Tucked away on a quiet road in the mountain-valley town of Sóller, this boutique hotel in Mallorca is a breath of cool fresh air. Arty decor and funky lighting play against restored ceiling mouldings and wrought-iron balustrades, giving this 1900s mansion a shot of Ibizan house-party cool. L'Avenida is the perfect location for lazing by the pool, sunsets by the sea, and exploring the jasmine-scented groves of the Tramuntana.
Get this when you book through us:
A bottle of cava on arrival; members booking a Luxury Suite will also get 10 per cent off their lunch bill
Noon, but flexible on request and subject to availability.
Double rooms from £177.74 (€195), including tax at 10 per cent.
Rates include Continental breakfast.
Owners Tania and Paul can arrange fantastic activities, including guided mountain hikes, wine tasting and helicopter tours.
Annually for the winter season, from mid-November until the beginning of February.
At the hotel
Sun terrace, lounge bar, selection of games (Scrabble, backgammon etc). In rooms, minibar, flatscreen TV, WiFi, AC, safe, hand-blended organic toiletries, waffle robes and slippers.
Our favourite rooms
The higher you go, the better the views: try to get a room on the first or second floor for the best mountain-enhanced vistas. Spacious Luxury Suites 3 (first floor) and 7 (second floor) have four-poster beds and freestanding roll-top tubs, and look out across the street to pretty gardens and mountains beyond – the view from Suite 7’s bathroom is our favourite. Junior Suite 2 on the first floor has pool and mountain views through French windows from its king-size, four-poster bed. Of the smaller rooms, we love dinky beamed Standard Double 9 in the attic, and Superior Double 4, with views from its bedroom and bathroom windows. Room 5 is a split-level Mezzanine Double with a platform bed.
The blue-tiled outdoor swimming pool is flanked by black decking dotted with inviting sun-loungers and couches. It’s a little overlooked by neighbouring houses at the back, but you won’t care about that when the sun is out.
In-room aromatherapy, Kama Ayerveda massages and beauty treatments are available – book in advance. There's a small gym on site with a variety of cardio-focused equipment; the gym is used on an exclusive basis so book in advance.
Bikinis and beach kit: the nearest sandy stretch is only 10 minutes away. Trainers/boots for cycling and walking.
There’s a three-night minimum stay in high season.
Over-14s are welcome; however, L’Avenida is more of a grown-up getaway.
The hotel's outdoor L’Avenida Bistro is open for breakfast and lunch 1–3.30pm Monday to Sunday from April to the end of September, and serves an eclectic mix of modern Mediterranean dishes. For dinner, ask the hotel's staff for recommendations: they can often secure reservations at even the hottest local restaurants.
During summer, drinks are served on the terrace overlooking the pool. In winter, sip cocktails in the cosy lounge bar.
Lunch is served 1–3.30pm, Monday to Sunday from April to the end of September
Fly to Palma de Mallorca Airport (also known as Son Sant Joan), which is served by British Airways (www.ba.com), EasyJet (www.easyjet.com) or Monarch Airlines (www.monarch.co.uk). It takes about 25 minutes to get to L’Avenida from the airport by road.
The nearest railway is the beautifully restored Sóller train station, which offers a direct, and spectacular, mountain route to Palma in an antique train. The journey takes around an hour, and a return ticket will set you back €11 or so.
It takes 25 minutes to drive to Palma, and you can park opposite the hotel in a public carpark for €3 a day. Sóller is about 35km north of Palma on the MA-11, otherwise known as the Carretera de Palma al Puerto de Sóller.
Port de Sóller (accessible by foot, or by the endearing little wooden tram you can catch near the hotel) is the departure point for the ferry to Sa Calobra, one of Mallorca’s most spectacular natural attractions.
Worth getting out of bed for
L’Avenida’s owners Tania and Paul can arrange all manner of amazing activities, and work with an excellent selection of companies, including Tramuntana Tours, which provides guided hiking and mountain biking in the mountains of northwest Mallorca. Other options include wine-tasting or helicopter tours, private boat charter, bike hire and gourmet trails around the island. In Sóller, have a quick peek at Sant Bartomeu cathedral: the façade was designed by Rubio, who also created the unique bank building next door. Browse the boutiques along Carrer de san Lluna, off the square: we like Finca Gourmet at number 16 (+34 971 630 253), an artisan deli selling slabs of cocoa for hot chocolate, home-made honey and preserves, olive oils and wine. Across the street, Ca'n Toni Reia has kitsch kitchen supplies and unusual Majorcan ceramics. Heymo at number 13 is the place to go for bargain-priced bags and shoes; once you've got one of those slick patent totes off the shelf, you can pass it off as something much more pricey.
Sóller has plenty of low-key bodegas and cafés if you just fancy a snack, but the port is only a few minutes away by taxi (or a pleasant tram ride) and offers more bang for your buck. Mr & Mrs Smith loved Agapanto’s romantic torchlit patio overlooking the sea on Camino del Faro. The menu features plenty of fresh seafood and fresh takes on traditional classics, and there’s often a live jazz band or a fun brunch event going on. The modern-luxe Bistro at Espléndido Hotelon Es Traves uses local, seasonal ingredients to produce its international menu, and is by far the most stylish-looking option in the port. Es Passeigon the port’s promenade has a German chef, a Spanish wine list and a creative modern Mediterranean menu. Try to get a table in the main room. You're also not far from Ca's Xorcon Carretera de Deia – it's very romantic to dine on this hotel's terrace among candlelit olive trees, and the views at sunset are spectacular.
Sóller’s main square, Plaça Constitucio, is lined with cafés whose tables spill inwards across the flagstones around the gently tinkling fountain. Pick any one and park up with a caffé solo or a glass of something cold. La Vilaat 14 has a pretty art nouveau café; go through to the courtyard restaurant out the back for a lunch of chilled gazpacho, tenderloin carpaccio and jam-packed panini.
Have a few cocktails at Esplendido Hotel’s cool bar and lounge in Sóller’s harbour before pottering along the prom for dinner – get there early to nab one of the cool swivel chairs by the windows, or have an after-dinner drink. Just along the shore, Agapanto is a lovely place for sundowners on a summer’s evening.
We may be embarking on a romantic break in Mallorca, but apparently that doesn’t mean we can’t have a colossal ding-dong on the way to Gatwick airport (but then, we’re the kind of couple who use ‘I hate you’ as a term of endearment). Let’s hope our boutique hotel in Sóller is all it’s cracked up to be, or it could be a very long weekend. I’m already quite hopeful, though: a brief exchange of emails with Tania at L’Avenida hotel means we’re armed with restaurant reservations, massage appointments and a suggested itinerary for our stay. So at least we’ll have fewer things to argue about once we get there.
At 35,000 feet, this Mrs Smith is still sulking, but Mr Smith passes me a Bloody Mary and, by the time the plane is banking over the lush Tramuntana hills and sunny shores of our Balearic-island getaway, incandescent rage is replaced by a happy glow. We’re picked up from Palma airport by Tania’s husband Paul, and his people carrier heads to Mallorca’s sophisticated northwest coast. Maybe it’s because I’m in holiday mood, but the smell in the car makes me think of gin-clear seas and fresh outdoors air. He confesses he’s just spritzed (‘I’ve just spritzed!’), with a blend of juniper berry, black pepper and mandarin oils – made specially for the hotel and used to scent the bedlinen at turn-down time. I think I love L’Avenida already.
Paul chats affably on the 30-minute drive from the airport, describing the landscape as we pass through the tunnel that has only recently made Sóller accessible by road (unless you’re a cycling enthusiast, in which case you have a climb of thigh-burning intensity to contend with). In February, fallen almond blossom carpets the valley in white ‘Mallorquin snow’; soon, spring flowers will reach up to meet branches weighed down by ripe citrus fruits in the orchards. It’s April, and the weather’s beautiful.
We pull up outside a plate-glass door on a flagstone street just beyond Sóller’s pretty town square, where alfresco tables are full of bikers, hikers and shoppers enjoying the late-afternoon sun. Within moments, we’re checked in, bags whisked out of our hands and replaced with chilled face towels and ice-cold drinks – I have champagne; Mr has beer.
Relaxation is clearly the most important thing on the menu at L’Avenida (with tasty tapas and fine wines coming a close second). As we sip our drinks on the balcony overlooking the riad-reminiscent courtyard and proper-swim-sized pool, it’s clear just how much elbow grease has gone into making guests completely oblivious of all the hard work involved; Paul and Tania have done an incredible job of transforming this turn-of-the-century townhouse into a polished modern retreat. The lounge bar has cowhide chairs, leather sofas with laser-cut felt cushions and faux-fur throws you can sink your fingers into; the marble staircase is dressed with decadent lighting, and original plasterwork is picked out in a stylish palette of dove greys. Mr Smith reminds me to tell you that there are also some pouffes that look like albino hedgehogs. Do with that what you will.
The sun’s setting, which means Agapanto – a restaurant down in Port de Sóller – will be expecting us. Although we’re only in our hotel room long enough for a quick day-to-night spruce-up, it’s enough to make me consider going to bed at 7pm: at L’Avenida, the phrase 'room with a view' has impressive clout. There can't be many better ways to enjoy a painterly scene of sun-grazed roof tiles, mountains and orange blossom than from between crisp sheets, head propped against a padded leather headboard. Buttery light pours through wooden-shuttered French windows, the bed’s big enough to lose your partner in (not to mention ‘spritzed’ with that divine juniper scent), and a black glass chandelier swings suggestively from the high ceiling. If only we weren’t so famished…
It’s a bit late to catch the wooden tram that runs between Sóller and the port, so Tania calls a cab. Five minutes later, we’re on Agapanto’s terrace. Mr Smith has the most delicious beef tartar topped with caviar and sour cream – my fork keeps snaking over to steal some. A jazz trio trills in the background, and with stars twinkling, sea lapping, and distant boats bobbing, it’s so romantic even the torchlight seems brighter. ‘Um, is that actually on fire?’ asks Mr Smith, interrupting my reverie and pointing to flames creeping down the torch stake. ‘Shouldn’t we do something?’ Since no one else leaps up to dowse the inferno, and we’re way too relaxed to do anything as energetic as fire-fighting, it’s left to one of the waiters to put on a pleasingly comical show of flinging the torch onto the beach and kicking sand at it.
We head home to L’Avenida, but due to a delectable menu of digestifs and soft soundtrack of Balearic beats, we end up burning the midnight oil in the cosy bar instead of fanning flames of passion in our boudoir. In the morning, we wobble down to breakfast with fuzzy heads. A sterling spread of fruit, cheese, charcuterie and pastries cheers our hearts and fills our bellies, and off we go exploring. Tania suggests a gentle walk to Fornalutx, the next village, so we strike out through Sóller, peeking into Sant Bartomeu church, passing market stalls selling local produce and browsing boutiques on Carrer de san Lluna. Hand-painted signs point in various directions, but ‘we’ left the map behind, and after an hour of climbing – through olive groves, past stone cottages, trees laden with lemons and a cuddly donkey – we begin to realise the folly of setting off with hangovers and flip-flops, but without water or sun block. Even the professional walkers with their clever knapsacks and special socks have given up.
Weary and on the brink of a bicker, we debate the merits of turning back (we know the way) versus carrying on (possibility of ice-cream). Now we’ve stopped to look, the views across the citrus farms of Biniaraix are remarkable; distant Sóller sits in the dip of the valley like crystallised ginger in a green saucer and, at the foot of the opposite hill, there is Fornalutx. ‘I hate you,’ pants Mr Smith. ‘I hate you too,’ I wheeze back. We reckon Scott of the Antarctic wouldn’t have got within 500 yards of the pole and then said, ‘Bugger this, I’m tired and a bit cold, I’m going home for a cup of tea.’ So we do a final push and, around the next bend, find the path that leads to Fornalutx, where we repair to the tiny town square for some well-earned lemonades. Thank goodness Tania has us booked in for pampering treatments in our lovely room at L’Avenida – now the only thing left to argue about is who gets their feet massaged first…