There's a fascinating history behind the family run Hotel Ses Savines in San Antonio which belies its quite unremarkable facade. These days it looks much like many of the other hotels in Ibiza but it was at the vanguard of design when it was first built in the 1930's.
The story starts when Rafael Marí Llàcer and his wife Margarita Portas Marí sold the jewels she had worn on her wedding day to buy the land where the hotel now stands. In 1934 they called in one of the top architects of the day, the Catalan Germán Rodríguez Arias, a member of the rationalist movement to design the new hotel. Traditional, simple, cubic houses in Ibiza and the rationalist desire to create functional, simple structures influenced by the cubist art movement were a perfect match on the island, as our photo demonstrates.
Originally the hotel had only 11 rooms spread over just the one storey and stood in a copse of pine and juniper trees so it was thought that the best name for the it should be either Es Pins or Ses Savines – the obvious outcome was decided by Rafael and Margarita's 5 year old son Francisco drawing the name out of a hat!
For its first few years, the Ses Savines operated only as a restaurant as the civil war had put a stop to tourism but afterwards in the 40's as tourists began to return young Francisco or Xicu des Savines as he was known, started to work alongside his father in the hotel. In those days the tourists visiting Ses Savines were in the main French or Spanish, together with people from Ibiza town, who would cross the island to spend a few days by the sea in San Antonio!
It's obvious looking at the hotel today, that it has undergone many changes since its inauguration in 1935, though the one thing that has remained constant is that it is still owned and managed by the same family, now in its fourth generation since the early days.
Nowadays the clientele at the Ses Savines is mostly British and as a measure of how well thought of the place is, it still has clients who have been returning year after year for the last 30 or 40 years. If you're staying here, you'll be able to browse all the old photographs of the place which decorate the walls of the reception.
Footnote: Germán Rodríguez Arias went into exile in Chile when the civil war broke out, but returned to live in Portinatx in 1957 until he died in 1987 in a house he designed and built. One of the most famous designs he made whilst in Ibiza was the Ibiza chair which still looks cool today.
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