Romantically known as the Jewel of the Mediterranean, and perhaps even more evocatively by the locals as the Blue Island, Menorca lies 150 miles South East of Barcelona at the northern point of the Balearic Islands.
Its remote location has meant that although the island is distinctly Spanish it has escaped the overcrowded beaches and high rise hotels found at so many of Spain’s mainland resorts and has retained a peaceful beauty. On Menorca you can still find white sandy beaches with few visitors even in the middle of August.
The island has been fought over from early Roman times by the Moors, the French, the Spanish and the British, creating a rich blend of diverse cultures which can clearly be seen in Menorca’s style, cuisine, language and architecture.
With its reputation for offering the discerning independent traveller high quality villa holidays with superb restaurants specialising in fresh seafood and Spanish Tapas, and all on an island only 25 miles long by 10 miles wide, no wonder it has earned the name the Jewel of the Mediterranean.
A unique holiday location only two hours away
So, having heard of this unique holiday location right under our noses – only two hours flying time from most regional UK airports – I decided to try out local company, Menorca Private Owners, run by Rodsley-based Paul and Jane Perera.
Amongst the usual proliferation of travel websites and bargain break specialists you find on the internet, Menorca Private Owners, set up by a group of villa owners, stands out. The website is easy to navigate and beautiful to look at and certainly stirred my imagination. It offered a range of gorgeous properties to suit all tastes and budgets, so I sent them an email to ask for a brochure.
The result was a nice surprise as soon afterwards I received a telephone call and found myself chatting to the company’s managing director, Paul Perera, who along with his wife, Jane, has owned a villa on the island for 20 years and has been travelling to the island since he was a youngster.
What I liked about this, especially in the current age of Indian call centres and automated telephone systems, was Paul’s refreshing and genuine approach to holiday advice. I was actually speaking to a real person who knew all the villas personally and had a huge knowledge of the island.
After asking a few questions about my ideal holiday Paul offered to include with the brochure a few personal recommendations from their selection of over 100 privately owned villas. Putting down the phone I realised my family preferences had been highlighted, our love of beaches and local restaurants and our desire for privacy and seclusion. As I eagerly awaited the post for the next few days I thought, could this be too good to be true?
What arrived definitely did not disappoint. As well as the brochure, I found their own detailed Menorca Guide which contained pages of information on the island, its history and, most importantly, some lovely restaurant and beach suggestions
Even at this stage it was obvious that this was more than just a business; these were people with a love of the island and a genuine wish to share their experience with holidaymakers. Started initially as a hobby the company has grown into a successful business offering over 100 privately owned second homes on the island.
Personal recommendations and invaluable advice
A few days later Jane called and I found myself able to discuss the couple of villas that I had short listed, including my concerns regarding my young family and, other important stuff such as what exactly was next door and was there a main road or airport close by.
Jane had personally visited all the villas in their brochure so her advice was first hand and invaluable.
It’s never possible to do that when booking over the internet and how often have I arrived somewhere only to be disappointed!
By the time we were discussing the Menorca Owners Wine list and the promise of free delivery, I was transported there, glass of wine in hand, watching the sun go down over the harbour in Cala Llonga, somewhere I would never have found without Jane’s personal advice.
So did the holiday live up to expectations…?
Our trip was seamless and efficient and our arrival not at all stressful as the airport was so quiet. We were met with a friendly welcome from the car hire company who had conveniently parked the car for us in the short stay car park right outside the terminal. One quick signature and we were away and I silently thanked Menorca Private Owners for their online Car Hire form, which had ensured all our paperwork was in order so we didn’t have to queue.
Directions to the villa were excellent so clearly written by a woman! When we arrived at our villa, the whole family immediately felt right at home. This was clearly a second home, obviously loved by its owners and there in the fridge was all my bulk shopping I had pre-ordered.
For the first time in a long time I felt I was really on holiday and, as I poured a gin and tonic and went to sit on the terrace there it was, just as I had imagined it all those months ago, the sun going down over the old town.
The Ultimate Family Destination
Menorca boasts amazing scenery – deep gorges, limestone cliffs, open fields of wild scented flowers and dense pine forests – and is as undeveloped and beautiful as nature intended.
Famous for its temperate climate, it’s not too hot with gentle winds cooling most of the summer heat. With its miles of deserted sandy coastline, friendly welcome, bustling harbours and fantastic fiestas, Menorca offers much more than just a beach holiday, making it the ultimate family destination.
On our last night we followed the guide to a restaurant recommended by Jane, for my husband’s special birthday evening. As we ate delicious local seafood, we raised our glasses of excellent Spanish wine to thank Menorca Private Owners for a wonderful holiday.
This family run business has proved so successful that Paul and Jane have hand picked an excellent team to continue their philosophy and who share their enthusiasm and love for the island . Whether you
want a traditional farmhouse or a modern villa, in a quiet village or just a minute from the beach, Menorca Private Owners are able to help.
Menorca is definitely a special place says Paul, and perhaps one of the most rewarding aspect of our business has been the relationship with our clients and that many of them have ended up buying their own holiday home on the island and now rent it out through Menorca Private Owners, which is an amazingly strong endorsement of both the magic of the island and the kind of holiday that you can expect with Menorca Private Owners.
To me it is no wonder at all that most of their regular clients book a year in advance to book their favourite villa. Their brochure says
“Our aim is to help you enjoy your holiday villa as if it were your second home and truly experience the Menorca we have found.”
We did and we will definitely return.