» Property in Majorca: House of solitude

Property in Majorca: House of solitude

The Deia retreat where Garcia Marquez wrote his masterpiece is for sale, writes Zoe Dare Hall

Solitude is hard to find on a small island, but in Deia on Majorca's northern ridge, the Nobel prize-winning Colombian author Gabriel Garcia Marquez found inspiration for one of his greatest works.

"Marquez used to stay in this house, Can Blau, in the 1960s and 1970s when visiting his friend Claribel Alegria, a Nicaraguan poet who raised her family here. While he was here, it's believed he was writing One Hundred Years of Solitude," says Stephen Thompson, the current owner of Can Blau.

The 14th-century stone house is set in the heart of the mountain village whose unspoilt charm and natural beauty has seen creative spirits from Robert Graves and Kingsley Amis to Bob Geldof and Mick Jagger seek refuge there.

Stephen, 56, a financial adviser, and his wife Christine, 55, a travel agent, from Stainburn in North Yorkshire, bought Can Blau from Claribel Alegria in 2003.

"We had been visiting Deia for 15 years, having fallen in love with the scenery, the artistic feel and the unspoilt beauty. We promised ourselves that one day we would buy a holiday home there," says Stephen.

That day came when a local property manager found them Can Blau - so called because of its blue shutters, a rarity in the village. "We could see that the house had great potential, as it's south-facing with views across the village and mountains, but it needed fully restoring," says Stephen.

Two days after the builders started the £200,000 job, "they sent us photos showing that the house had been virtually demolished inside. Every wooden floor and beam had to be removed as they were rotten and they spent the next six months restoring the house from top to bottom. We also changed the ground floor kitchen to a more spacious one on the third floor, which opens on to the terrace, where you get the most spectacular views of the mountains and their changing colours."

Little has changed in Deia since the Thompsons started visiting. "The village is still very traditional. There is no new development apart from the odd infill where a house has been knocked down and there is no high rise," says Stephen, whose house is a 20-minute walk from the sea and is now on the market for €1.1m (£860,000) with Short Cuts Property Search (www.shortcutspropertysearch.com, 0034 651 984 163).

If they can achieve the asking price, their investment will have been a superb one. Majorca is just about the only place in Spain to remain resilient in times of economic crisis, and prices in Deia, while now stabilising, have risen by up to 20 per cent a year for the past five years.

"Planning restrictions are incredibly tight in Deia. Hardly any permission is given for new build, the style of building and all renovations are strictly monitored, only traditional materials can be used, and all houses must have stone facades. Even the colour of the shutters can only be decided by the town hall," says Jan Pratt from Short Cuts Property Search. "It is a very protected village in every respect. There is no area for coaches to park anywhere near, so it never feels overrun by tourists. Deia also has the celebrity cachet, you can walk to pretty little coves with fish restaurants right on the sea, and it's only half an hour's drive to Palma."

Demand is high for large houses, starting at £2.5 million, and those in need of renovation from £775,000. "But demand always outstrips supply," says Jan. "I picked a client up from the airport at 11am. By 12, she had decided which house she wanted to buy and had cancelled all other viewings. It's that sort of a place. You can fall in love very quickly."

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