If you lived on the island of Ibiza during the early 1970s, then you may well know and have witnessed the ‘Sanwald-Steeb’ family business evolution.
Now, proud owners of five successful companies here in Ibiza, collectively known as ‘Samos Group’, the Sanwald-Steeb family business started their journey with humble and admirable beginnings.
It all began with Roland and Sigrid, who as a young couple, left their hometown in Germany to relocate and settle down in Ibiza, leaving life as they knew it behind.
Roland was studying engineering, and Sigrid, a translator in English and French, initially came to Ibiza to study Spanish, in 1973. With island tourism on the rise, and as a means of survival, Roland and Sigrid decided to take a huge leap of faith and take on the challenge of moving overseas, making the most of the opportunities the island had to offer.
In 1976 the couple permanently moved to Ibiza together, and started their own Beach Bar Chiringuito and Restaurant, ‘Mar Azul’ in Siesta.
With a lot of hard work and tremendous effort, the independent beach bar soon became very successful, with much tourism and local custom. Roland and Sigrid found another opportunity two years later for a second hospitality venue. So, in 1978, a new project formatted, ‘Samovar Cafe and Bar’, and it wasn’t the only ‘new project’ on their hands either. This was the year of baby Alexandra Sanwald-Steeb.
Samovar was the new quirky local spot to come and enjoy refreshing beverages and some wonderfully created cocktails in Siesta. The new business escalated quickly, becoming a very popular outlet, and so the next logical step was to sell ‘Mar Azul’ (1980) and focus all efforts and hard work into ‘Samovar Bar and Cafe’, with a new concept of a Creperie.
The hard work paid off. Within no time Samovar soon became a full daytime and evening local restaurant.
In 1982 along came the next addition to the family, Daniel Sanwald-Steeb. It was at this very moment Samovar Restaurant extended its facilities and increased in numbers, now catering for 120 people. With two children under the age of five years, Roland and Sigrid needed all the help they could get, and so both sets of grandparents packed up and set off for life with the family in Ibiza.
It was here, the family business was about to turn a corner and enter into a new phase. Grandma was an expert at baking cakes, special gateaux, and farmer’s bread. Utilising Grandma’s expertise, Samovar added six delicious cakes to their daily menu.
The results were unimaginable, and success became bigger every single year. Effectively, the restaurant extended into a local pasteleria, and by 1987 the family was delivering their delicious and highly sought-after cakes to different locations across the island. Grandma was the beginning of the family’s Pasteleria Alemana.
Samovar established itself as a full Mediterranean Restaurant, and the small Pasteleria eventually turned into a little local Bakery, producing plenty of healthy German loaves of bread and cakes to the local community.
The year 1996 presented a fabulous opportunity to the Sanwald-Steeb family. Directly next door, the small local store came up for sale, which was an ideal scenario for expanding into an official bakery and increasing their business margins. The family imported a traditional bakery and pastry counter from Germany, and they opened a brand new delicatessen, official bakery, and supermarket, right next door to Samovar Restaurant, Siesta.
The decision to advance into a fully-fledged bakery was difficult and drastic. However, motivated by the success of Grandma’s home-made cakes, the family instinctively knew their authentic natural sourdough and farmer bread, alongside brand new industrial ovens, was well worth the risk to become the island’s very first PASTELERIA ALEMANA.
The risk proved to be worthwhile, day and night people would gather in crowds at Samovar whether to socialise, dine, or get their local products and daily fresh bread.
Time had passed, and Alexandra (Daughter) returned back from abroad after studying hospitality in Stuttgart and completing her degree in Business and Hotel Management with EuStudies in Hotelfachschule Bad Überkingen (2000). It was a natural decision to return home to the family business, and after 7 years in Germany, Ibiza was calling.
With her new skill-set and knowledge, she was determined to make the family business grow. Alex initiated a new, wider range of loaves of bread, specifically focusing on high-end gastronomy, adapting to the trending culinary world. She focused solely on combining traditional methods of producing bread, with contemporary recipes, as well as building on brand creation with digitalisation and modern packaging.
Daniel (Son) later followed the same course in 2006, after his studies abroad and working overseas in China. For Daniel, returning to the family business was also a natural course of action. From a young age, like many children raised by parents running their own business in hospitality, his career started with dishwashing during the summer holidays, moving up the ladder to becoming a barman, waiter, delivery driver, bakery shop salesman, and shop manager, collecting valuable work experience along the way.
Daniel went to Valencia to study business admin based on the tourism industry, with the initial plan to return to the island and continue working for the family business. However, curiosity took his attention to Hong Kong, followed by China, as his next step to gain alternative work experience.
It was the perfect mix between learning more about business management and perceiving the world from a different perspective. His six-month internship extended into a three-year continuous challenge before he decided to return to Ibiza.
Very shortly after Daniel’s return, in 2007, the siblings were presented with the opportunity to lease a beach restaurant directly on Playa Niu Blau. The owner was impressed by their new knowledge, skills, and expertise in hospitality. Overwhelmed by the idea, with personal childhood memories of spending long summer days at this simple beach chiringuito, ordering ‘Pan Aioli’ and regular coke, both Daniel and Alexandra were ready to take on the challenge and use their studies and work experience to reinvent their favourite island restaurant. Here was the beginning of Pura Vida Beach Restaurant, Santa Eulalia del Rio.
Initial feelings were obviously surreal, a dream come true, but both young and ambitious, the siblings headhunted two motivated chefs from Valencia and with their innovative ideas, implementing molecular cooking techniques, paired with traditional dishes, as their opening beach restaurant menu.
Perhaps a little advanced for Ibiza’s usual culinary style, Pura Vida found their identity in simple high quality, raw materials, creative Mediterranean cooking, all delivered at a reasonable price, and soon made a name for their gastronomic flair. It was a difficult start, but slowly over time, Pura Vida was well-known across the island as a kitchen with passion, serving beautifully 24hr slow-cooked lamb and gin and tonic desserts.
By 2008 the family business was unstoppable, opening another small bakery in Santa Eulalia and later (2013) expanding to a larger location, and extending into a Delicatessen and Cafeteria. The small supermarket started importing many quality German products for the local German community, however, over time, it became apparent the entire community was enticed by their line of imported goods. Samos Deli became, and still is the perfect setting to sit down for breakfast, or lunch and enjoy island life with friends over a warm coffee and spectacular pastries and baked goods.
In 2009, Alexandra Sanwald-Sixt (wife of Daniel) joined the family and created a PR and Wedding Planning Service within Pura Vida Beach Restaurant. Alexandra was the perfect entrepreneurial lead for events at Pura Vida. Her dual training as a specialist in European hotel management, apprenticeship as a publishing clerk, studies in PR, owning her company in marketing and sponsoring, and landing her dream job as a junior project manager for an event, communication & design agency, meant her skills and knowledge brought great results in a very short period of time.
Alexandra quickly networked across the island and established Pura Vida as a recognised beach wedding location, taking over 25 bookings within her first season.
After 5 years of successful wedding planning in Pura Vida, Alex took her service as a wedding planner to the next level. She wanted to ensure her expertise, skills, and services were available to all couples, despite their location choice. She quickly became renowned on the island as the wedding planning service with a difference, high in quality, and delivering a personalised experience from a wealth of PR and event management experience.
In 2014 Alexandra officially began Ma Cherie Weddings Ibiza Agency, the very same year as her firstborn son.
The business creativity did not stop there either. By 2015, Daniel found a niche in the market for high-quality wedding catering to deliver to Ma Cherie Weddings, which led directly to starting ‘The Ibiza Catering’.
The Ibiza Catering was rendered a necessity, that soon became a new passion. From Pura Vida Beach Restaurant, through to Ma Cherie Ibiza Weddings, the Sawald-Steeb family business was now knee-deep in the events world. Requests and enquiries were piling up for additional catering from both Pura Vida and Samos Deli, and Ma Cherie needed a trustful partner.
The family had the right infrastructure in place, however, catering presented itself as a complicated and challenging industry. Samos Group embraced the idea and built a team and a brand delivering quality cuisine and professional hospitality standards with a passion to ‘get it right’.
In 2019, Samovar’s traditional family restaurant was renovated and refurbished with a new concept as ‘The Village – Bar & Restaurant’.
Samovar had encountered many changes over the past 40 years it was open, however, it was time for a complete ‘face-lift’ with a new gastronomic approach and new Restaurant.
The Village is a place for the local community and visitors alike to come together and celebrate island life here in Ibiza over a glass of wine, snacks, and sharing meals. It’s ‘community-get-together’ ethos is inspired by its original Samovar ambience, developed a long-time ago by Ronald and Sigrid.
Samovar is where Alexandra and Daniel spent their childhood and has been their living room for many years, and that is the living room they still want to share with their guests, maybe with someone else taking over the dishwashing from time to time. Back to homemade traditional food, eaten around the large central olive tree, purposely placed to create a local village feeling.
You will often see the family there together, with Roland and Sigrid, playing with their grandchildren and enjoying a well-deserved meal with all the family. The family business is a result of Roland and Sigrid’s hard-work, passion, dedication, tremendous outlook (even during the most challenging of times), discipline, courage, ability to rise after defeat, with persistent, commitment, and perseverance over the past 45 years, which is certainly not overlooked, but with all the love in the world, the siblings and extended family are eternally grateful for the foundations of Samos Group which started many moons ago.