Mallorca’s luxury villas and boutique hotels vary almost as much as the island itself: there are hip, minimal fincas, traditional townhouses and mountain retreats aplenty. Palma is the island’s self-assured capital, where yachts and cocktails cohabit happily with ancient winding streets beneath the towering, pink-hued Gothic cathedral. Escape the 21st century on the dramatic north coast or among the Serra de Tramuntana mountains; and head to the hilltop village of Deià for its literary credentials and insouciant elegance.
When to go
The temperature rarely dips below 30ºC in summer, when the island gets very busy. Autumn is less hectic and the water is at its warmest. In winter and spring, Mallorca is mild, sunny and peaceful.
PlanesPalma airport (+34 971 789099) is 10km south of the capital city – the drive to the centre shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes. Monarch (www.monarch.co.uk) flies to Palma three times a week from London Gatwick and Manchester.
BoatsThere are several ferry services to the mainland: Barcelona (4hrs); Valencia (6hrs). See www.trasmediterranea.es for details.
TrainsThere are two railway lines from Palma, one heads north-east to Inca, and the other heads north to Sóller. If you take the vintage electric train from Palma to Sóller, then you can enjoy the scenic route from there to Port de Sóller by tram.
AutomobilesDriving is a breeze on this island, and roads are well signposted. Avis (www.avis.com) has care hire branches in various locations on the island.
TaxisCabs are cheap and easy to find in Palma itself, but you’re better off hiring a car if you plan to do any longer journeys around the island.
If you have new-season swimwear to show off that is best accessorised by a 19th-century Mallorcan fort (every good bikini needs battlements for a backdrop), Cap Rocat is the place to do it. High in drama, blessed with sweeping sea views and radiating exclusivity from drawbridge to turret, it’s a secluded, adults-only hideaway, where supermodels and super yachters go for superlative service and one of the sexiest poolsides on the Med.
After-dark holiday entertainment needn’t mean sangria-crawls down the Magaluf mile, especially when you’ve got the cocktail-clinking of Palma’s Old Town a few miles up the Mallorcan coast: book a place among the beautiful people at Puro Hotel’s buzzy, DJ-soundtracked beach club. Sunsets at San Giorgio in Mykonos are crowd-pullingly spectacular, but that’s not the end of the entertainment, rather an invitation to dance the night away under the stars. Glamourpusses: dress up in your designer best for martinis in Miami or champagne in St Tropez.
The man behind the kitchens of 17th-century rural estate Predi San Jaumell in Mallorca may have been born in the Balearics, but his culinary travels have taken him all over the world (via a three-season stint at El Bulli). Here in the Mallorcan countryside, he has precision-crafted a small but explosively flavoursome menu that takes island ingredients (home-grown olive oil, fish fresh from the coast, bread from the hotel’s own wheat fields) and turns them into contemporary culinary masterpieces. At an astonishingly good-value €38, his tasting menu is unmissable.
The only natural thermal spa on the Balearic Islands, Font Santa is a soothing minimalist sanctuary on on Mallorca’s southern coast. Hammocks swing in the sweet-scented gardens, plump day-beds line the pool, and the calm, clutter-free design means an air of stillness pervades. Plus, the hotel is adults-only, so the there’s no danger of youngsters bursting the couple-y bubble. The Junior Suite has a king-sized bed draped in muslin and a terrace overlooking the scenic saline flats Es Trenc-Salobrar, ideally enjoyed over a sunset cocktail for two.