Villa Maecenas, Ibiza
Inspiring creative retreats for the bon vivant in an intimate and magical setting
Best for: Those passionate about art, music, literature, culture and personal development.
Not for: Those who prefer to spend more time scrolling social media than with their imagination.
Set amidst ancient pine forests and fields of wild flowers in Ibiza’s Northern mountainous region Benirràs, Villa Maecenas (which means Patron of the Arts) is the creation of inspired Brazilian Cleyenne who welcomes guests to awaken their creative and spiritual potential with a range of retreats covering everything from creative writing and art, to holistic health and fitness, to board games with fine dining for the bon vivant. Residency programmes for artists and writers are also on offer, and all creative retreats are open to budding or established artists and writers alike. Stay in a tranquil and stylish Spanish villa and stimulate your self with intelligence and purpose.
This is a hub of inspiration in fragrant, beautiful surroundings for curious cats with a penchant for art, music, literature and culture or anyone feeling stuck who seeks encouragement and the freedom to create. Your vibrant hostess and owner Cleyenne is always available and will be seen setting tables, decorating areas or tidying rooms.
The group retreats led by inspirational teachers run on set dates, so you might not be able to make the one you really want to go on.
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Weekend and week long retreats are held all year round – choose to focus on health or creativity and mix your stay with yoga, massage, hikes around the island, sharing stories and dining well on delicious Mediterranean cuisine laid on by the in-house chef. Visits to the infamous hippy market Las Dalias can be arranged.
These are week long group retreats run on set dates led by journalists, documentary makers, published authors, screenwriters and lecturers aimed at budding or established writers who have a project they are passionate about but are feeling stuck and in need of an imagination boost. Leaders include the likes of senior lecturer Anthony Cropper, author of ‘Songbird’ Julia Blackbird, and Emmy-nominated screenwriter Hugh Costello.
Each retreat sets out to unlock natural writing abilities and to identify a genre or tone that works with each writers ‘voice’. Participants will experiment with a variety of writing styles during two daily sessions and many creative activities. The workshops are varied but writing and discussion lie at their centre.
These are bespoke all year round retreats for budding or established artists looking for renewed inspiration, hoping to try out new mediums or just looking for creative stimulation. Tell Villa Maecenas a preferred medium and they will send information about various instructors and levels of expertise that can be offered.
Holistic retreats are available all year round on the first week of each month. These bespoke retreats incorporate yoga, hikes with spectacular scenery, meditation, alternative healing therapies and much laughter.
These retreats speak to those who have never stepped into a gym. Expect long beach walks, gentle yoga, horse-riding, martial arts lessons combined with a light and delicious Mediterranean menu to encourage healthy & effortless lifestyle maintenance.
For the bon vivant out there, poker and backgammon tournaments are offered during the bright winter months. Come for weekends of long gourmet lunches, fine wine and other entertainments such as live music, dancers and performers.
An application-based free month-long residency programme is available for published authors or artists who wish to spend a minimum of one month developing their work. You stay in a fully self-contained casita at the side of the house, with kitchen, ensuite and a terrace overlooking the fields.
With four hectares of land on site there is so much to explore either alone or with others. Hiking is offered on all retreats and is arranged according to schedule. On writing retreats walks are arranged in the afternoon or around sunset. A gentle one-hour walk or a three-hour hike usually led by informative local Toby (and Cosmos the dog) from Ibiza Walking Tours unveils magnificent views, history and secrets of the Island. Pack trainers for comfort.
Yoga helps to support the process of creativity by increasing flexibility of the mind, body and spirit, and Various styles and levels of it are offered on all retreats, whether they’re creative or health-focused. Teachers are carefully selected from across the island to help bring synergy to the breath and body – Yin Yang yoga is taught on writing retreats and last sixty minutes including meditation. There is no dedicated yoga space ,so depending on weather, the sessions are held on the grass or on the stone paved terracing.
You can book a range of treatments here with healers, practitioners and therapists of all kinds. Your choices range from traditional massage to more spiritual, experiential practices, including energy based chakra work, quantum healing and sound baths.
A key component here is to explore internal and external life, so being in and observing ever-changing nature can be a source of much inspiration. Breathe in the diversity of the elements, shapes, colours, size and structure of trees, shrubs, plants and flowers and let your words, images and imagination flow.
Bedrooms: Opt for bright twin rooms with shared bathrooms or a large double with writing desk and impressive, modern ensuite if you’re feeling flash. All-white rooms are splashed with colourful art, soft linen and original oak doors, quaint windows and Sabina wood ceilings. Bathrooms are gorgeous, generously sized with grey polished cement basins and a bath/shower or shower. The main finca sleeps fourteen and has four toilets/bathrooms. All bedrooms are in the same part of the house but still maintain privacy.
Other spaces to be: Spend time writing, reading or observing nature under a shady olive tree at a private wooden table or lying in the hammock set amongst the lavender fields. Rest under the sheltered, comfortable seating area by the beautifully maintained lily pad layered ponds to write, read or snooze. The cute, bright, private TV room with sofa and low ceilings can be the perfect space for a snooze, writing alone or winter movie time.
Other Places to Stay: A fully self-contained casita sits at the side of the house, with kitchen, ensuite and a terrace overlooking the fields. This is usually used for residencies.
Stay a few days either side to explore island a bit more. Nearby Benniràs beach has a lovely local place for a cocktail and dip in the sea. The North is prettier, but Ibiza first-timers should also explore sites in the south such as Es Vedra, recognised as the third most magnetic point on Earth, and the many southern beach points.
When to Go
This retreat is open all year round so guests wishing to gaze upon lingering sunsets can opt for workshops held during the warmer months and those who prefer to soak in the fresher climate can visit at the year’s start or end. Ibiza winters are sunny and bright, so for many the best time of the year to visit, with an inexhaustible supply of pleasures and adventures to enjoy.
You eat your breakfast at a beautiful wooden table under the trees outside or in the open plan kitchen, which leads into the original bread making area that still contains the bread oven. This comfortably seats twelve guests for meals around a handcrafted driftwood table, usually dressed with Chrysanthemums and surrounded by modern yellow chairs. Moroccan lanterns hang from the ceiling over the centre of the table and the bread oven wall is adorned with old black and white photographs. Lunch is indoors or under the covered roof at the side of the house. Dinner is more refined and set in a different location each night.
Cleyenne and housekeeper Tanya prettily display a continental fresh produce breakfast of eggs, cheese, breads, yoghurts, cereals and juices. The smell of freshly filtered coffee can be enjoyed over croissants and conversation, something that in a very short time becomes an integral part of the sharing and exploration of creativity. Vegetable couscous, breads and freshly made salads of greens, fruits and nuts are typical for lunch.
Candle lit, flower-covered tables overlooking the lit gardens can be the supper setting for freshly baked sea bass, gourmet mash and braised fennel. Gin and tonics quench the thirst, followed by wine. Nothing is off the table and unless the retreat is specifically designed around detox and wellbeing, sugar, salt, fish, alcohol and anything else one may desire is available.
Where possible everything is recycled; water from the private well is filtered into glass bottles to reduce plastic consumption and wastage. Solar panels reduce electricity usage and local gardeners live on property to manage the vast grounds daily. Food is sourced locally, ensuring meals are fresh, colourful and full of flavour.
Villa Maecenas Benirràs San Joan de Labritja Spain