“It was my grandmother’s house,” Inés tell us, about the enchanting Son Fogueró. “We lived here for seven years without electricity. We used to wash with the rainwater from the cistern and use oil lamps.” Her mother, María Antonia Carbonell, an interior designer with a great nose for detail, directed the placement of each Santanyí stone. Inés remembers the old craftsman, Mestre Pep, with fondness. “Each stone was placed with so much love,” she says.
We imagine a bohemian childhood. Her father, the painter Pere Alemany, had his studio in what is now the yoga room. Growing up, Son Fogueró was frequented by international artists who fell in love with the island. There were no rural hotels back then and they encouraged Maria Antonia to offer lodgings. “My mother created rooms that she would have liked to live in,” Inés says, “nothing was designed as a hotel.” So unique was the finca, it won awards and made the front page of the prestigious magazine Casa y Campo. “We had some really famous people celebrate events here,” Inés recalls, citing the writer Françoise Sagan among them.
Now Son Fogueró is entering a new phase. After 10 years of being rented out and suffering neglect, Inés Alemany Carbonell, a doctor by profession, has returned to save her patrimony. It was an idea that came about after a series of events, the most pivotal being her battle with cancer which prompted her to leave medicine. “The idea of an ordinary hotel didn’t excite me,” she admits, “what I wanted was to create a holistic health hotel.” With a Masters in both mindfulness and acupuncture, it’s not an idea plucked out of the ether, but a way of life that she has been attracted to for decades.
A dose of good health
Inés would love people from the island and beyond to come to Son Fogueró for a total reset; to reconnect with themselves, with nature and to enjoy meals masterminded for maximum nutrition. She admits to worrying about how the sugar-free, dairy-free, flexitarian menu would be received. So far, wonderfully well. While she has no desire to be obsessing about online ratings, the 9.5 scores on booking.com must be a source of pride.
Her project has only just begun. There’s an old stone storage unit at the back of the hotel awaiting a reformation. In the future, she wants to facilitate workshops with brilliant spiritual teachers. She acknowledges that it seems to be a bit of a trend, but that’s not why she’s doing it. “I want to do it so that people feel loved. Spirituality can’t be a business. I don’t want to fall into that trap.”
Finding the balance between being business-minded and fulfilling her most authentic life is a new challenge. Fortunately, she can always rely on the support and great taste of her entrepreneurial husband, the founder of the design company Dareels. His uncluttered and contemporary furnishings, made out of 100% recycled materials from Indonesia, have replaced much of the heavy Mallorcan furniture. It has injected the historic finca with a fresh energy. “Covid has given us a lot to reflect on,” Inés concludes, “to spend a few days with yourself, you don’t have to go to Bali.” Sitting in the peace of Son Fogueró’s leafy patio, we find ourselves in total agreement.
Text by Emily Benet
Photos by Sara Savage