We speak to Victor Guach and Philip Gonda, the duo behind Ibiza agroturismo Atzaró about the inspiration behind the Hotel’s unique aesthetic
JC: Where are you originally from? What first drew you to Ibiza and why did you choose to settle here?
PG: I am Belgian by nationality but lived most of my life in central and South Africa as well as a little in the USA. I came to Ibiza 16 years ago because I spoke Spanish well enough and wanted to settle in Spain and on the Mediterranean. I met great friends in Africa from Ibiza and therefore decided to come and live in Ibiza. Needless to say, the island’s beauty and quality of life were also main factors in bringing me here.
JC: How have you each seen Ibiza change and evolve over this time?
PG: I personally can only speak of the changes in the past 16 years. The island has always been a beacon for people looking for the easygoing and relaxed life styles that the island embodies. The people of Ibiza have always been very open and relaxed towards visitors, which is why we all felt very accepted as soon as we set foot on the island. Ibiza was always seen as a rather unglamorous or jet setting place to visit but recently has become increasingly glamorous, international and wealthy. The island has so much to offer on all levels and now offers extremely high levels of quality.
JC: Victor, having been born on Ibiza, what would you say is your favourite childhood memory from the island?
VG: My childhood memories are all based on the simple life that we lived, Ibiza was all about the nature it was paradise, with the influence of the hippie culture of the 60s and 70s life was good .
JC: What are the origins of Atzaró? How did it all begin?
VG: Atzaró was originally a farm with 300 year old orange groves owned by my family for 5 generations. Philip and I decided to promote a new way to holiday by transforming the finca into a high quality Agroturismo, promoting the simple Ibithencan way of life in a natural setting, but with a 5 star hotel with gardens, restaurant and spa.
JC: One of the most striking elements of Atzaró is the synergy between the traditional Ibicenco architecture, and more Eastern influences. What inspired the aesthetic of the interiors, spa and gardens?
PG: Both Victor and myself have always travelled around the world (I once worked as a transport pilot). On our travels, we always sought to have Asia and Africa as our destinations. Atzaró has naturally absorbed these exotic influences which can be seen in its interiors and gardens. However the unique Ibizenco architecture remains very much present and is at the core of the resort.
JC: How and where do you source your materials and unique furnishings?
PG: We source our materials and decorations through our frequent trips to Asia and Africa. We have elements from many countries represented in the resort which mix very well with the Ibizenco style.
JC: Can you describe the ethos of Atzaró, and what makes this place so special and unique?
PG: Atzaró could be described as a voyage for the senses. It is hidden among 3000 orange trees as well as plenty of different aromatic Mediterranean plants (lavender, rosemary, thymes). Wide open spaces, many water features, organic vegetable gardens, Mediterranean and tropical gardens, several swimming pools and chill out places with several restaurants and bars make our little oasis unique, exciting and charming.
JC: Atzaró offers a number of bars and terraces set throughout the gardens. Can you tell us a little about the dining options? Are those not residing in the hotel welcome also?
PG: Everybody is welcome. During the day, we have several options: we have the spa restaurant and bar where one can eat light and healthy meals as well as great freshly squeezed organic juices.
In main finca building, we have the terrace restaurant and rose garden where we serve light and healthy food which is a little more elaborate with more formal service. Our final option is the main pool bar, where we serve lunchtime snacks such as hamburgers and sandwiches or food from the terrace restaurant served by the pool.
During summer evenings, we have the orange tree restaurant open al fresco in the Atzaró gardens, spread out amongst the water ponds and the orange trees. The focus is more on haute gastronomy, serving mouthwatering dishes and a selection of the best wine and champagne on the island.
JC: Atzaró is fast becoming known as the fashion and art hub on Ibiza, having already staged a number of acclaimed events. Are there plans to bring Ibiza to the forefront of the fashion world and expand this side of the Atzaró Group?
PG: Atzaró is the perfect set up for art and fashion; we have a 30 metre catwalk and beautiful spaces to showcase art. Originally, we aimed to support local art and fashion from Ibiza, yet we have ended up showcasing internationally renowned work such as Urban in Ibiza, now in its 6th year and for which we won “best event” in 2013.
Our fashion shows have also developed internationally, showing brands such as Browns in London, Religion, Felder Felder and Mango to name but a few and we will continue to host these amazing events throughout 2014 .
JC: In 2012, you developed and opened a new beach concept: “Atzaró Beach”. Can you tell us about this?
PG: We decided to go one step further in bringing the beach to Atzaró. Our clientele often spends the day at the beach and needed a place where the mood and ambience and quality of service remains similar to that of Atzaró. We want our clients to feel at home and have the same service that they expect when staying at the hotel. We have the restaurant on top of the hill overlooking the beautiful beach of Cala Nova where fresh and light dishes are served as well as the Chiringuito or Beach restaurant where one can eat with bare feet in the sand by the water’s edge. As with the hotel, the ambience is cool and relaxed, but with a high quality level of service.
JC: For the first time, from this season onwards, the hotel will remain open all year– what prompted this change?
PG: The island is slowly changing and more people are staying and visiting it year round. Many families living on the island and visitors are looking for open restaurants and small charming hotels to stay at. We believe that by staying open, we will have both a local clientele as well as winter tourists that will enjoy our new “Atzaró Winter” concept. It will have a very homey and easy going ambience as well as a Hippy chic style to it.
JC: Can you describe a typical Atzaró guest?
PG: Be it through the hotel, restaurants , or events such as weddings, culture and art expositions and festivals and famous events, Atzaró attracts people of all kind.
We welcome many people from the Island and visitors ranging from whole families to the rich and famous. Glamorous but easy going and very relaxed people, who are looking for a little oasis far away from the hustle and bustle of their usual lives (and the sometimes very strong energy that the island can have in the summer). The people whom usually like to stay with us come to experience a haven of peace but also be in touch with the many events and glamour of the island, which are never far away despite the tranquility of the area.
JC: Atzaró remains a tranquil oasis in the heart of Ibiza, is there ever a temptation to follow the growing trend of catering to a more hedonistic clientele, with a greater emphasis on partying onsite with big name DJs?
PG: We have hosted a great deal of renowned events at Atzaró. To name a few: the infamous Primavera Party in Spring, The Ibiza Film Festival, Urban Art at Ibiza, Vogue, Mango and many more without forgetting our weekly Fashion shows. We have also had the great privilege of having several top DJs play for us al fresco including Richie Hawtin, Sven Vath, Armin Van Buren and many others but in a more gentle and lighter style that is conducive to our laid back environment.
In the past we have also hosted a few great concerts done by these same DJs on a heavier note that were very popular with the crowd, but have since decided that it was not the concept we want to follow.
JC: Tell us about some of your favourite places on Ibiza and why?
PG: We are very lucky to have a boat at Atzaró for our clients and therefore take great advantage of this fact and head out to the most beautiful bays and hidden beaches that the island has to offer. We tend to go where it is calm and mostly empty in the north of the island with its majestic cliffs and stunning crystal clear waters. Ibiza has an amazing selection of the best the world has to offer from nature to restaurants, shows, nightclubs.
JC: What do you find most fulfilling – the creative, design phase, or seeing guests enjoy the final product when each project has come to fruition?
PG: I thoroughly enjoy all the steps in the creation and finishing of a Luxury house. We have done many of them and every one has given me great satisfaction. They have had great success in rentals and sales. Our guests return very often and many have become good friends. We create, build and decorate with great effort and passion as if the house was for ourselves.
JC: Can you describe an ideal buyer for one of your Ibiza Luxury Villas?
PG: Most of our buyers are people that have fallen in love with the island and its great quality of life, either to settle down or simply spend several months a year in our gentle and kind climate. Some people will also come to invest by buying houses or land with licenses to build. They eventually rent the houses out and sell which is a great formula and gives out a very reasonable ROI.
JC: What lifestyle advantages come with living on or owning property on Ibiza?
PG: The quality of life on the island is phenomenal. The island offers everything a family or a couple needs to live at a level that few places in the world have.
The proximity of most European capitals also allows many to live here whilst working abroad. We have great international schools and a great variety of excellent restaurants and cultural events throughout the year. Nature is also an asset that the island has that is beautiful.
JC: This year is the 10 year anniversary of Atzaró – what celebrations and projects do you have in store?
PG: We have planned many surprises for this year our 10th aniversary, including some amazing art exibitions, 10 fashion shows exclusive to Atzaró, charity events, a jewellery show, special parties, retreats with special therapies and healers, and a new sports programme in the spa. We have also created all new very healthy menus in of all our restaurants all to be announced very soon. The most exciting aspect of this year for us is we will be open all year and that means we shall have winter weddings, events and celebrate Christmas and New Year in Atzaró which is very exciting!
JC: In your opinion, what three words best describe the island?
PG: It would be hard to choose three words to describe such a lovely place. It would depend in what context you are and what one is looking for in life. For sure, Ibiza has so much to offer that it has most of what everyone is looking for.
Mine would be nature, simplicity, beauty and a place with a soul.