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Marco Schiralli - Gecko Hotel & Beach Club. The most authentic Formentera experience

Marco Schiralli - Gecko Hotel & Beach Club. The most authentic Formentera experience

Marco Schiralli © ffmag

Sharpen all your senses, allowing yourself to be intoxicated by the sounds of nature, the sea breeze on your skin, the magnificent image of the turquoise waters lapping at the idyllic Migjorn beach and the exquisite aromas and flavours of Mediterranean gastronomy. Stop time, disconnect and enjoy an experience of complete wellness. Gecko Hotel & Beach Club proposes a journey back in time to enjoy Formentera’s most authentic side. So says the establishment’s manager, the Italian Marco Schiralli (Trani, Apulia, 1976), who, after living in Ibiza for 20 years, two years ago succumbed to the charms of the slow life on the smallest of the Pityusic Islands.


What is it about Formentera that Italians love so much? What brought you to the island?
Yes, I’m the only Italian in Formentera, there aren’t any more... (he jokes). I come from having lived before in Ibiza for 20 years. The Gecko Hotel & Beach Club project came about thanks to the Marugal group from Mallorca, which manages more than 14 hotels in Spain. I liked it because Gecko is a leading hotel on the island. The island has changed somewhat, attracting the types of customers that did not come to Formentera before. It’s a unique place…


What do you like most about Formentera?
Formentera is the last paradise in the Mediterranean. An island with a very slow pace. There’s no traffic, you can really enjoy the calm and the tranquillity. Many people are coming to work remotely on the island. And we see this more and more year upon year at the hotel as well, especially in the off-season months when we have guests coming to do remote jobs from here.

Formentera is the last paradise in the Mediterranean


How would you describe Gecko’s customers?
We have to distinguish between the hotel and the restaurant. At the hotel and at the beach club, most of our customers are Spanish as well as lots of British, American, French, German and Italian customers. The clientele is very international. At the restaurant, although I think Gecko is very popular with foreign customers, we have a large local clientele. Because our food is traditional Mediterranean cuisine with some international influence. Our specialities are fish and rice dishes cooked according to Mediterranean tradition.

How important is the restaurant to Gecko Hotel & Beach Club?
It is very important. The restaurant is open to all and prices are affordable for the quality we offer. We are not a Michelin star restaurant. We are a restaurant where you can enjoy the good life by the sea. We also holds lots of events at Gecko and gastronomy plays a very important role at all of them (weddings, themed dinners, romantic meals, etc.). Our atmosphere is very flexible and adapts to lots of types of occasions.

Dishes of Restaurant Gecko Hotel, Formentera

What new features in terms of food can we find at Gecko this season?
Our strong point, which are rice and fish dishes, will remain the same. We have improved our meat dishes a lot this year, offering aged Galician beef as well as pasta dishes, geared especially towards our Italian customers, who want to eat a good pasta with lobster or clams by the sea. We are still doing our legendary fish barbecues by the sea (every Tuesday and Thursday evening) with fish cooked on skewers over firewood the traditional Andalusian way. Preparing fish in this manner is very authentic.

How would you sum up Gecko in just a few words?
Gecko is about relaxation, nature and experiencing Formentera the authentic way. We are very focused on wellness tourism. That’s why we offer activities such as yoga classes.

What is the Gecko Hotel & Beach Club team like?
The have a good core from Gecko’s long-standing team, which has been with Marugal since they started managing the hotel in 2016. The atmosphere is very young and very international, because people come from all over the world to work here. At the restaurant we have chef Juan Diego Craywinckel, who has been at Gecko for 10 years and is our biggest quality guarantee. He’s a really proactive person, who gives a lot of attention to presentation, produce, portions, etc. He maintains the traditional flavours, but, above all, I would like to point out that he is a great teacher, because he is very focused on teaching new generations about every little detail. More than a chef, he is a mentor.

Gecko Hotel terrace restaurant, Formentera

What are your future plans for Gecko?
We want to keep working on our idea of relaxation and wellness. We stand out from all the beach clubs near us because we focus on this, along with chill out music, etc. Customers can find two types of ambience at Gecko: the poolside beach club, which has a vibrant atmosphere, featuring shows, DJs and live music (without interfering with guests’ relaxation). And then we have what we called the “Zen gardens”, where all you can hear is the sea, the birds and the nature. We have a very large programme of activities that take place in this space and all of them revolve around wellness.

What do you think about the rapid development taking place in terms of the island’s gastronomy?
I think that, like in Ibiza, this has been decided by the market itself. Tourists who visit Formentera are now looking for gastronomy of the highest level. Obviously, Formentera’s long-standing clientele looking for sun and beaches still remain, but now we have customers also in search of gourmet cuisine and the renowned chefs who have come to the island. I think that the restaurant scene in Formentera is evolving towards gastronomy with more attention to detail and thoughtfulness.

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