A Divine Slice of 'Beefa'; the Stunning Finca Where Ava Gardner Partied - Being Sold by an Atomic Kitten

The Mail on Sunday (London, England), December 1, 2013 | Go to article overview

A Divine Slice of 'Beefa'; the Stunning Finca Where Ava Gardner Partied - Being Sold by an Atomic Kitten


Byline: Jessie Hewitson

THERE'S no escaping the fact that Ibiza has something of a reputation for partying - and its association with the high life is nothing new. In the 1960s and 1970s, the jet-set would often make a bee-line for the island - nicknamed Beefa by its thousands of fans - to party at a stunning finca.

At the time, the property was owned by entrepreneur and socialite Gerry Albertini - known for throwing wild parties - and his guests ranged from Orson Welles and Ava Gardner to the Shah of Iran and his wife. In the background at some of those parties was Vicente Juan, cocktail shaker in hand.

Back then he was a barman with a dream that one day he would own the property. He became a hotelier and, in the late 1980s, he fulfilled his ambition. Since then he has slowly restored the finca to its luxurious best. Now, with the help of his daughter-in-law, former Atomic Kitten singer Jenny Frost, he is selling the property - for [euro]6million ([pounds sterling]5million). Jenny married Vicente's son, a Spanish diving-school owner also called Vicente, in 2011, and the couple currently live five minutes away with their ten-month-old twin daughters.

Jenny's original plan was to turn the house into a secluded luxury boutique hotel. Having toured the world with Atomic Kitten, staying in some of the best hotels during her career with the girl band, she knew exactly what she wanted. 'I had mood boards coming out of my ears - then I got pregnant and was so sick throughout the pregnancy that I couldn't wash my hair let alone open a hotel. Also, I found out I was having twins. All the big dreams got changed. The hotel idea wasn't realistic - I couldn't put my heart and energy into it, because I was and still am up to my eyes in babies.'

The villa is well known on Ibiza. Can Sa Roca is both one of the largest properties on the island and one of the oldest, at more than 300 years old. Just outside the town of San Antonio, it was originally an oil mill, but it is most renowned for the social scene that centred on it in the 1960s and 1970s. While Orson Welles was there he wrote part of his last major movie, F For Fake, about art forger Elmyr de Hory, who lived on Ibiza.

'The parties in the 1960s must have been so debauched - if only the walls could talk,' says Jenny. 'I imagine all these beautiful Hollywood stars laughing around the pool. The history intrigues me: going into the house you can just imagine someone walking down the stairs in a sweeping kaftan.' The finca's entranceway leads to a sweeping staircase - in true Dallas style - and a courtyard garden beyond. …

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