Spiritual Retreats in Ibiza
Yoga Rosa & Legado Ibiza Finca
By Cindy Bingley-Pullin & Wendy Tee
Supersized yachts, celebrity DJs, glitzy beach clubs, and overpriced sushi with cocktails. Ibiza, Spain is a destination world-renowned for wild parties and excess, but there is also a milder and more intriguing side to this Balearic island that travelers have long been drawn to.
With a history dating back centuries, Ibiza has captured the attention of the Phoenicians, Romans, Arabs, Spaniards, and even pirates. More recently, bohemians started migrating here in the 1960s. They created a richly diverse culture and a free-spirited charm that continues to captivate many travelers today.
Part of the mystique is attributable to Es Vedrà, an uninhabited rocky island off the southwest coast of Ibiza, that is shrouded in myths and legends aplenty. Es Vedra is the fabled home of the sirens who tried to lure Odysseus from his ship in Homer’s classic story The Odyssey. It is also considered to be a holy island associated with Tanit, the Ibizan patron goddess of fertility, the gateway to the lost city of Atlantis, and even a secret UFO base. There are also claims that Es Vedrà is one of the most magnetic points on Earth, like the Bermuda Triangle. Whilst unproven, all of these myths and legends only enhance the mysterious allure of Ibiza.
It is away from the tourist hubs of Playa d’en Bossa and Sant Antoni, where my sister and I discover two boutique boltholes, where we can escape and hide. The charming founders of each resort are creating hospitality experiences. The retreat focuses on solitude and spiritual healing, and the hotel emphasizes design and reinvention. Both equally showcase creativity, local authenticity and flair, while capturing the essence and magic of Ibiza.
Yoga Rosa is a health retreat that receives glowing reviews for its restorative programs. The retreat’s roots are anchored in the phenomenal story of its founder Rosa Klein’s journey of full recovery after a horrendous car accident. Rosa’s near-death experience led her to devote time in an ashram in India. While there, she was under the tutelage of a yogi guru who inspired her to establish Yoga Rosa on a rural four-acre plot. The retreat sits amidst pine forests on the northeast side of Ibiza.
The accommodation is cozily rustic, as is the traditional Ibizan house style. The exteriors are made of stone slab walls and weathered wood. The interiors showcase terracotta tiles, exposed ceiling beams, organic bed linen. The eclectic display of artwork is from Rosa’s own private collection which she gathered from years of travel and her background in fashion and interior design. Every element is strategically placed with a purpose in the guest rooms. “The art in the sitting area is meant to make you think, and the art in the bedroom is meant to help you go to sleep,” she confides.
Mornings are welcomed by the sounds of nature, like the cock-a-doodle-do of a rooster, the melodious chirping of birds, and the hum of bees flitting around gardens lush with flowering bushes, lime trees, and tumbling vines of bougainvillaea.
A menagerie of dogs, cats and a pet pig, freely roam the grounds which contain two pools that are surrounded by sun loungers, swinging hammocks, and day beds perfect for dozing off. There is also an outdoor pavilion for daily yoga and meditation sessions twice a day. The 90-minute yoga session, led by Rosa, gently ironed out the kinks in my jet-lagged limbs, and the Bioresonanz electromagnetic healing therapy left me feeling more at peace.
Yoga Rosa serves innovative and delicious vegan meals presented around an alfresco communal table. During our visit, the retreat was completely filled with interesting female guests who shared their stories about their holiday stay, as well as their lives back home.
Outside, mounds of rocks are stained in shades of pink that range from blush to lurid. The curious rocks miraculously stack on top of each other without the aid of any substance to prevent them from toppling over. The mounds line the driveway and are dotted around the property. “These rocks represent the inner balance of the body,” Rosa reveals.
When asked why she chose Ibiza as the location for her yoga retreat, Rosa pinpoints this to the energy of the place. “The island has a feminine energy and a female goddess, Tanit,” she explains. “Ibiza has light and dark and a similar energy to India”. “There’s lots of light, and there’s also lots of darkness,” she says referring to the serenity and sunshine of the surroundings, and alluding to the drugs and seedy side of the island’s nightlife. “But fortunately, many people are here for the light, more and more.”
Rosa goes on to explain that the spirit of Ibiza is due to its history, and the mythical magic stone in the middle of the sea that refers to Es Vedrà. Rosa claims you can feel its energy and she is inspired by how the island just draws and accepts people, including herself. “When I’ve been away a long time and I come back here, it’s like I leave everything else behind and when I arrive,” she marvels. “It’s my connection with the island.”
Andi Lackner and Andreas Oberkanins, are the two Austrian expats behind the newly opened Legado Ibiza Finca Hotel, located on the quieter east coast of Ibiza. The hotel is an ex-agriculture estate (finca) the owners have converted into a hip bed & breakfast-style lodging that retains its rural origins.
The boutique hotel’s rustic elements include thatched roofs, thick walls and pebbled terraces amidst verdant greenery. They blend seamlessly with the modern necessities of wifi, air-conditioning and an Instagram worthy outdoor pool. Andi’s creative eye also sourced handmade fabrics, custom wallpaper, and designer glassware that adds a stylish touch.
“The hotel is always almost done,” jokes Andi Lackner, his eyes twinkling. “There’s so much inspiration around here from nature! The place should grow and we also have to grow in the place.”
With currently seven guest rooms available and four more to come, Legado Ibiza Finca is an intimate and discreet labour of love for the owners. They are heavily involved in the day to day running of the hotel. “We wanted to do a place that is us, and invite people into our home. That’s why there’s a lot of our stuff, a lot of ourselves, around from our former lives,” he says, acknowledging the artwork, furniture and homewares that decorate the hotel.
When we remark that it was very generous in spirit to share one’s things, he thoughtfully replies, “If you have things you like and you don’t share them, then they are not precious. Everything that is shared gets much more value.”
However, Legado Ibiza Finca is not just an inclusive expression of their personalities. The partners are also on a mission to revive the original spirit of the finca. The word legado, Andreas explains, means heritage or legacy in Spanish. “The main farmhouse was built in the 18th century and still belongs to the same family,” he divulges. “It’s the heritage of the island, and the heritage of the building that we want to bring back here.”
Design and restoration aside, what is a better way to recover heritage than through food? The local organic produce features heavily on the restaurant’s menu, and even the eggs are sourced from the hotel’s very own chickens. Andreas mans the kitchen and whilst the current menu serves only breakfast and bar snacks, the guys plan to start a dinner service before the year’s end.
Legado Finca’s Dinner for Friends concept expands on Andreas’ love for cooking and entertaining and will involve a convivial small gathering of guests over a communal table overflowing with shared platters. Andi enthused, “The plates will be so full that there won’t be any space for you to put your mobile phone! We want to give a homely feeling for our guests to have a good time and get to know each other. This doesn’t happen often enough in real life.”
Ibiza is a place that brings people together, they insist. Whilst that may be true, I suspect that in the case of both Yoga Rosa and Legado Ibiza Finca Hotel, it is also the owners’ presence that makes each abode special. Spending time at both retreats has done wonders to soothe our souls and left us with a longing to return. Is it because of Ibiza’s legendary magic, perhaps?
Cindy Bingley-Pullin and Wendy Tee are twin sisters with a passion for art & culture. Cindy is an Australian based travel writer and Wendy is a London based art director. At times, they meet in the middle to explore parts unknown.
Photos & Collages © Wendy Tee, Yoga Rosa, Legado Ibiza Finca Hotel, Marc De Groot.