Dorothée Meilichzon brings the stars to the sea for historic hotel Montesol Experimental


A portal to a restaurant booth, decked in stars, shells, and warm tones

If walls could talk, Ibiza’s Montesol Experimental would have quite the stories to tell. As the first hotel on the island, built in 1933 in a neocolonial style, it once welcomed celebrities, hippies, and even royalty. Pink Floyd; Orson Welles; and Princess Caroline of Monaco, the eldest daughter of the late Grace Kelly, all flocked to the Mediterranean paradise in its heyday. Yet nearly a century after opening, it has undergone a colorful update thanks to French architect and interior designer Dorothée Meilichzon.

A view of a bed with an arched bed frame
Solar colors, like orange and yellow, and lunar colors—gray, blue, and white—reflect the weather while offering respite from it (Karel Balas)

A crescent moon hangs on the wall in a bedroom
Natural materials are paired with celestial iconography throughout (Karel Balas)

During a multiphase renovation beginning in 2021, the designer overhauled the now bohemian-infused hotel restaurant, Sabbaba (now called Cafe Montesol), and updated the hotels 30 bedrooms, and three suites with calming pastels, celestial imagery, and handmade decor. While Meilichzon has worked on multiple hospitality projects, including many of Experimental Group’s hotels throughout Europe, Montesol stands out due to its history. “This was a bit different as it was an existing hotel…and is a property of culture heritage for UNESCO,” she told AN Interior.

A hotel restaurant merges traditional tiles and modern materials
Cafe Montesol, helmed by chef Alex Larrea, pairs local dishes with Spanish wines (Karel Balas)

When it came to the design, Meilichzon and her team played on the character of the island, and the building’s pale yellow facade. “Ibiza means color, joy, tolerance, and is a tribute to the sun,” she said. “We played a lot with shells—that we also used in the restaurant—to evoke the caves of Ibiza.”

Blue shelving and a funky clay chair set the scene
The Dalta Vila Suite is rich in texture, from its blue tiles to its patterned walls, and V-grooved flooring (Karel Balas)

White ceramic masks hang above a small seating area
Below masks by Anna Alexandra lies Diego Faivre’s Playdough Stools, made from a special type of air-drying clay (Karel Balas)

The seating area is playful in color and curvy lines
Wavy lines run through the hotel, another ode to the site’s beach-front locale (Karel Balas)

The color palette also plays into Ayurvedic principles. “We tried cooling, calming colors inside the hotel to counterbalance the heat outside,” she continued. There are solar colors in the common areas, while lunar colors in the guest rooms—like white, blue, gray, light green, and pastels—are both relaxing and imaginative.

A cool-toned bedroom with an arched bed frame
Lunar tones in the bedrooms create a cooling, calm destination (Karel Balas)

For visitors, lush, pattern-filled fabrics catch the eye, while curved, playful elements like Diego Faivre’s Playdough Stools, Moroccan tile–clad bars, custom dressers, and lacquered bathroom vanities are other delightful design elements. They share the space alongside artisans whose craft decorate the hotel. This includes a local potter, and makers from Menorca, Mallorca, and Portugal.

A historic exterior of a hotel in Ibiza
The exterior of the hotel preserves its historic roots, leavings its inner experimental design a delightful surprise (Karel Balas)

With enticing moments around every corner, Meilichzon’s revamp of the illustrious hotel will now welcome guests for the next 100 years.