For the best Valldemossa views short of climbing in a helicopter, stay in the yellow-stone, palm-fringed Mirabó de Valldemossa, a scenic 16th-century olive farm. This boutique hotel with just nine bedrooms offers seclusion, romance and bonhomie in an idyllic milk-and-honey hued Mallorcan village. Expect warmth, wilderness and charm in abundance from this family-run retreat.
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A bottle of red, white or rosé from the hotel's vineyard
Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 1pm.
Double rooms from £197.59 (€225), including tax at 10 per cent.
Rates include buffet breakfast.
If you’re missing your own four-legged housemates, befriend the lovable resident labrador.
At the hotel
Gardens, library with DVDs and CDs, free WiFi throughout and parking. In rooms: standard TV, DVD and CD player.
Our favourite rooms
Follow the stone steps that lead through the pebble- and flower-strewn garden and bed down in El Porche de las Ovejas, split off from the main building. This spacious mini kingdom was once home to some very lucky ewes and rams but don’t let this put you off, there’s no trace of furry, four-legged friends amid the less-is-more decor. You get first dibs on the terrace outside your room, which overlooks the grounds and has stunning Valldemossa views; the perfect place to top up your blossoming tan.
There is an outdoor pool, as well as a plunge pool for two.
Bring your conversational charm and some stories for the warm and welcoming manager, Antonio. A classic read will stand you in good stead at the poolside and you might want some spare euros to light a candle for resident saint La Beata.
Obviously smokers can light up outside, and there are lots of cosy corners in which to indulge this vice.
The stones, steps, pools and sheer drops mean children need constant supervising – Mirabó is not really designed for little ones. However, La Suite de la Palmera can be booked for a family of four on request.
There are just five tables to choose from in this cosy space but history buffs and the curious might want to nestle by the press.
Anything goes, as long as you’re clothed.
The Mirabó restaurant is set within the main room of the old olive press, which still stands proud. The decor abounds with rustic simplicity and the various nooks and crannies are romantically kitted out with candles and spotlights. Cotton tablecloths and wrought iron chairs continue the cream, stone and metal theme – a contrast to the colourful Mediterranean cuisine served up here. Go for jewel-bright paella, try the seafood frito or feast upon roasted lamb shoulder, teamed with a spicy Spanish red.
The honesty bar in the kitchenette is a well-stocked delight. Rustle up your own cocktail with all the trimmings (or sample wine from the family vineyard), jot down your tipple in the notepad and meander into the living room to sip your drink fireside.
Breakfast is served at a very reasonable 8.30pm–11.30am, lunch is from 1pm–3pm and dinner is dished out from 7pm–9.30pm.
No room service as such but the honesty bar is stacked with a bounty of snacks and spirits, along with a Nespresso machine.
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). You can hire a car here, or pick up a taxi from just outside the airport. If you’re driving, a map will be useful for finding the hotel itself, but you should start out from the airport by following signs for the MA-20 (the Via de Cintura).
Road travel is easiest option; the nearest station is 17km away in Palma. Look out for the antique train that runs between Palma and Sóller, offering spectacular views of the Sierra de Tramuntana mountains.
The hotel has free parking, and a car will be helpful when it comes to exploring the Mallorcan countryside; pick one up at the airport, where many of the international companies are represented.
Worth getting out of bed for
A fan of Michael Douglas? Visit the actor’s love-letter to Mallorca (where he has had a holiday home for over 20 years) a cultural project called Costa Nord (+34 971 612 425) on Avenida Palma. Costa Nord has heaps of local-life exhibits and a multi-screen film (narrated by Douglas of course) detailing the history of Mallorca’s North coast. Finish with a meal at the Costa Nord restaurant, for generous portions of A-list-worthy eats. Alternatively, follow in the footsteps of Chopin and his lover George Sand, with a visit to the Cartuja de Valldemossa monastery (www.valldemossa.com). This 14th-century sanctuary was a temporary home to the musician and writer; today it houses the Municipal Museum (look out for exhibits of 15th–20th-century art) and the tourist office. Nearby Deià is also well worth a visit, boasting some of the island’s best views and eateries.
Eat amid the orange groves at Sa Vinya on Vinya Vella (+34 971 639 500). The terraced garden is the perfect backdrop to the wonderful food and charming staff. To taste a regional speciality, head to nearby Hostel Ca'n Marió on 8 Carrer de Uetam (+34 971 612 122) and order tumbet Mallorquin in the hotel’s renowned restaurant. The traditional vegetable casserole with aubergines, potatoes, courgettes, peppers and garlic is served with equally flavoursome meat or fish. For relaxed dining, feast at Sebastian (+34 971 639 417) a small eatery with delicious fare: try the lobster ravioli or fillets of red mullet with balsamic dressing. If you’re hankering after a Michelin star experience, visit El Olivo at La Residencia (+34 971 639 392) but dress to impress; this is an elegant eatery dripping with candelabra and butterfly-beautiful people.
I’ve heard lots about Mallorca in the last few years – its beautiful beaches, turquoise sea and diverse landscape – and so we’re excited about our weekend in its mountains. On our way from Palma airport, we pass the centuries-old capital, and drive through flatlands where old windmills are a souvenir from this Balearic island’s past. Rising up into the jagged hills through giant crevices – cliffs rising and tumbling before us – it isn’t long before we’re turning off the main road, up a dirt track to our boutique abode. Steep and rocky, it reminds us of when we almost swerved off the Pacific Coast Highway 1 in California in a Mustang convertible. Our taxi may be distinctly less glamorous but it’s proving decidedly less stressful on such terrain, and we creep round the last bend in the track to be greeted by the beautiful, simple façade of Mirabó de Valldemossa, nestled in the hillside.
A long farmhouse in old, large stone with dark wood shutters, it’s smothered in a sweet-smelling jasmine. Antonio, a darling gentleman, greets us and whisks away our bags, then escorts us through the large oak front doors into the understated entrance of this former olive press. The high-ceilinged living room is grand yet simple, sophisticated but soothing, comfortable and inviting, and we mentally reserve seats by the double fireplace for a nightcap. Photographs of this property’s aristocratic ancestry attests that this is a very special history-steeped retreat. Meanwhile, the scene from the windows reminds us why the hotel’s name translates as ‘View of Valldemossa’. A quick snoop in the honesty bar, originally the farmhouse’s kitchen we assume, and we scribble our choices for supper later. The menu is simple: starters and mains with local flavours and ingredients.
We’re not staying in the main house, so we pass through the original pressing room on the way to the garden. Some 200-years on, the vast iron screw-and-stone vat now dominates an intimate dining room. En route to our suite, we pass a small hidden cabin, or figuera, surrounded by evergreen bushes and flanked by a large fig tree. A well-laid path snakes us along the outer wall of this small estate and up to Porche de las Ovejas (‘the sheep hut’), which sits above the main house. Our romantic bolt hole has been cleverly built into the wall of the terrace and a large north-west-facing window looks across to the mediaeval town of Valldemossa.
Geometric lines and floor-to-ceiling windows make the bedroom feel modern, while the character and charm of this private hideaway is all in tact. Large shutters swing open to greet us with a big white bed backdropped by a curved stone wall. Two white-upholstered oak rocking chairs and a huge matching ottoman are positioned in front of the glass wall, guaranteeing a grandstand view of the ancient mountainscape. My partner is always one to comment about a new room – and in most cases what’s wrong about it. He says nothing. Complete and utter silence; it’s the ultimate compliment.
Unpacked, and swimmers on, we wander across to the pool. Here clean architectural lines – from the terraced wall, to the freshly cut lawn – frame the most brilliant turquoise tiled pool. We notice a second smaller plunge pool, a boon if you fancy private time away from other guests. And swinging gently under the branches of another mature fig tree is a hammock, which is perfect for late-afternoon lounging.
Dining here is as formal or informal as you want it to be. We soak up the sights and the fragrant smells of this hilltop retreat as we amble down to eat at 8.30pm. In summer, the sun stays high for much of the early evening, setting suddenly at 9.30pm. The restaurant caters to guests only, and one glance tells you immediately: that doesn’t include children. The elegant porch dining area is almost full when we arrive, and ‘Madame Butterfly’ is the soft soundtrack behind the hushed chattering and the gentle patter of cutlery on china. As our previous evening in London was spent enjoying the visual feast that is Anthony Minghella’s take on the Puccini opera, the music gives us an extra thrill.
Spotting two large sturdy glass-topped tables, canopied beneath a fig tree, we ask if we can sit there. Neither is made up for dinner; Antonio gasps, then smiles, happily making our wish his command. Taking our drinks to the north-west-facing front of the house, it feels as though we’re in our own theatre. It feels as though we're waiting for the bell that signals the end of the first act. Except this is a private performance and the only hum around us is of birds and a whistle of the leaves. Then the curtain rises and the drama restarts: our starters arrive. Buffalo mozzarella, tomatoes and basil and a bottle of chilled rose – it’s all delicious and refreshing. Next, lamb that falls from the bone is placed in front of me, fresh prawns across the table for my partner. It’s already standing-ovation-worthy stuff, then, as the light fades, the candlelight and stars take centrestage in this uncensored showcase from nature.
The following morning, a dip in the pool is a prelude to a simple but substantial breakfast of eggs, breads, cold cuts, cereals, fresh juice and fruits. Of course we opt for our own personal table by the lavender garden. Knowing lunch won’t be served here later, we take the chance to visit postcard-pretty, historial Deià. The mountain coastline leading to this charming ancient town recalls Big Sur in California. It’s worth the trip, although the return journey is a little time-consuming. Perhaps Valldemossa might have been better for a bite – we couldn’t bear not maximising our time at beloved Mirabó.
Relaxing by the pool is the headline act of our afternoon. As the heat and sun intensifies, the birds settle and most activity grinds to a halt. A cool breeze from the sea moves slowly through the gap in the mountains. I lie on my own by the pool, my daydreaming drifting to a wonderful idea. I’d love to take this house for a week with friends: it’s perfectly isolated, perfectly decorated and perfectly inspired by that mirabó of Valldemossa. Let’s hope it’s a scene that comes true – what a fantastic final act that would make.