It has been an unusual, challenging and very short season here in Ibiza…
As the world went into Lockdown back in March, we knew we were going to be in for a bumpy ride this season, and after a couple of weeks of what felt like a kind of stunned silence, as we all absorbed the enormity of the situation, the deluge of emails, messages and phone calls began to pour in from worried clients.
As the situation was developing & changing day by day, we were careful not to have a knee-jerk reaction and panic too early, but it quickly became apparent that we would not be welcoming our early season groups of guests and retreats that we had booked in from mid-April.
We have felt very grateful for the patience and understanding of the vast majority of our clients, as we navigated together those early, destabilising days when none of us knew for sure when we would be able to open our doors and welcome guests – or even if we would be able to open at all!
In normal years, throughout the pre-season preparations, we have fairly straightforward communications with our incoming guests; planning how they want the bedrooms set up, whether they require any shopping on arrival – that sort of thing. This year, we were talking to all of our booked guests on an almost daily basis, as we all tried to anticipate the constantly changing travel restrictions and to jointly make the decisions as to when to ‘pull the plug’ on the booked dates and move groups (somewhat optimistically) into dates later in the season.
At Can Verru, our early season clients are almost all retreat bookings; fitness, yoga, Pilates etc. It was very challenging and often heartbreaking as we guided our Retreat Leaders through the process of rescheduling their planned business ventures and helped them manage the communications with all of their individual clients that had booked with them. The upside of this disruption was that we got to know our clients very well throughout this process!
Finally, we saw light at the end of the tunnel in the second half of June and we looked forward to welcoming our first guests on July 4th – a lovely family from Germany who have stayed at Can Verru before and were coming back to stay for three weeks. After the stress of the preceding months, it felt quite emotional welcoming them back to Can Verru, but of course we couldn’t give them a welcoming hug as we were all being extra careful to observe social distancing!
As the children jumped in the pool with squeals of laughter, it almost felt like things were back to normal and the previous few months had just been a bad dream! After their stay, we welcomed another wonderful family – this time from France – and again for a three week stay. It was their first visit to Can Verru and in typically French style they made the most of the shaded alfresco dining area for long, lazy meals by the pool. We felt very lucky to finally have the season underway with such lovely family groups in residence!
Then, lo and behold, soon after the arrival of the second family another curve-ball was served, with the UK government introducing quarantine restrictions for all British Citizens returning from Spain. Again, the remainder of the season was looking uncertain, especially as the next few bookings we were expecting were coming from Britain, so would be affected by the quarantine restrictions on their return. As this latest disruption was initiated by the UK, and we were still open, with flights still arriving in Ibiza, it simply wasn’t feasible to offer date changes for something that was totally beyond our control. We braced ourselves for cancellations, but we were delighted when our guests continued to arrive, determined to enjoy their well-deserved holiday in paradise!
Despite the challenges, the disappointments of such a short season and the consequential loss of revenue to our business, we still feel we have a lot to be thankful for. We have built incredible relationships with our clients throughout this tough process, we have welcomed fantastic groups to Can Verru – some new guests and some loyal returning visitors – and we have really enjoyed the mutually supportive vibe of ‘the world is a bit crazy at the moment, but we’re all in it together!’
The island itself has been simply magical… without the usual crowds and congestion, Ibiza has thrived. It has truly been a (hopefully) once in a lifetime opportunity to experience the island in a slower, more natural and authentic state. Most interestingly, it has shown that Ibiza has a lot more to offer than just clubbing and nightlife. Many of our friends who teach yoga, Pilates and fitness have been busier than ever. Stand-Up Paddle board & Kayak suppliers have done a roaring trade, as visitors have flocked to the crystal clear waters to experience the island from a different perspective.
Walking tours, local artisan markets and more sedate evening entertainment offerings of live music, flamenco performances & acoustic singers along with socially-distanced alfresco dining have been taken up with enthusiasm.
We have certainly noticed this year at Can Verru, our guests have leaned towards staying at the villa and enjoying the extensive grounds, booking private chefs for at-home catering, and making use of our extra housekeeping services to enjoy five star luxury without having to lift a finger! This is certainly not an extravagance when compared to going out to eat every night. This year, more than ever, Can Verru has felt like a retreat – a sanctuary – from the maelstrom of chaos and uncertainty unfolding elsewhere.
So, it has been a very strange season; it has been incredibly challenging, unexpected, uncertain and continually ‘shape-shifting’ but we would like to say a huge Thank You to all of our clients – those who came and stayed with us and also those who have had to change or postpone their visit.
We look forward to all being together again soon!
Do get in touch soon if you would like to join us in 2021. The early season is already sold out, but we still have some availability in July and August.
For Retreat Leaders thinking of bringing a group to Can Verru next year, check out our ‘low-risk’ Turn Up & Teach retreat concept; you bring the group and we handle the rest of it! Download the brochure here