Two new ventures are set to open Saturday 12 May 2018 at the wonderful Villa Rullan that will be welcome additions to village life. The grand opening will also be an excellent opportunity for many of us to step inside what locals call ‘Sa Casa Guapa’ or ‘the pretty house’ for the first time.
Before we interviewed the people behind Bistro Rullan and Mountain Wellness, we were curious to find out what we could of the history of Villa Rullan. We turned to Tomás Graves, a fount of information about each and every villa in Deià. This is what he told me.
‘I think the house was built by the father of Francisca Rullan who owned it and died a few years ago. According to the date above the door, I assume it was built in 1933. Francisca was born during the Battle of the Somme in 1916. Her father, a Deiàn, had business there. Francisca used to say that the shelling brought on her birth and that her parents had to escape with her back to Mallorca.
Francisca spent most of her life in Deià but spoke Mallorquin with a French accent. As a girl, she played the violin with the village dance band, which included Pepe Salas, son of the builder of Ca n’Alluny – the Graves family home – on guitar.
She used to reminisce about the dances at the Sala, now the shop ISLAS, where people would come from Sóller and Valldemossa to dance “agarrados”, clinging together, which was frowned upon in other villages. Francisca remembered Laura Riding playing Louis Armstrong records on her wind-up gramophone at the dances.
Francisca was the first to have a television in Deià and she would invite people into the house to watch it with her. She made excellent liqueur from tangerines and would make upside-down cakes with the Mirabelle plums from the tree in her garden, which came from France. She had a dog named Oso who was almost as fat as she was and would pick fights with any passing cur from a safe position behind the railings. After Oso passed away, Francesca moved to Puerto Pollença where her son had an apartment.’
So now we know. But what’s the story behind Mountain Wellness and Bistro Rullan?
Louise Fletcher-Loni, the founder of Mountain Wellness, lives in Deià with her husband, two cats and two dogs. She first came to the village a little over 11 years ago to work at Belmond La Residencia spa.
‘Although I’d had holidays in Mallorca as a kid,’ she says, ‘I had no idea about Deià. When the taxi started heading up into the mountains, I thought “this is a bit different”. I did my real growing up here, in my 20s, and it’s also where I met the love of my life.
Last week, when we’d almost finished preparing, Toni, who is 102, came over to have a look. He worked on the construction of Villa Rullan and was delighted that we’d preserved so much of the original building and that it was open to the public.
Louise’s centre in Villa Rullán will be a place where the whole community can come and have a treatment or a yoga class. It will also be a base for Spa@home, which offers treatment in private homes, as well as the division of Louise’s business that provides treatments for hotels. She currently works with Es Moli, Ca’s Xorc, Des Puig and Son Bunyola.
Charles Marlow rental clients often take advantage of Spa@home, which comes highly recommended. Louise and her team also do the treatments for journalists we invite to Deià. Spa@home will operate out of Villa Rullan and continue to grow. ‘I adore our clients,’ Louise says, ‘and it’s a great honour to be invited into peoples’ homes.’
We asked Louise how she came to be in Villa Rullan. ‘By magic! I’ve been looking for the right space for a long time, but I still have no idea how it’s become reality. To be honest, I’m still in shock to have a salon and yoga studio in this amazing space but so grateful to have this opportunity. And it feels like the house is loving being used in this way.’
And how would Louise describe Mountain Wellness? ‘I dreamed of opening a yoga studio when I retired but it’s appeared 30 years earlier. I’ve gone with it and Mountain Yoga has been born.’
The birth of Mountain Yoga is great news for those of us who practice, especially Deià people – as I mentioned in a previous blog post. What is Louise’s approach to teaching? ‘To move and have fun. I encourage people to simply come in and try a class, whatever level of yoga they’re at.’
Louise, a Yoga Alliance certified teacher, will offer yoga classes every morning in the week for a maximum of seven people. Private classes will also be available.
Bistro Rullán is the creation of Barna, originally from Hungary and well-known in Deià from his days running the charming Village Café.
Lunch and dinner will be served at Bistro Rullan. For lunch, the Bistro will offer à la carte and a menu del dia. In the evening, the menu will be French and Mediterranean kitchen. It will change monthly and feature plenty of local produce.
As Barna explains, the drinks menu will be distinctive. ‘We were famous at Village Café for our gin and tonic menu and this tradition will continue at Bistro Rullan. At least half of the wine list of fine Mallorquin, Spanish and international wines will be offered by the glass for customers who would like to taste wines from other regions.’
For Barna, maintaining a connection to the history and spirit of Deià is important. ‘This is why we decided on the name Bistro Rullan,’ he explains. ‘Anahi, my girlfriend, and I love the village. Our daughter Greta was born here, and we wouldn’t dream of moving somewhere else. We want to create a place where local people can come as well as visitors to the village. We know many locals because they loved to come to the Village Café. We respect them, and they respect us. They’re happy because we’ve opened a new place for them as well. Last week, when we’d almost finished preparing, Toni, who is 102, came over to have a look. He worked on the construction of Villa Rullan and was delighted that we’d preserved so much of the original building and that it was open to the public.’
Bistro Rullan will be open from Tuesday to Sunday for lunch and dinner. Barna is planning to stay open all year round.
Louise and Barna invite you to Villa Rullan on 12 May from 5pm onwards. As Louise said, ‘Come have a look around and enjoy. We can’t wait to see you.’