A San Juan state of mind

Set in the heart of San Juan, a peaceful village in the north of Ibiza where there’s little rush to do anything and days slip past in a sun-kissed haze, The Giri Residence is an intimate, five-suite luxury hotel that ushers in a state of blissed-out relaxation for all those who choose to spend their valuable holiday time there. A sanctuary where guests’ needs are anticipated before they’re even aware of them, it makes for a remarkable ambience and memorable stays – with many guests returning year on year.

A unique approach to hospitality – one that swirls around the hotel’s small size and highly intuitive staff – means The Giri Residence can bend and mould to the needs of all guests. In fact, such is the power of this hotel’s amenability that holidays are completely tailor-made according to the client’s taste. If guests arrive in search of total serenity, they’re left to their own devices (with the addition of a courteous nod or spot-on suggestion now and again), or if they come seeking that cosmopolitan buzz Ibiza is famous for, they’re equally indulged. At The Giri Residence, it’s your holiday, your way.

Such a refreshing approach has meant that in the decade The Giri Residence has been open, it’s welcomed a diverse range of clients through its rustic wooden doors. From couples on romantic getaways and families on summer holidays to businesspeople passing through for work and travellers with a penchant for luxury – every guest has their own story to tell. What’s worth noting here is that at The Giri Residence, the reason you’ve been drawn to Ibiza doesn’t matter – what’s important is that while you’re on the white isle, all of your wishes are met, and quite possibly exceeded. For couples, the team might propose spending time at the wonderfully deluxe spa, which can be reserved in its entirety.

Personal training or yoga sessions can also be arranged before spending the afternoon hopping in and out of the whirlpool, relaxing in side by side baths, and then embarking on an Ayurvedic massage ritual from the hotel’s personal therapist. Revived and refreshed, they can retire to their suite, a luxurious but pared-back space designed with requiescence in mind, or head straight to dinner, where The Giri Residence in-house chef rustles up fresh, delicious fare according to mood and delivers it anywhere you may like: in a candlelit cabana in the garden, on the upper terrace with views of the countryside, by the pool or even in your suite.

Families too, feel perfectly at home at The Giri Residence, particularly in The Bourgainville Suite which commands the hotel’s top floor and features ample amounts of space, an airy terrace and stunning views of the surrounding area. In those restless moments, when the kids won’t sit still (which means mum and dad simply can’t relax), The Giri Residence team can recommend a list of the closest, most beautiful family-friendly beaches and restaurants to explore. Tick them off one salty stop at a time, and eventually all that swimming in the Med and soaking up that sunshine results in a fuzzy state of happiness for all.

When you arrive back at the hotel, the chef can quickly prep the kids’ favourite meals so you can send them off to snooze-town, before enjoying your own dinner in peace. If it’s luxury travel you seek, you’ve come to the right place. It’s all about the finer details at The Giri Residence – from spa-like stone bathtubs to sink into (with REN skincare products, and a glass of champagne, naturally) after a long day at the beach and freshly pressed high quality cotton sheets to sink into afterwards, to high speed WiFi, Smart TVs and design details that wouldn’t look out of place in AD. At The Giri Residence, everyone is happy, whether it’s the kids watching cartoons in the mornings, health-conscious holidaymakers enjoying meals made to order or those who need a quiet place to make a conference call to the other side of the world at 3am.

Step outside into the tranquil tropical garden and a feeling of paradise awaits, thanks to private Balinese cabanas, a chill-out terrace with views of San Juan and of course, that heavenly pool. Outside, the charmingly authentic village of San Juan remains as chilled as it was in the 1960s, even when the rest of the island is running on a high summer buzz, and many of the island’s best beaches are within a ten-minute drive. The Giri Residence is conveniently located and yet secluded; traditional yet contemporary; high-end yet relaxed – the resulting combination is what makes the hotel so special. With just five suites, and a loyal base of returning clientele, summer reservations are in high demand so be sure to request your holiday dates soon to ensure you don’t miss out on experiencing the magic.

A love letter to San Juan

Set in the heart of the area are The Giri Café and The Giri Residence, two contemporary establishments that have been uniquely shaped by the spirit of San Juan and are now intrinsic to life in the village. It wasn’t always so, of course. San Juan existed – going about its daily business – without the Giri for decades. The structures of each property had former lives; the hotel, was a dilapidated, centuries-old building that once housed the local girls’ school, while the restaurant was two adjoining terrace houses, whose original owner still lives in the village to this day. Around 12 years ago however, there was a stirring in San Juan, as some foreigners came sniffing around these properties, initiating the start of a long-standing love affair…

In any small town, anywhere in the world, newcomers are eyed with a combination of suspicion, intrigue and genuine interest. San Juan is no different, and when the team behind The Giri brand appeared on the scene, the locals were wary. A little-known fact about the hotel and restaurant name is that it originated from the Spanish slang for foreigners: guiris. Rather than try and fight their newfound reputation, the new business owners simply rolled with it, respecting their roles in the village hierarchy. Plus, it made it easy for any early deliveries to be made, with a simple hand gesture pointing suppliers to the ‘the guiri hotel’. At the time of acquiring the land on which The Giri Residence now stands, most property developers in Ibiza were firmly focused on the south, where business was booming and tourists were flocking. Yet the team behind The Giri were captivated by the north of the island, feeling a strong connection with its sense of identity – an identity that was already so different from the rest of Ibiza. They were attracted by the raw, unspoilt rustic charm of the area; the overall tranquillity and feeling of space; the feeling of truly being away from it all. There was something special about San Juan…

As construction and development started – first on The Giri Residence, which opened in 2009 followed by The Giri Café in 2010 – life went on as normal in San Juan. The strong local characters, some of whom have spent their entire lives in the village, had their own livelihoods to maintain: farmers tended to their crops and animals, the fishmonger sold the best catch of the day to his loyal clientele, the pharmacist kept villagers healthy and the tobacconist not only kept people in cigarettes but also served up glasses of homemade Hierbas at the end of a long workday. Abuelos (grandparents) would get the grandkids dressed up and take the family out for a pre-dinner stroll in the village square and weekends revolve around the beautiful whitewashed church – be it a wedding, a mass, a funeral or a local festival, always celebrating life. Fast forward to 2017 and not a whole lot has changed in the village. The neighbouring farmer holds up traffic each evening, as he pulls his tractor to the side of the road as he dashes into the fishmonger to pick up supper for the family. Kids play football in the cobbled square until they’re called in for dinner, and families on their nightly walk are a common sight. Men sit in the Tabacs, smoking and sipping beer and Hierbas as they put the world to rights before heading home for the night and a group of elderly ladies converge on the lovely park bench beneath a giant tree to comment on life as it goes on around them.

As all of this unfolds like clockwork every day, The Giri contributes its own type of magic to the landscape and culture of San Juan. As their desire to respect the ethos of the location and preserve the heritage of each building became apparent to the locals, The Giri were soon enveloped into the San Juan fold. The connection between the two is a proud one; The Giri have proven their loyalty to San Juan and in turn, San Juan has grown fiercely loyal to The Giri – these days, you can’t have one without the other. In the restaurant, the fish comes directly from the fishmonger next door. Organic veggies are grown in their own backyard, or bought directly from the same farrner who holds up traffic in his tractor. The meat, where possible, comes from local farms and eggs, of course, are collected from happy hens running free in nearby fields. Nature is in abundance in San Juan, with rolling green hills everywhere you look, beautifully contrasting with pretty whitewashed houses and apartments on cobbled streets and in the surrounding forest.

Mornings in San Juan emerge like a clean slate. Everything is new again; clean, quiet and laidback. Breakfast is served in The Giri Café garden and it’s easy to feel connected with nature – flowers vibrantly burst forth from the earth and the air is sound-tracked only by pretty little birds tweeting in the treetops. The pace picks up to a buzz after midday, as the village slowly wakes from its slumber. The restaurant attracts a mix of locals, hotel guests, parents after the school run, those looking for a pre-beach fuel up and visiting foodies who know The Giri Café purely by reputation as a place who creates cuisine from the heart. Nature really turns on a spectacular display from about 7pm – sheep from the adjacent farm come to the fence and bleat, as if to announce cocktail hour. At the same time, the sun begins its descent behind the hills in a display of magical golden hues that later turn from pink, to purple and then a blanket of deep, deep blue peppered with twinkling stars. Dinner is a stylish alfresco affair, with an elegant ambience that still manages to fuse with the rustic charm of the village outside. As most diners leave The Giri Café, the view of the church beneath the glow of the moonlight is always a breathtaking sight – devoid of human traffic, just classic Mediterranean beauty.

One doesn’t need to spend much time in the village of San Juan to fall under its spell. Somewhat inexplicably this village has never fallen prey to commercialisation or over-development, becoming so much more than just another pit-stop on the tourist trail. While it does attract free-spirited expats who are looking to escape the trappings of city life, it is always a more alternative lifestyle they seek. There is an unspoken rule to respect local traditions and inhabitants – perhaps this is why as the island continues to evolve, San Juan remains, a micro-climate of Balearic authenticity. Much like the Ibiza of old times, the rich dine next to the less fortunate and no one bats an eyelid at celebrities in San Juan. There are more beat up old bombers than Range Rovers seen on the streets and free parking is in abundance. Superyachts and VIP parties are concepts best left to the south of the island; here, the pace of life is slow, steady and accepting. At the heart of it all, The Giri is found embracing and simultaneously enhancing all aspects of village life. Here in San Juan, truth, beauty, freedom and love abound…

A tale of two kitchens

When it comes to ‘best restaurant’ lists about Ibiza, The Giri Café is oft-referenced and highly regarded. The taste of authenticity, a true farm-to-table ethos and exceptional service are at the heart of the restaurant’s philosophy –as the hand-painted sign above the kitchen pass states, they firmly believe ‘cooking with love provides food for the soul.’ Now, in 2017, The Giri brand adds an additional culinary string to its bow, with the introduction of exclusive private dining experiences at their San Juan luxury boutique hotel, The Giri Residence. To those who have had the pleasure of spending their precious holiday time within the sanctuary of The Giri Residence, its in-house kitchen concept is nothing new. An insider’s secret perhaps. As a matter of fact, it’s been there longer than its famed, neighbouring sister restaurant, however until now, has been exclusively reserved for the use of the hotel’s guests. With only five suites in the hotel, the cuisine offering is ultra-personal; think only the best the seasonal, local and organic ingredients whipped into amazing bespoke meals to suit each individual diner’s tastes and dietary requirements.

Due to the hotel’s intimacy and discretion, the all-new private dining experience is limited to just a few tables per night throughout high season. Dine in ‘The Living Room’ at The Giri Residence – the elegant interior dining space or in a private Balinese hut on the pristinely manicured lawn by the swimming pool, nested next to a rustling wall of bamboo. The choice is yours, but chances are you’ll have the space to yourself, for the ultimate in romantic dinner dates or the most exclusive of small group dinners, with a maximum of six people per table. Meanwhile, the setting at The Giri Café is quite the opposite. As the sun sets, the place is illuminated softly and the buzz builds to a delightful crescendo while people from all walks of life flock to the famous eatery to try its signature cuisine, check out its stylish setting and be a part of the northern nightly culinary scene. People watching is all part of the process. Outside, beautiful rows of rustic wooden tables are lined up against walls of tall bamboo – just like the huts next door – that become part of the restaurant’s soundscape.

When it comes time to order, the sky really is the limit at The Giri Residence – head chef Carlos has a blackboard menu of specials written up, but this is merely a starting point. Getting to know his clientele, their likes and their dislikes, is all part of his job description – and then fusing his knowledge with the ingredients he has sourced that day to create the dinner of their dreams is the challenge. It is recommended to leave yourself in his highly skilled hands – yet if there is a specific desire you are craving on any given day, be sure to let him know prior to arrival and he will ensure it arrives on your plate. Over in The Giri Café, the a la carte menu has been lovingly honed over seven years of service. This is the only place where you can try signature dishes such as the avocado cheesecake (read more about its legendary status here), the scallop tartare (and more on that here) delicately eaten from a lime wedge or the elegant wakame salad. New seasonal dishes are added as ever-changing specials on a nightly basis, and with each new year, come new additions to the menu guaranteed to win hearts with every bite.

There is a reason The Giri Residence‘s legions of loyal fans return year on year, trusting chef Carlos to interpret their tastes – his intuition is so spot-on, it is like having your own personal chef who has worked with you for most of your life. After designing your perfect menu, Carlos cooks it with passion and delivers it to your table the very second it is ready: ultra-fresh, ready to impress. He will talk you through the flavours involved in each dish, should you wish to know more. If not, he is more than happy to allow you to sample for his approval. Within The Giri Café, the multi-staffed kitchen runs like a well-oiled machine, with everything being prepared ‘just so’, each and every time. There is a place for everything, and everything in its place. Every dish must be presented and garnished to The Giri high standards – delivered to your table by a slick, well-trained (but happy and smiling) team of professional waiters. Your glass is expertly topped up before you’ve realised you need it; your every whim is expertly catered to.

For those seeking an ultra-personalised experience, dining at The Giri Residence is like being in the home of an old, well-travelled and stylish friend – without the obligation to bring a great bottle of wine or your best banter! What was once a secret, is now open to the public – but with very limited availability, advance reservations are essential. This laidback yet luxurious experience will obviously appeal to VIPs and those seeking romance or discretion, there is another on-island group who may find it ultra-appealing: hard working locals. After all, when you’ve spent your entire week with clients, customers, students, suppliers or guests, sometimes you just want a wonderful night out in a cool restaurant minus the air kisses associated with some of the more social hotspots of the island. The Giri Residence gives you all the culinary satisfaction, minus the need to socialise or schmooze.

However, there are always those diners who thrive on the action. On seeing who is there to see and be seen. On socialising with friends, or spontaneously making new ones. On who is wearing what, who’s sitting with whom and what’s on the specials menu tonight. For these people, it’s all about dinner at The Giri Café. Both restaurants offer truly fantastic gourmet experiences and are must-tries for any foodie worth their Salinas salt. It’s the tale of two kitchens – all the more reason to visit The Giri my dears…

All about the feeling

Now entering its eighth season, the little hotel with a big heart exceeds every expectation. Making guests happy is what makes them tick, and drives them to innovate with every new season. Surprisingly, The Giri Residence  – extremely intimate with just five suites – is still one of the island’s best-kept secrets. As the hotel evolves on every level, there are no bells and whistles. No songs and dances. There is no ego. It is a quiet achiever. They simply let their guests feel the changes, upgrades and improvements via personal experiences.

Stepping out of the huge wooden doorway into the charming village of San Juan is the first fairytale moments you’ll experience at The Giri Residence, but it certainly won’t be the last.

Adding luxury and glamour to the heart of a rustic countryside village – a combination rarely found in Ibiza – style seeps out of every corner of this design hotel. But this aesthetic is merely a first impression. Authenticity is found beyond its beauty, starting with its magical location. The village of San Juan is the real Ibiza. In the heart of the countryside, it is off the beaten track, immersed in nature, yet the island’s contemporary offerings are easily reached within a 20-minute drive. The hotel, its home base and local community are intrinsically connected – San Juan is a big part of what makes The Giri Residence so special.

One of the elements that makes The Giri Residence unique in Ibiza is the highly intuitive service. The team (almost a one to one ratio with guests) are there when you need them, invisible when you don’t and above all, capable of creating exceptional holiday experiences. Staff are highly trained to ‘read’ guests in order to allow them to deliver the style of holiday they desire. The Giri Residence provides guests the space and freedom for guests to retreat in privacy, or the warmth and interaction for a more social stay – the choice is yours. The team also goes above and beyond the call of duty to arrange anything you need while exploring the island, or to experience within the hotel walls. The international guest list proves it resonates with people from all corners of the world – everyone is welcome here.

Intimate in size, yet grand in nature The Giri Residence offers the same high-end services as a luxury resort, with more flexibility and personalised attention.

Head chef Carlos has been at the helm of The Giri Residence kitchen for eight years and is on hand to personally curate meals for each guest, in addition to creative daily specials. Ultra laidback, Carlos subtly interacts with guests then sources organic produce from his own vegetable garden plus fresh local seafood and meats to create meals tailored your tastes and dietary requirements. Passion for his craft is evident in every dish. How and where you choose to dine at The Giri Residence is up to you. Take breakfast by the pool, lunch in the garden, dinner over candlelight in the dining room. On colder evenings, cosy up by the fire or on a hot summer night, snack on the open-air terrace or just kick back in your suite and order room service. For those nights when you want to step out in your finest, the hotel’s renowned sister restaurant The Giri Café is right next door, and you’ll never have to worry about finding taxis, or being a designated driver!

Step inside the luxurious in-house spa and relaxation is guaranteed. You’re in the best of hands, quite literally, with two therapists delivering an array of Ayurvedic treatments in addition to classic massage styles. Meanwhile, in the great outdoors, the dedicated yoga instructor offers one to one sessions in the morning sunlight, plus weekly drop-in classes while a personal trainer can put you through your paces surrounded by nature – be it in the campo, on the nearby beaches or onsite. Magazine-worthy interiors, spacious suites, spa-like bathrooms, lush green grounds and a sparkling swimming pool set the scene for your stay, but it is the little extras that make a holiday at The Giri Residence unforgettable. Guests may come to Ibiza with a list of ‘must-dos’ however once they’ve been enveloped into the Giri world, and really, truly relax, it can be easy to forget about previous expectations and just enjoy the moment. It’s all about that feeling…

The great October staycation

I’ve just arrived back at my desk from an amazing October staycation in Ibiza. At the end of every season, I always try to take a little time off to enjoy the island while the sun is still shining and all the best places remain open. To experience Ibiza like a holidaymaker rather than a resident is something I highly recommend to anyone who lives here. Leave your responsibilities at home – even if it’s just for two days – and ask your best pals to feed the cat while you switch off your phone, iPad, laptop and any form of access to social media and just get out there and enjoy our island. Although I must admit, when it rained for the majority of my pre-planned getaway in the north of the island, it wasn’t so easy to just ‘get out there’. Anything that would normally be open closed up shop early due to lack of customers (and excess water!) and things you might normally enjoy, such as beaches, walking trails or sunsets, become quite a chore when you’re sodden. While most readers of my blog know I love to wax lyrical about Ibiza in the rain, when I was put into the position of tourist on a rainy day this week, it felt like the shoe was on the other foot for a change. The one that stepped in a puddle.

But rather than let the rain put a dampener (sorry!) on my little escape, I simply chose to embrace it. So what if we weren’t watching sunsets or picking wildflowers in the countryside? After a long summer of working hard, playing harder and entertaining friends and family, perhaps the universe was trying to tell me it was time to cocoon (and I don’t mean Sven Väth style). And so I retreated into the cosy walls of my home-away-from-home for the holiday, The Giri Residence in San Juan, wrapped myself up in the white waffle robe and settled in. Oh – did I mention they have Netflix? I know, I know. Everyone has Netflix. You all have Netflix. My friends all have Netflix. My mum even has Netflix. My uncle’s cousin’s brother’s sister’s best friend’s dog has Netflix. But somehow (I don’t know, maybe I was busy enjoying Ibiza life or perhaps I was glued to my computer writing blogs and magazines and sleeping in between, whatever) Netflix kind of passed me by in the last couple of years. I DON’T HAVE NETFLIX. So the novelty of having ALL THE TV AND MOVIES IN THE WORLD at my fingertips suddenly made me pray for even more rain.

So where was I? Right, I had checked into The Giri Residence, wrapped myself up in the waffle robe, angled the TV out from the wall for the perfect viewing position and sunk back into the bed ready to catch up on all the TV and movies in the world and the next thing you know… it was 9pm! That big, plush comfy bed and those plump-yet-firm pillows and that super warm duvet were like a lullaby to me. I couldn’t keep my eyes open and slept harder than I’d slept all season. I may have even drooled a little on the crisp Egyptian cotton pillowcases (sorry housekeeping!) so deep was my sleep. There are some people who can’t bear to miss any waking hours of their holidays. You know, the ones who need to be up at the breakfast buffet the minute it opens and out the door to make the most of the daylight hours, then stay out until the last possible minute at night before doing it all over again. These people are doers. I am not a doer. So for me, having an unbroken six-hour siesta was my very definition of holiday heaven. And I still hadn’t even gone beyond the Netflix menu screen yet.

As the weather was still pretty grim (to the joy of my inner non-doer) when I looked outside (and boy is it cold up north already!), I opted to dine in the hotel’s in-house restaurant – which is basically a private chef who is on call to whip up almost anything you can dream of. I’d been thinking of Thai curry earlier that day (there’s a Thai restaurant in neighbouring Cala San Vicente I’d been hoping to try, but you know, rain) but when I found out I wouldn’t even need to de-robe to eat my dream dinner, well… it was obvious I was going to stay in for the night. “Would you like us to set a table in the dining room for you Miss W?” the lovely team enquired when I placed my order. Errr… actually, I’d prefer to eat from the comfort of my bed. Would that be a problem? Turns out, nothing is a problem at The Giri Residence and not only did they bring my meal to my room, they even lit the fireplace in my bedroom to make it even more cosy! After devouring an amazing homemade Penang curry while tucked into my bed, it was straight back to snoozetown for me. I swear, in the first 24 hours of my holiday, I slept for around 18 of them. After a serious 12-hour sleep session, I finally managed to get around to watching some TV (don’t worry, I won’t bore you with the details but how cool is Jessica Jones?), took a soak in the ridiculously deep spa-like tub (from which you can see the TV!) and contemplated actually getting out there in the world. The rain had stopped, some birds were tweeting and I did feel a little obliged to explore at least once – plus, that would mean housekeeping could plump up my pillows and build me a new fire!

Driving the mammoth distance of 14 minutes, I arrived at Los Enamorados – Ibiza’s newest boutique hotel, restaurant, bar and boutique (pictured above) in Portinatx, literally the end of the earth on this island – and fell in love at first sight. It was like stepping back in time to the 70s (my favourite era), all carpets and indoor plants and coloured glass and glossy green tiles and mismatched wicker furniture and coffee table books and macramé and candles and kitsch decor – oh my! And that view – wow. Perched straight over the sea, with the magical sunset unfolding before you very eyes, delicious cocktails and ceviche to die for. Wow. Worth getting out of bed for, that’s for sure (as long as it’s not raining). But Netflix and that amazing bed was calling, so by 8pm I was already asleep again before the urge to eat took me next door to The Giri Café (yes, I did get out of the robe for the occasion) for dinner, before retiring to that magical, cosy, wonderful amazing suite for the night. And – to cut what could potentially become a very long, boring and repetitive story short – so went the rest of my staycation. There wasn’t anymore sightseeing. There wasn’t any sunbathing. There were no massages or treatments. No hikes or sunsets. No socialising. No wild nights out. It wasn’t quite the staycation I’d been expecting, but it was a staycation that was the most relaxing experience I’ve had in years. So thank you universe (and The Giri Residence!), for turning on the waterworks. I couldn’t have enjoyed Ibiza any more!

The Giri is for everyone!

I want to let you in on a little secret. You know The Giri Residence? The beautiful high-end boutique hotel in San Juan, situated next door to The Giri Café? Well…while I’ve always been a huge fan of the restaurant, I’ve also always been kind of envious (oh ok, really jealous) of those lucky few clients (the hotel has just five rooms) who shimmy up the secret side corridor to the hotel before and after their meals.

But here’s the thing. You don’t need to be a hotel guest to experience The Giri service and hospitality (or as the owner’s call it, ‘The Giri Universe’)… a little secret I only recently discovered. You see, within the stylish San Juan hotel – nestled in the awesome purpose-built basement – is a heavenly five-star spa that is open to one and all.

All you need is a reservation for a spa treatment and you can be the one shimmying up that secret San Juan corridor in no time. Combine the experience with a meal at The Giri Café and you are living The Giri lifestyle like one of their most valued guests (although what I learnt when I tried this for myself is that at The Giri, all guests are created equal – but more on that later).

So let’s start from the beginning. I had heard, along my travels, that there was a new therapist joining The Giri Residence team, an experienced and passionate Ayurvedic practitioner who had shipped all her secret herbs, teas, concoctions and carefully blended cures all the way from India. And recently, after doing a lot of research and meeting a lot of inspiring wellness people while producing the White Ibiza Wellness Magazine, I became fascinated with Ayurveda – so meeting The Giri Spa therapist Ana Villanueva was high on my list of priorities!

PART ONE – THE AYURVEDIC AWAKENING (fast forward if you just want to read about the food!)

As I arrived at The GIri Residence, I was greeted with all smiles from the staff and Ana was waiting for me on the sunny terrace. As we entered the treatment room, I was intoxicated by the scents wafting through the air. Hello Ayurveda, it’s a pleasure to meet you.

Ana takes my pulse while burning sandalwood incense, asks me a few questions about my digestion (which made me start craving my upcoming lunch in The Giri Café), the way I sleep and some other personal things you probably don’t want to read about here, and tells me my primary constitution is ‘Vata’, with my second dosha ‘Pitta’. And yes, they are definitely out of whack, which is contributing to my stress levels, insomnia, stomach cramps, and much more. I won’t go into detail since it’s pretty much only interesting to me and those around me affected by my nood swings, but suffice to say, Ana is available for consultations to help you determine your own.

To begin rebalancing my doshas, Ana sits me in a chair, swathed in a red towel – the colour typically associated with Ayurveda – and begins to give me an Indian head massage. As the slick oil drips down my scalp, I start to wonder what I’ll look like later when I meet my boyfriend for lunch… but try to relax and get into the moment. Then it’s up onto the bed for an all-over massage with a custom blend of amazing scented oils designed specifically to suit my constitution.

I often find it difficult to relax during a massage – this is due to my Vata, Ana assures me – and just as I feel I am about to drift off, she asks me to turn over onto my back. Dammit, I think, it’s almost over. Boy was I wrong! The front massage, which included the stomach and face was one of the most relaxing experiences of my life (and to be honest I’d been a little scared I would feel uncomfortable). Absolutely no joint goes untouched, from head to toe, hands and feet, you feel as thought you are being healed holistically.

A lot of healing energy is going on while you’re up there on the table. Channeling energy from the universe, Ana infuses each treatment with Reiki, and she doesn’t stop until she feels she has really, truly, rebalanced you. This isn’t a quick holiday massage in exchange for a quick buck (that would be so un-Giri!), no siree. This is a deeply moving treatment… At the end, Ana uses Tibetan bowls to rebalance your chakras, something I had never experienced before and that amazed me as I felt the vibrations through to my bones.

Afterwards, we had a chat about some ways I can help maintain my balance – dietary tips, develop a routine and other valuable life tips – and I took a seat in the sunny spa courtyard to drink my Vata tea, a really delicious blend of herbs and spices that I should be drinking daily. Seriously, I felt amazing… I feel like Ayuveda just makes sense to me… after all, it is an ancient science. But don’t just take my word for it! Keep your eyes on White Ibiza in the coming weeks for a more in-depth interview with Ana Villanueva and a look at the Ayurvedic treatments on offer at The Giri Spa.


So there I was, soaking up the sun, in the lap of luxury – and I had the snap realisation that I was only halfway through my Giri experience! Hurrah!

I rinsed the oil from my hair and braided it (embracing my San Juan boho spirit) tightly, still enjoying the scent of the oils lingering on my skin and got dressed for my hot date next door. Saying goodbye to The Giri Residence was hard… one part of me just felt like booking a room and staying by the pool, but the other remembered just how good the food is next door. So off I shimmied down the corridor once again, and strolled into the restaurant hoping I was looking as good as I felt – I seriously felt like I could be glowing!

As I mentioned before, I am a big fan of The Giri Café. Passion for what they do is evident everywhere you look, from the homegrown veggie patch in the garden to the beautifully styled spaces, the lovingly created cocktails and the super amazing service. High-end cuisine in a laidback environment, with prices that are accessible to everyone… there’s no VIP. Everyone is a VIP. This is my kind of place.

Above all, this is my kind of food. Simple, yet delicious, playing on natural flavours and chock-full of goodness.  Beautifully presented and equally as tasty – honest cooking, made with love and served with a smile. This is The Giri Café way.

Post-treatment, I was starving… Ana had encouraged me to drink a lot of water (and I did, promise!), but I was also tempted by the lush Rosemary Bellini, a new house specialty, peach and cava blended with homemade rosemary sugar. A taste sensation! I could have easily scoffed about 4 of these, but I did keep in mind that I should try to maintain my Vata balance, so instead I sipped it like a lady until our starters arrived.

New for 2014 at The Giri Café is a ‘menu del dia’ – the Spanish tradition of a set price, set menu. There are two options: the chef’s appetiser, a main course and a drink for just 16€ or three courses plus a drink for 24€. Such amazing value for such a high quality restaurant… and even better news for those Ibiza residents who work all week and can’t make it all the way to San Juan for a lunchbreak… the menu is also on offer on the weekends (a rarity in Ibiza restaurants).

As tempting as the menu sounded, I am a bit of a creature of habit and have to have the exact same thing to start each and every time I visit The Giri Café. It’s just SO GOOD that I can’t bear the thought of missing out. The Giri head chef Xavi Domenech Moreno – who I have had the pleasure of interviewing on multiple occasions – has created the lushest homemade focaccia spread with creamy homemade tartar, mini-pickles and topped with silky salmon that is marinated in salt, sugar, citric juices and lemon zest. This is how good it is – I don’t normally like fish very much, and I cannot bear NOT to eat this dish on a regular basis! YUM.

Luckily for me, the other half of my tables ordered the scrumptious codfish croquettes, of which I also managed to snaffle a bite or two… YUM!

While the service is impeccable at The Giri Café, the attentive staff are also super friendly (stay tuned to White Ibiza in the coming weeks to read my article where you get to meet the entire team!) and you never feel like you are being rushed through courses or to continue… I feel like the queen of Ibiza right now, perched in my beautiful chair overlooking the countryside, über-relaxed and ruling over The Giri Universe.

And the mains are still to come! I, as always (there’s that creature of habit again) opt for the risotto. When the sous chef in a restaurant is nicknamed ‘the king of rice’, how could you not (and yes, it was as good as you could imagine)? And Ana had previously told me that to keep my Vata in check, I should eat warm, mushy foods. My dearest companion tucked into a lush looking steak tartar, and promised me it was better than any he had tried while living in France.

While the desserts sounded truly tempting, I had to pass. For now. But I know for sure I’ll be back… and next time, I think I’m going to splurge and book a room… because I want to shimmy down that corridor again!

But remember… it’s our little secret, OK?

Es Cubells project

Their talents are not only limited to commercial spaces however, as the couple also move around the globe in the winter months finding, living in and redeveloping properties in their ‘spare’ time between Ibiza seasons! 2012 was no exception, with the rapid renovation of this stunning four bedroom Es Cubells villa. Completed in a record seven months, the property is now officially on the market (for holiday rentals and also for sale) while Rosa and Lars search for their next challenge!

Its privileged position on the hill offers panoramic views across the Mediterranean, from the turquoise waters of Porroig and Cap d’es Falco all the way to Formentera – making for truly breathtaking sunrises – and also over the mountains, from the open plan living, kitchen and dining areas and the expansive terraces and pool area.

Using recycled wood hailing from Indonesia, the ambience created is a fusion of old and new, with a contrast of sleek and textured surfaces and rustic and modern furnishings with splashes of bright, happy colours courtesy of toys piled creatively around the home by daughters Alba and Nova.

Additional styling details come in the form of unique artworks by Danish photographer Pierre Winther, Morroccan lamps and décor, plus vintage-esque mirrors, spa-style bathrooms and Ibiza living statement pieces such as the large wooden dining table intricately carved in Timor, raw marble floors contrasted with minimalist white Eames chairs and classic Danish pendel lamps hailing from the ‘50s. Beautiful daughters not included!