Menorca: Inspired Outdoor Living

Fernando Alcolea & Victoria Krauss’s home. Photo by Doug Young

As Spring in the Hamptons and the North Fork entices us to spend as much time outside, looking for design and lifestyle inspiration from the allure of Mediterranean living is easy. Blending outdoor-in living can create a magical atmosphere for an afternoon lunch or evening gathering, something the Balearic Island of Menorca naturally embraces.

Fernando Alcolea & Victoria Krauss’s home. Photo by Doug Young

Located 130 miles off the coast of Spain, this laid-back, small island in the Mediterranean Sea offers unsurpassed beauty with its rocky coves, turquoise waters, white-sand beaches, and rolling valleys. Known as the “Island of Calm,” Menorca’s rural and unspoiled authenticity and well-preserved nature are the essence of its proud inhabitants. And for good reason. In 1993, the island became a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, which recognizes the high compatibility between economic development, consumption of resources, and conservation of its landscapes and heritage. The island is renowned for its restored Vincas (a typical Spanish country farmhouse), surrounded by revamped vineyards, Phytolacca trees, and xeriscape gardens. Charming paths and trails beckon beyond rustic, traditionally crafted gates of wild olive tree wood. The inspiration for embracing outdoor living is endless.

Fernando Alcolea & Victoria Krauss’s home. Photo by Doug Young

Antique dealers and gallery owners Fernando Alcolea and Victoria Krauss know this all too well, passionately restoring their century-old rural house together and decorating it with their collection of art and antiques. “It’s our dream home,” said Krauss of the vinca, located in front of the Talayotic town of Talatí de Dalt in Mahón, one of the most notable prehistoric sites on the island. The renovation included replacing the roof beams, insulating part of the floor because of humidity, building double partitions, changing the window panes, and redoing the electrical installation. 

“One of our first commitments to this house was to respect its origins and all that has been there for centuries,” noted Krauss of the ten-month, ongoing project, “to try and stay as close to its origins, but while making it very livable for our family.”

With winter and summer living spaces, the home invites relaxation with rustic Menorcan furniture, vintage textiles, and antiques from the 18th and 19th centuries. 

Fernando Alcolea & Victoria Krauss inside their shop Alcolea & Krauss. Photo by Anne Nyblaeus

“My husband Fernando and I have been in the world of art and collecting for more than 35 years,” said Krauss. “We say it is an art for living house.”

In 2016, the couple opened Alcolea & Krauss, a concept store in Mahón that showcases their experienced eye for furniture, contemporary art, and objects. “It’s the most eclectic place, like our house multiplied by a hundred,” described Krauss of this must-see shop when visiting Menorca. “People come from New York and buy from us to ship back home.”

While keeping family meals in mind, the home boasts a summer dining room outside the kitchen with a typical Menorcan table, antique English chairs, and a French lamp. “We love to cook and spend time around the table,” said Krauss. “Everybody looks forward to meal times.” 

Photo by Doug Young

The inviting outdoor living room overlooks a garden of native species, including gauras, cactus, and lavender, which is a perfect place for quiet contemplation.

“What we love most about the island is the preservation,” said Krauss. “In many ways, its nature and beauty is as it was a hundred years ago.”

Where To Stay

Hotel Menorca Experimental

Hotel Menorca Experimental. Photo by Doug Young

Surrounded by fragrant juniper shrubs and wildflowers, Menorca Experimental feels like a vacation home for artists. Located on the property of a Finca, dating back to the 19th century, the whitewashed complex offers 43 rooms, including nine bungalows with a private pool. The popular on-site restaurant features a Mediterranean menu with a modern twist, emphasizing fresh and seasonal products from the land and refreshing cocktails. 

White asparagus miso, sobrasada crumbs, and pickled egg yolk, from the Vinca menu at Menorca Experimantal Group. Photo by Doug Young

Notable dishes included tuna tataki with tomato ponzu, watermelon; Sirvia carpaccio with passion tiger milk, Menorcan tomato and almonds; and Iberian ham croquettes. Bring your hiking shoes to explore the private, cliff-lined cove.

Christine Bedfor. Photo by Doug Young

Christine Bedfor

A house full of unique spaces and nooks designed so that your experience is exceptional. Explore Mahón just outside your door after a lovely breakfast in the garden.

Christine Bedfor. Photo by Doug Young

Thoughtful guest rooms and communal spaces are filled with light, color, and unique details.

Beaches To See

Cala Mitjana. Photo by Doug Young

Menorca boasts many beautiful beaches — too many to list — and although Cala Mitjana is known to be overcrowded, it is breathtaking. Surrounded by pine trees and cliffs, this small beach can be reached on foot in 20 minutes, starting from a parking lot close to county road OM-714. Off-season visiting is best, especially early in the day.

City To Explore

Ciutadella. Photo by Doug Young

Ciutadella: Known as Menorca’s prettiest city, Ciutadella’s culture and history merge in its cobbled streets of pastel and ochre-hued architectural grandeur.

An East End Experience

2024 © James Lane Post®. All Rights Reserved.

Covering North Fork and Hamptons Events, Hamptons Arts, Hamptons Entertainment, Hamptons Dining, and Hamptons Real Estate. Hamptons Lifestyle Magazine with things to do in the Hamptons and the North Fork.