Surrounded by fragrant lemon and fig trees on Ibiza’s quiet Northern side, La Granja was always more of a philosophy than a hotel. It has been both mothership and inspiration for a design and hospitality company based on the farmhouse hotel's original ideals.
It all began in the mid-2000’s with the opening of a restored 19th-century farmhouse in the hills way above San Antonio. La Granja set itself apart from the mass tourism and notorious party scene by emphasising the working farm as the hotel’s lodestar. Very quickly an informal community of admirers had found their way up its un-sign posted driveway. Many of them were invited by the owner whose specific goal was to draw an engaged, thoughtful and like-minded clientele. That owner was hospitality guru Claus Sendlinger. Speaking at the time, Sendlinger said, "The idea is to invite the most interesting people on the island and make this a place for them to share ideas.”
Thanks to his efforts a loosely knit international community of creatives, thinkers and admirers regularly gathered around the rustic verandah table for farm fare grown on site, deep discussions and the unfettered exchange of ideas. By 2017 the secret was out when it made CN Traveller’s Hot List for its "monastically chic interiors, chiaroscuro painted walls, nubby Belgian linens, wabi-sabi wooden furniture, and copper sinks completely of the moment in an un-showily luxurious kind of a way.”
Sendlinger is best known for his achievements in the early 1990s with Design Hotels, the first marketing consortium to specialise in boutique stays. One of the most progressive figures in the industry, he seemed able to tap into the geist before its ziet. For one thing, he spotted the popular wave of rave culture and tribal festival gatherings as a new hospitality trend before the mainstream did. He is credited with later predicting “the farmhouse is the golf course of the future” before farmhouses with farm-to-table meals were travel’s new Big Thing.
What started as a concept at La Granja (meaning simply 'the farm’) is now formalised into a company, Slowness, co-founded by Sendlinger and Peter Conrads. Slowness aspires to be a collective of designers, farmers, writers, artists, artisans and architects. The goal is to engage with conscious living as a way of life, promoting creativity and doing hospitality. For guidance it casts a lingering, and possibly rose-tinted, backward gaze at some of the more successful examples from the 1920s and 1930s, notably the legendary Black Mountain College and Yama Farms Inn.
Today Slowness works to engage with conscious living as a way of life, promoting creativity and doing hospitality. "It’s about taking the time to reconsider our actions and think more deeply and responsibly about how we live.”
Images courtesy Slowness, Jake Curtis, Steve Herud, Design Hotels