Neutral-hued Fontsanta Hotel, Thermal Spa & Wellness in Mallorca is a soulful spa stay set close by the island’s best-looking beach and the saline mounds of Es Salobrar. Admire the wild Balearic landscape, then soak yourself serene in thermal waters first used by the Romans.
Thirty-seven, including nine suites and a villa with a private pool.
Noon. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from £253.39 (€280), including tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional room tax of €4.40 per person per night on check-out.
Rates usually include buffet breakfast.
At the hotel
Gardens, free WiFi throughout, bikes to hire, one free transfer to Es Trenc beach. In rooms: flatscreen TV, minibar, bottled water and L'Occitane bath products.
Our favourite rooms
For its natural light, privacy-affording terrace and views of Es Salobrar, we like Room 14. We’re fans of Room 22 too, for its wooden beams, space and secluded terrace. It also mixes up the hotel’s neutral colour palette with artworks in bold shades of burnt orange (painted by one of the owners’ daughters).
Three: the thermal pool in the atmospheric old spa, and two unheated outdoor pool. There are also four Jacuzzis (ask to book a private Jacuzzi session for two) and a scattering of day-beds.
Fontsanta’s spa makes much of the thermal waters that spring from underground aquifers at a balmy 38ºC. They’re a mineral-rich cocktail of sodium and chlorine salts magnesium, calcium, sulphur, potassium and more. As well as the hot springs, the spa has three treatment rooms, a Jacuzzi, sauna, steam room and gym.
Don’t forget your spa gear to try out waters that have been soothing people since the Romans; save room for some tins of local sea salt – way better than a souvenir thimble.
An extra guest can stay in some rooms (or up to two extra guests in the Luxury Villa) for €150 a person a night.
This is one for the grown-ups; no under-18s allowed.
Ask for a table near the glass-fronted kitchen so you can watch the chefs at work.
Stick to muted tones of oatmeal, white and grey if you fancy fitting in with your surroundings… or, don something bright if you'd rather stand out.
The wooden-beamed restaurant is in a separate building, with stone arches, beige walls and linen, and its own terrace facing out to Es Salobrar. Expect hearty Mediterranean and Mallorcan flavours, with sea salt (flor de sal) from the saline ponds down the road used in dishes such as lobster ravioli and steak with peppers, Cabrales cheese and rosemary. Don’t miss the pancakes with melted dark chocolate at breakfast.
Settle in at sundown for a cocktail – the bar has an impressive list of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic combinations, using ingredients plucked straight from the gardens. If you're peckish, a menu of snacks is served from 1pm to 10pm, and includes local specialities like Iberian ham and Menorcan cheese.
Head down for breakfast on the terrace from 8am until 11am. The restaurant serves lunch from 1pm until 4pm; dinner starts at 7pm (7.30pm in high season) and stops at 10pm (10.30pm in high season)
A selection of salads, soups, burgers and sandwiches can be ordered up any time between noon and 10.30pm.
Fontsanta Hotel is in Campos in southern Mallorca, overlooking the salt flats of Es Salobrar and close to the nature-reserve beach of Es Trenc…
The nearest airport is in Palma, served by British Airways (www.ba.com) and EasyJet (www.easyjet.com). It’s a 40-minute drive from the hotel.
The drive to the centre of Palma should take around 45 minutes. There’s free parking at the hotel. From the airport, follow the motorway towards Santanyi for roughly 20 kilometres. When you reach the first roundabout, follow the signs for Campos. Once there, continue straight towards Colonia Sant Jordi until you reach Fontsanta on the right.
Worth getting out of bed for
The hotel might be modern, but the spa and its thermal waters have been around for a while – soak in original baths from the mid-19th century. The region is famed for its salt, fresh from the mounds at Es Salobrar – there’s a shop and factory nearby where cooks can stock up and try before they buy. Take a boat over to rocky national park Cabrera, the main island of the namesake archipelago, to see the 14th-century castle, spot seabirds and lizards, and scuba-dive submarine archaeological sites. Boats depart from Colonia Sant Jordi and Portopetro in summer. Walk from Colonia Sant Jordi to Es Carbo beach to escape the crowds, or see why Es Trenc is considered one of the island’s best beaches – white sands, turquoise seas and its own nudist zone. The hotel owns a charming stone hut – known as Es Refugi – which is hidden between the pines that lead to a quiet stretch of sand. Groups of up to eight can hire it by the day (or more if the hotel's van makes a second trip), but even if it’s just the two of you, you’ll have full use of its lounge areas, hammocks and alfresco showers. The house will be stocked with drinks and snacks ahead of your arrival, and you’ll be a five-minute stroll from the water. Horse riding and cycle trips can also be arranged. Visit sister hotel Can Simoneta, which has private access to the sea and is near to peaceful Mallorca beaches and golf courses, or hop between the trio of pools and stellar spa at Hotel Pleta de Mar.
In Campos, for good-value local cuisine in a cheerful setting, try Can Calent (+34 971 651445) on Ronda Estacio, or for something international, with a German slant, head to Moli de Vent(+34 971 160441) on Calle Norte. Club Nautico(+34 971 640413) in Sa Rapita is known for its views, but the seafood isn’t bad, either. In Ses Salines, Casa Manolo (+34 971 649130) is your place for authentic tapas and other specialities, such as salt-baked fish. Book a table at sister hotel Convent de la Missió's Michelin-starred Simply Fosh restaurant.
Enjoy a café con leche at Cassai (+34 971 649721; www.cassai.es) on Calle Sitjar in Ses Salines, and stick around for supper if you’re still in the area at nightfall.
In the early days of knowing Mrs Smith, courtship typically involved a few rounds of Sambuca and the chivalrous offer of sharing a taxi home. These days it involves a boutique trip to Mallorca, gourmet dinner, a fluffy mountain of white dressing gowns, and any number of elaborate therapeutic spa treatments. But hey, she loved it; it worked for me; everyone is happy.
If you like the pared-down luxe of sister property Can Simoneta, you’ll love Fontsanta's similar stylings: artworks aside, the brightest colour is white, with beige, grey and taupe taking supporting roles. Everything is both natural and Mallorcan, and the calm, clutter-free design means an air of stillness pervades – and it’s adults-only, so noise levels are capped at reasonable limits.
So content on our anniversary weekend was Mrs Smith that when the maître d’ of at the Fontsanta Hotel shook our hands on our first evening, she introduced herself by name and, for a moment, I thought she was going to invite the poor man to join us for dinner. Maintaining his cool, he enquired whether we might like a drink. A fine idea. Now, these are the kind of decisions I like. Gone, for a blissful few days, were the mundane decisions of home life, and whose turn it is to change a nappy. Instead we luxuriated in choosing between mojito or caipirinha, Pimm’s No 1 or gin fizz. This was more like it. The dining at Fontsanta is formal, amid a pale modern decor, central fireplace, high arches and a smart wooden-beamed ceiling – there is no piped pop music, table conversation is quiet and the waiters are attentive but discreet. The pick of our excellent tapas? The prawns baked in oil and garlic and the enjoyable roulette of Pimientos de Padrón, fried sweet chilli peppers.
Outside, the grounds are just as peaceful, where hammocks swing in the sweet-scented gardens and plump daybeds line the pool. I opened the windows to our room to only the sound of fountains and the warm scent of lavender and pine drifted in from the gardens. The night was still and dark. On the walls was a triumvirate of large paintings depicting a grey sky with stars peeping through scudding clouds. This was not a room where you lay in bed thinking, ‘Goodness, that needs a clean. I would definitely change the curtains. Maybe I should move that bit of furniture over there to help the feng shui.’ Such thoughts are never mine, but from experience I know that this is where Mrs Smith’s mind can drift. With nothing to clean, move or redecorate, Mrs Smith could give me her full and undivided attention.
During one of the weekend’s many moments of idle reflection, I thought of the famously elaborate courting ritual of the male bird of paradise. Mrs Smith does not like to be outdone, not even by a tropical bird. It seemed I had yet to prove myself further, for in the morning she announced that we would be tackling the spa circuit… ‘together’. This filled me with a degree of horror. However, I donned my dressing gown and strode boldly into the new world of vaporiums.
I must confess that I enjoyed the spa far more than I envisaged. The saline pools and subterranean thermal waters of the area have been popular for their healing properties for hundreds of years. Though the Fontsanta Hotel was refurbished in 2012, its modern veneer sits comfortably with the atmosphere and style of the 1869 sandstone villa and old stone chambers. The restorative waters will ease any creaks; if they’re not enough, the indulgent treatments should do the trick. Those Romans were no fools: if they believed these waters to be beneficial, they’ve probably got a point.
Suitably relaxed, we ventured on a few short outings. We borrowed pleasingly old-fashioned bicycles – curved handlebars, shiny metal bell – and sallied forth, dinging our bells happily together. The pretty beach at Es Trenc is a gentle 15-minute ride away down a quiet lane, meandering past great mounds of salt and the shallow pools that the famous local salt is extracted from. As it was November, there was no dilemma for us as whether to partake in the nudist section of the beach or not.
We explored the village of Port d’Andratx, whose glamorous villas pile up the hillsides of the curved bay. I even dragged Mrs Smith on a cross-country hike to the clear-blue waters of the Mondrago Natural Park; Mrs Smith seemed more taken with the agreeable Saturday market in the old streets of Santanyi. Mallorca is compact and even the capital Palma is an easy drive away. In winter it is quiet but the climate is pleasant and it proved perfect for an off-season break.
Truthfully, perhaps some of the hotel’s more exquisite, expensive touches were lost on me, but with her eye for detail, they were savoured by Mrs Smith. She purred with pleasure at the lavender gardens and the thermal baths, Bulgari bath products, the glass-topped tree-trunk coffee tables and the chilled bottle of Cava at breakfast. And, if it gets Mrs Smith in the mood, well it sure as hell works for me.