  • The warm, personal service - we loved hearing Cushan's stories about Thomas family life
  • Good home-cooked meals using produce from their gardens
  • Close to some of the island's best beaches - Cala Mastella and Cala Llenya
  • Glamorous history - how often d’you get to swim in a pool that Vivien Leigh dipped her toes into?

Lows

  • Generally a 5-night minimum stay, although this can occasionally be waived; just ask
  • You need a car to get around (it’s a bit of a hike to the village for a change of scene, restaurant-wise) and there's a dusty winding track up to the house
  • Some rooms are quite dark, and room decor and sizes vary wildly
  • The continental breakfast is the same every day - but you can pay for variety
  • Unreliable WiFi and mobile reception in some bedrooms

Best time to go

The most popular time to go to Ibiza is during the summer months, when the sun is shining. Hotels book up months in advance from May to September, so if you plan to come then, make your plans early. However, there are definite advantages to visiting in the off-season months (March, April, October) when things are quieter. In autumn the island is beautifully green and the days often warm enough to go to the beach; in March, the almond trees are all in blossom and the countryside is stunning.

Our top tips

Stay at least a week so you can drive around the rest of the island and really unwind. You'd be wise to bring a few books or a Kindle as this is the sort of place where you’ll want to spend whole afternoons sitting on the terrace reading.

Great for...

Beach
Family
Great Outdoors
Honeymoon
Wedding
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 8
  • Breakfast + snack lunches + dinners on request
  • All ages welcome
  • Closed: 1 Nov 2015 - 31 Mar 2016
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
  • Bicycles Available
Room:

Rooms

Bedrooms are painted in cream, ochre, burnt orange and terracotta, and come with country antiques - a gilt-framed mirror, a white wicker chair, a Moroccan sofa. Curtains - wild silk, white muslin, striped cotton - draw across simple, elegant, wrought-iron poles. Big beds are dressed in white, and pillows are huge.

Bathrooms are simple and understated, with lovely old terracotta floors or big pale-stone slabs, deep baths or drenching showers, and colour-washed walls in pale biscuit, light aqua or deep ruby.

The Terry Thomas Suite is amazing, spacious and sublime, with a kingsize wicker bed and windows for the view (rumour has it, the best view in Ibiza is from the bathroom!). Tiling in the bathroom is exquisite and there's a vast terrace overlooking the sea, so sink onto a wooden lounger, kick off your Diana Rigg kitten mules (she stayed here) and sip your martini. Glamorous is the word.

If you come with kids, choose the Girasol Suite, a big circular tower room with a ceiling rose shaped like a sunflower and a bunk room adjoining. Alternatively, the Superior with Lounge has space for extra beds.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Internet access
  • Internet access
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • Tv
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet

Eating

You'll probably eat out on the terrace, in the shade of an olive tree, looking over woodland and the distant sea. Continental breakfast is included in the price and served from 8.30am until noon - a basket of croissants and breads, a juicy fruit salad with yoghurt and honey, marmalades, jams and orange juice. If you’d like to pay for something more fancy you can ask for eggs, bacon and other cooked options.

Snacks are available all through the day: chicken and feta salad; goat’s cheese and rustic bread; a mushroom omelette; pasta with tomatoes, garlic and basil. Or a tasty selection of tapas including excellent bruschetta. Cushan and Laetitia love cooking and their food is simple and good. The produce comes fresh from the market or local farms, the herbs and vegetables are from the garden, the eggs are from their hens.

If you fancy going out to lunch or dinner, you can walk to the village of San Carlos - 25 minutes down… only for the hearty on the way back up! There are some great restaurants within a 10-minute drive and Laetitia can advise - just remember there’s a steep, dusty track on the way home.

If you'd prefer to stay put, have dinner on the terrace accompanied by candlelight, lanterns and soft music - seriously romantic. You order in advance: thai curry, chicken with lemon, coriander and couscous. We loved our orange salad then pasta with homemade pesto, and the apple crumble was delicious.. Drinks are from the outdoor honesty bar and the wines are Spanish, apart from a French rosé.

Features include:

  • All-day snacks
  • Bar
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Organic produce
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Take a beer from the rustic honesty bar and loll by the gorgeous pool in which Laurence Olivier and Vivien once swam (Terry Thomas's 60s parties were legendary)
  • While away the afternoon at Anita’s Bar in San Carlos (a hop in the car, or a hike down). Spanish lager or homemade hierbas? This is the real Ibiza! The tapas is authentic, too, and tasty. San Carlos is where the hippies used to go and it’s great for people-watching in the sun. The hippy market remains, on Saturdays
  • Cushan and Laetitia are a fount of local knowledge and can sort you out with bikes, horses or anything else you might want to ride. Shake off your city stress and hike through the valleys or ride in the hills
  • Local beaches? They’re sandy and secluded, and, on the whole, uncrowded except in July and August - and definitely much quieter than the southern beaches. Cala Mastella has woodlands on either side while Cala Llenya is a little cove, perfect for kids (as is Cala Nova); both are a 5-minute drive. Benirras on the northwest coast has black sands and impromptu drumming sessions at sunset; Cala Salada (on the west coast) has turquoise waters and is good for snorkelling. For nudists (non-nudists also welcome) Aguas Blancas is the one
  • Eivissa (Catalan for Ibiza) is the island’s most beautiful town, all cobbled streets and bustling cafes, with the ‘high town’ (Dalt Villa) perched on top of the hill. As darkness falls, the marina area down below fizzes with clubs and bars - often open until dawn
  • In the heart of the island is the boho-chic village of Santa Gertrudis, at its peaceful best in winter: try Bar Costa for jamon serrano, manchego cheese and log fires. Around the whitewashed main square are galleries, shops, restaurants and bars, and the international bookshop, Libro Azul
  • Come evening, play a tune on Can Talaias' piano, pick a book from the sitting room’s (artistically tumbled) display, or nod off on a leather sofa as logs smoulder in the ancient fireplace

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cycling
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Horse-riding
  • Nightlife
  • Sailing
  • Scuba diving
  • Shopping / markets
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming
  • Well being
  • Windsurfing
  • Yoga

Kids

Children are welcome and will love the pretty pool and playing in the gardens. However, the majority of guests are couples seeking peace, so you might feel self-conscious if your kids are lively. A baby cot is free of charge or you can pay a supplement for an extra bed in some room types.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

The Girasol Suite is perfect for a family of 4 - a big circular tower room with a ceiling rose shaped like a sunflower and a bunk room adjoining. Alternatively the Superior with Lounge has space for 1-2 rollaway beds in its lounge, although 2 might be a bit of a squeeze.

Babysitting:

On request.

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

9/
Rooms
9/
Food
10/
Service
10/
Value
9/
Overall

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