2 villas make up one huge sculpture with 5-meter-high windows, swimming pools and 6 acres of private land.
How would you describe Villa Riu Blanc in a nutshell?
Villa Riu Blanc is a haven of tranquility in the hills of Benissa. The small boutique hotel is a place to relax while enjoying majestic views across the valley and sea.
What is the story behind Villa Riu Blanc, what was your inspiration to create it?
Our children are now grown up and we got to a point where we thought: “Are we going to continue what we are doing or try something new?” There had always been an idea to create a space where people would feel at home.
Initially, we went to Morocco to see if we could do something there but it was all too complicated. Friends of ours had a business in the Marina Alta and suggested we try there. It is a small triangle between Valencia and Alicante and is renowned for having a very healthy climate. It’s a special place and we immediately fell in love with it!
We found this old farmhouse that used to be a Lebanese restaurant and spent over a year renovating it before opening as a boutique hotel. We invested in renewable energies, such as solar power, as this is something that is important to us. Today, it’s just the two of us managing it, with the help of a local girl.
How would you describe the atmosphere and interior design of Villa Riu Blanc?
It’s a mix of Mediterranean and African design elements, with the use of a lot of colour. We were inspired by the philosophy of Kandinsky and the idea that “colour is a power that directly influences the soul”. We didn’t want to create another Ibiza-style hotel but rather something with earthy walls and natural fabrics, many of which come from Morocco. Our daughter is an interior architect who established her own studio in Antwerp, called Atelier Tangier: she helped us tremendously with the design and renovation.
Guests often comment on the tranquility and charm of the place — it’s somewhere you feel at ease, at peace. We are sympathetic to the wabi sabi philosophy, which centres around the idea that life is not perfect and the importance of finding harmony with that. So perhaps that has something to do with it.
To you personally, what is so special about Villa Riu Blanc?
Because we only have five rooms, there is a personal relationship and connection with the clients. Our guests often come back from a day exploring and say “this is our little piece of heaven”. It’s a place that makes you feel at home and invites you to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Guests can grab a glass of wine from the honesty bar and relax in the lounge with a book or beside the pool. We also have a nice ocean breeze that creates a good feeling.