Españolita Trips - The Mediterranean Retreat
The personal experience is something that remains a consistent talking point when referring to travel. Airbnb launched their 'Experiences' offering last year and it has been a huge success with more and more travellers want to connect to the place they are visiting. When we discovered Españolita Trips we were immediately drawn to Founder Carmen Ruiz's strong focus on wanting to share her Mallorca with others. Carmen, originally from Spain and now living in the US, has created the stylish and rustic experience for visitors to enjoy. Whether you like the idea of a picnic on a boat docked by a private cove, hiking trails, cooking traditional Mallorquín dishes or dining in a rural house among strangers-come-friends by candlelight, Españolita Trips does just that. Read on to find out more about this venture and what you can discover and experience in Mallorca.
Do you lead the tours / experiences with Deborah?
Carmen: I design the travel experiences to Spain around a specific place, house, person or craft which inspire me greatly, and I build out from there. My love for Mallorca has existed since I was a child and my parents discovered their love for the island when I was still in my mom’s belly. So I was certain I wanted to start Españolita Trips itineraries there.
I did not want to do this project alone, so I set to search for the best possible local partner. One day, I met Deborah Piña for an interview for my Españolita.net project, she was cooking a whole piglet in a wood-burning oven that evening, and I knew she was the one. I planted the seed in her heart. I talked to her briefly about the idea, and months after we started building the concept, the structure, the bones... and when the time was right we launched the project. We have learned a lot from the process, and we are determined to expand and grow. I do not think there is anything like our Mediterranean Retreats out there, and after the feedback from our first guests, we are proud of our achievements. And for me, it's seeing a long time dream come true after hard work.
How often will the organized experiences be?
Carmen: Españolita’s travel itineraries will vary every year. Anywhere from 2 to 6 trips to different magical locations around Spain. It takes time to find the perfect houses, the artisans and partners that will make the trip unique. I also host the guests, so I have to allow time in between to recharge and get inspired again by spending time with my children and taking on other projects. My other job is trying to be a production designer for film and music videos.
How many people do you allow per retreat?
Carmen: Groups will always be kept small. There is no way I can create a unique and authentic travel experience and inspire a meaningful memory in the traveller if I do not keep the groups small.
Where is your favourite place on the island and why?
Carmen: My favorite place on the island is the Bay of Pollença, with its infinite coves that can only be accessed by boat. The smaller the boat, the better the coves you can access.
My siblings and I grew up sailing on a tiny ‘Llaut' with my father and mother here. I cherish those moments in my memory and will do forever.
There is just something very very romantic about sailing on a slow 'llaut', the smell of the wet wood, the salt in the skin and hair, but also the coziness of spending time together in a small space out in the gorgeous Mediterranean Sea.
Where do you go to eat when in Mallorca?
Carmen: Some passionate friends of mine who cook on the island, have a very special approach to food that I think is worth mentioning: Maca de Castro, a hardworking Michelin star chef at Jardín restaurant, who really puts Mallorca in the plate and Maria Solivellas at Ca Na Toneta, who prepares wonderful dishes in a super special place. Then there is my friend Víctor Prieto who offers private chef services all round the island, check out the website https://chefacasa.es. I also have to include both markets in Palma: Santa Catalina and Mercado del Olivar, a must try!
Describe Mallorca in 3 words
Rustic, bright and magical.
Carmen Ruiz de Huidobro is an art director working in film and music videos in Los Angeles. She studied at Parsons School of Design in New York and in 2015 launched an online project called Españolita.net which features creative individuals from Spain. She also visits and photographs places she feels represent a unique sense of “Spanishness”. All this, eventually inspired her to create experiential travel itineraries through which she hosts guests while they unravel the artisanal and culinary history of her country together.