As the Rushkinoff-emboldened mating season picks up pace in Magaluf, we’d like to introduce you to the real Mallorca. A Mallorca of jagged green landscapes, charming coastal roads, hairpin bends and winding descents. One of milk-and-honey hued villages, rising mountain ranges and cerulean-coloured waters. All sounds rather road-trip worthy, right? That’s because it is…
Sa Calobra’s Ma-2141 – a serpentine-like drive from the coast to the clouds – saw Scotland’s famous Bealach na Bà, and raised it better views, curvier corners and fewer caravans. Then there’s the mountainous routes through the Serra de Tramuntana, the sinious stretch from Sóller to Pollença, and the Ma-10 between Deià and Banyabufar – you get the drift. And remember: this is a road trip set to a sleepier beat, the sort that requires little planning. So fire up those engines, road-trip lovers, here’s where to stay in Mallorca.
FOR CRUISING IN NEUTRAL
Ivory, taupe and light wood grace the white-washed walls of this former convent, a masterpiece of neutral, muted tones in Palma’s old town. Thick wooden doors keep things hush-hush (a good night’s sleep is likely, if not assured), and the finca-inspired rooms feature gigantic beds, lavish linens and a bath tub big enough for two. Most bedrooms have a private terrace for a breezy pre-dinner apértif or cosy up in one of the fireplace-facing linen bean bags at the bar – either way, with a Capritx de Menorca cocktail in hand, it’s what the sisters would have wanted.
The breakdown The rooftop terrace and pool come with views of the cathedral and Castell de Bellver, but your immediate surroundings are the tranquil historic quarter. The vaulted Art Bar is flashy despite having once been the monastery’s refectory – squashy sofas and splashes of colour contrast with the off-white walls. The restaurant menu changes weekly, but always features haute-Mallorcan dishes served at candlelit tables.
Call shotgun on A private session in the former crypt, now a stone-walled, low-ceilinged spa with dramatic arches, a sauna and steam room.
FOR COASTLINE COASTING
Within a flor de sal throw of the white sands of Es Trenc is Fontsanta: a 19th century country house with secluded terraces, glorious green grounds and sun-soaked poolside loungers. The stone walls and curved archways sit on the natural salt marshes of Es Salobrar – which are put to good use in the spa’s thermal saline pools, prized for their healing properties. Equally restorative, however, is an afternoon swinging sedately in a string hammock in the fragrant (and perfectly manicured) garden.
The breakdown Fontsanta is on Mallorca’s south-east coast, between Campos and Colonia Sant Jordi port. You’re a 15-minute cycle from Es Trenc beach, and there are three pools in the grounds: a thermal plunger in the atmospheric old spa, and two outdoor, unheated pools primed for summer. A gym, sauna, steam room and three treatment rooms add even more ‘well’ to the ‘wellness’ – but none more so, perhaps, than the fact that this is an adults-only hotel. The restaurant is big on hearty Mediterranean flavours – try lobster ravioli, red prawn caviar, fried sweet chilli peppers, suckling pig and roasted corn with smoked butter.
Call shotgun on A table on the alfresco terrace, shaded from the midday sun by a roof of vines.
FOR A PRIVATE PIT STOP
Worry not about privacy at ivy-wrapped Finca Serena – the 40-hectares of grounds and secluded, stand-alone suites more than cater for a see-nobody, hear-nobody stay (bar the barman, naturally). Opt for one of the artfully adapted outhouses: they’re decked out in earthy tones of stone, white and mole-grey, with hand-made ceramics, thick rugs, reclaimed wooden tables and wicker baskets adding character. Take a novel to your veranda’s hammock, or to one of many shady corners amid the vineyards, fruit orchards and olive groves.
The breakdown You’re in the island’s agricultural heartland here. The driveway is lined with jacaranda, olive, cypress, lemon and orange trees, the roads are quiet save for the occasional tractor, and the skyline comprises of wonky windmills. There are a few homely tavernas in Sineu and Porreres, but there’s plenty on the estate to be getting on with first. Visit the former cowshed for Natura Bissé treatments plus a sauna, hammam, heated pool, gym and roaring fireplace with bucolic views. Much of the produce plated in the Jacaranda restaurant is grown in the grounds – either in the orchards, groves or the three organic vegetable gardens – if not, local producers are chosen. The menu, therefore, changes almost daily depending on the fruits of the farmers’ labour.
Call shotgun on One of the weekly vineyard suppers, for dining under the stars. Ask about the daily classes, too: yoga, pilates and tai chi are on rotation.
FOR THE SCENIC ROUTE
Hideaways in the hills don’t get much more historic than Son Brull: a former Arabic farmhouse and Jesuit monastery (not at the same time, mind). Bedroom shutters frame views of the tree-studded grounds, mountains and vineyards – crisp white wines and a cava are produced on site.
The spa, impressive though it is (sauna, steam bath, cold water plunge pool, solarium and yoga studio), is secondary to nature here. Palm-shaded patches beckon for a siesta and the gardens are planted with roses, jasmine and giant blue agapanthus flowers. For the best of both, opt for a double lounger facing the tree-lined, cerulean-tiled pool.
The breakdown A five-minute drive will get you to pretty Pollença, allow a further 10 to get to the port. The hotel is at the foothills of Puig de Maria and the Serra de Tramuntana mountain range, but the impossibly-blue waters of cala de Sant Vicenc are a short drive away, too. Son Brull’s bistro is cosy, with dark woods, white walls and low beams. The menu focuses on local dishes, seasonal produce and the bounties of nearby farms – feast on breads, hams and cheeses before retiring to a low-lying Scandinavian chair in the candlelit bar.
Call shotgun on A bike for exploring the grounds and nearby hills (hello again, calves); tennis rackets for a bat back and forth on the court.
FOR A CHANGE OF GEAR
‘Me-time’ is as good as law at LJs Ratxo, an off-grid eco-finca west of Palma. Spend the morning by the mountain-facing pool, keeping one eye on the wild goats and preening peacocks foraging in the forest undergrowth. This finca doesn’t take its eco tag lightly: garden-fresh ingredients are plated up in the restaurant; water is collected from the mountains and filtered for drinking; and in-house carpenters transform discarded forest timber into boho-chic lamps, rustic signs, tables and more.
The breakdown The mediaeval estate sits in 2.5 square kilometres of pine and oak forests in the lush mountains of Mallorca’s Serra de Tramuntana range. There are plenty of hiking trails nearby, plus vineyards within driving distance – the fruits of which can also be found on the extensive wine lists at the hotel restaurants. Opt for Arratxa’s open kitchen, terrace and barbecue in summer, or Roots in winter – an indoor eatery built into the mountain.
Call shotgun on The Royal Suite, complete with four terraces, hot tub and private mountain pool.
FOR THE LAST LEG
Island explored, beaches bathed at and mountains walked up – it’s back to Palma for one last night in the Balearics. Concepció by Nobis ticks the Mallorcan old town and Swedish-simplicity boxes; its façade all white-washed walls, jade-green shutters and charcoal-black framed glass windows. Green and white tiles line the reception area, stone archways frame the restaurant tables and the courtyard plunge pool elicits plenty of ‘oooh’s’ and ‘aaah’s’.
The breakdown This former soap factory is on the edge of the old town and Santa Catalina. Nordic furnishings feature in rooms (woven headboards by Gemla Fabrikers, lighting by Le Klint), plus high ceilings, black beams and ample natural light, but bathrooms are stocked with equally stylish wares (Byredo Mojave Ghost body wash and Sundazed eau de parfum, no less). Dinners are taken in Xalest. Ask the in-house sommelier about the perfect vino pairing for the Mallorcan croquettes, arrós brut gyoza and oxtail ravioli.
Call shotgun on A schvitz in the fine-and-Scandi hotel sauna.
Still got some miles left in the tank? Plot a route to even more Balearic hotels