In Conversation with Henning and Petra Bensland, Cal Reiet

At their Mallorcan agroturismo, co-founders Henning and Petra Bensland have created a paradise. A place for healing, growth and absolute relaxation. Utterly captivated by a place that has such clarity of vision, I was fascinated to find out more about how the vision came about and meet the people behind the business.

As luck would have it, Poppy, my five year old was sick the morning we'd booked in for our chat. Diary commitments and deadlines meant that  rescheduling wasn't an option so we pressed on and had a great conversation.

I'll be honest, There's quite a bit of ambient noise in the middle as Poppy couldn't quite grasp the concept of being quiet while we recorded. You'll hear a lot of crashing of drawers, a little whispering and a some shuffling of paper as she draws prolifically. It's not the quietest of recordings but Henning and Petra are such an inspirational couple, with such vision that I hope it will be worth a little extra concentration to hear what they have to say.

the ultimate retreat

‘It’s like a cocoon. You come, and you don’t want to leave. It’s a place to feel good, to feel safe and to develop’ says Henning.

Something happens as you approach Cal Reiet that’s hard to explain. My shoulders begin to detatch themselves from my earlobes, the corners of my mouth start to twitch quite involuntarily and there’s a lifting in my heart that grows stronger as I enter through those wonderful glass doors and into the abundant poolside garden.

Cal Reiet is a magical place. A gentle, nurturing, supportive space that has been lovingly and immaculately restored in recent years by the Swiss-based Bensland family. It’s evident that this was no shoestring renovation: the attention to detail is clear at every turn. And yet somehow, the moment you arrive you feel as though it’s the sort of place you might kick off your shoes and make yourself at home. It’s as though you’ve arrived in the home of some of your oldest friends.

It should be hardly surprising, then, that when I Skype with Henning and Petra, they have that same warm, contented and calming aura that stays with me long after our conversation.

What Petra and Henning have created at Cal Reiet is nothing short of astonishing. Beautifully designed interiors, luxuriant gardens, daily yoga classes to restore and revive, delicious vegetarian food to nourish your body and soul. And that energy.

It’s a special place which leaves a lasting impression. A place, evidently, the owners have utter clarity of vision for. I was curious to know more.

It was a health scare ten years ago that prompted Swedish businessman, Henning Bensland, to reinvent the way he was living. He learned, he says, to live more from the heart.

Keen to invest in property overseas, Henning had spent eighteen months searching in Ibiza for a suitable property. It was on his way home from one of these trips that his flight was delayed from Palma and Henning took the chance to visit Cal Reiet.

Captivated by what he saw, and the potential within the building, Henning knew he had found the one. Serendipitously, Petra was on a yoga retreat at the time. The pair set about transforming the place into what you see today.

Previously home to an English family with a passion for gardening, the villa had fallen into disrepair. The challenge was to bring the house up to standard whilst preserving the beauty in the lush gardens and retaining that magical atmosphere.

Having stayed at the property three times now, it’s only when I read it in Conde Nast Traveller that I realise the rooms don’t have televisions. I’ve never missed them. It’s just not that sort of place.

‘We wanted to stand for something. To represent something. And that’s why we don’t have televisions. It’s the reason we serve vegetarian food. It’s the holistic concept.’

Cal Reiet stands for a lot. To me, it’s a place to bring my family. A place to escape, recharge and reconnect with me. It’s a place to make memories, think big and dream about the future.

The family recently purchased a second property in Palma and are looking forward to developing their unique brand of wellness further. It will be a couple of years before we get to experience it, but I’m already excited.

Spending time with The Benslands is inspiring. I can’t help but thinking that when I grow up, I’d like to be just like them.

Images by the fabulous Katie Spicer from the 2017 Brand Stylist Retreat.