Luxury is a highly subjective term. Thanks to clever marketing, many now associate it with so-called ‘luxury goods’, like Prada bags and Harry Winston jewels. Yet its definition is loose–usually something like: ‘a condition of abundance or great ease and comfort; a sumptuous environment’ or ‘something adding to pleasure or comfort’. A bejewelled cocktail ring may bring a sense of abundance, but ease and comfort? And as anyone who has spied a Prada bag on the Paris metro knows, its presence hardly adds to creating ‘a sumptuous environment’.
But almost everything about Cas Gasi, Ibiza, fits in with any definition of luxury. Gardens bursting with velvety roses, peppery petunias and sweet honeysuckle are abundant, as is the fresh, organic food; myriad thick, glossy coffee table books for your reading pleasure; bouquets of peach-scented roses in makeshift vases, and Iberian antiques adding charm to each room.
The ever-smiling, amicable staff are prepared to make each visitor as comfortable as possible: want to eat lunch at 5pm? Friendly Tony will make sure it’s done. Duvet too warm? Handsome Diego will ensure lighter blankets are brought immediately. Can’t function without coffee? Forget an espresso shot–cheerful Bandana, from Nepal, will bring you an entire pot, just for you.
But Cas Gasi is so intrinsically comfortable, you’ll hardly need to ask for a thing. Bedding is soft but beds are firm; technology is all top-notch (though you’ll probably be too busy enjoying the great outdoors to use it), lounge chairs are dressed in sumptuous terrycloth; antique iron patio chairs are softened by fat, fuschia cushions. My room, in the main house, was just off a foyer adorned with a pink silk chaise longue from the 19th century, set off by Moroccan kilms and dark polished wood doors and floors. Inside, I had my own balcony overlooking the pool, exposed stone walls, and a spacious ensuite decorated with inky blue Moorish tiles. Bountiful bowls of organic fruit and roses were brought up daily.
Peace surrounds this hotel; that’s why people come. Guests at Cas Gasi are as far from the belching, bloated masses in Ibiza Town or San Antoni as can be. This is an older, upscale set, mainly couples who come armed with books, sunblock, iPads and very expensive sunglasses. They sip fine wine and dine on locally caught grilled fish, organic salad greens picked right on the premises, and eggs laid by Cas Gasi’s chickens. Massages, yoga classes and beauty treatments are booked for daytime treats, punctuated by dips in the pool and excursions into town.
Oh, and let’s not forget the hotel’s eco credentials: almond, olive, carob, and fig trees all grow organically on the estate, as do orange, lemon, apricot, cherry, plum, and pomegranate trees. A wide variety of organic vegetables is also grown here, as are Monastrell grapes, which are then pressed to make a rich house wine.
Beyond organic farming, Cas Gasi’s use of water also add to its eco-credentials. Its many olive trees are watered at night from two large water tanks high up on the hill, installed underground so as not to interfere with the landscape. These tanks also serve as a backup system for supplying drinking water to the hotel under natural pressure in the event of a power failure.
A large-scale eco project the hotel undertook last year was the replacement of the sewage treatment plant with a new improved system that uses advanced technology to achieve completely pure grey water, which is then used to water the organic plants surrounding Cas Gasi. A sand filter unit was also fitted to do the job of in-depth filtering and softening of all the water in the hotel, without the need for salts or additives. The result is sweet, pure H2O, which makes guests’ hair and skin buttery soft after showering, unlike the harder waters of say, London or Paris. Finally, all cleaning products used in the hotel are biodegradable, lights in common areas are fitted to timers to save energy, and of course, guests are requested to inform staff when they’d like their sheets and towels changed, rather than having this done every day.
While ‘luxury’ may have different definitions for different people, at Cas Gasi it clearly relates to the purity of air and food, the sensual pleasures of a scented garden or a velvety lawn; expansive personal space, and perhaps above all, peace and tranquility– all of which are increasingly rare for city dwellers.
Each of these factors certainly did add pleasure and comfort to my personal experience here, confirming Cas Gasi’s status as one of the Balearic’s most luxurious hotels, no matter what the definition.