Europe

Mallorca, island lux in Spain


Returning to Mallorca, after a 10-year break, was high on my list. I had been planning this trip for over 4 months – not because it was difficult, but because I really wanted to get it right – getting there easily, stay in fab hotels, explore the island (both by the sea and inland), eat a little bit and, finally, (I am not very demanding), enjoy a bit of sun. Was I disappointed? Absolutely not!

When I announced this trip, I was overwhelmed with the reactions I got – many people still associate Mallorca with low-cost package holidays, but I was delighted to be contacted by many fellow Mallorcan lovers, which went out of their way to ensure I “hit” all the right spots. My previous trips to this stunning island, in the Spanish Balearics were incredible, but with a little difference – I always stayed at a boat (both in Palma and Puerto Portals), as luxury hotels were few and far between. That is not the case anymore.

Mrs. O has a lot of love for Mallorca

Mrs. O has a lot of love for Mallorca

After a quick direct flight from London (around 2.5h and it is worth noting that Mallorca has very good continental European connections), we were ready for 4 days of sea, sun and lux.

On this trip, we tried 2 hotels – which may seem weird to everyone else. Obviously part of my job is to check out the local gems, but in hindsight, if I went for 4 or more nights, I would do exactly the same thing again. Our first hotel was the incredible Castillo Son Vida, a Starwood Luxury Collection hotel. I have recently reviewed it on my “My hOtel” series and it is not difficult to guess why I liked it so much.

 

Thursday

The Castillo Son Vida, not far from Palma

The Castillo Son Vida, not far from Palma

The Castillo Son Vida is a very “peaceful” hotel – located on the hills near various golf courses and around 10 minutes from Palma – it is a place to unwind and relax. I loved the very unique style of the property and the views. Must confess I was also extremely impressed with the Gin & Tonic bar, which featured over 20 different types of gin perfectly paired with 6 different tonics.

On our first day, after a lazy check in to our fabulous suite, we decided that Palma awaited. Palma, Mallorca’s capital is a proper city (think fab shopping) and sometimes, you do forget you are in an island.

The stunning cathedral in Palma

The stunning cathedral in Palma

It has all the quirkiness of a Spanish town (think horse carriages, pretty flowers and cobbled narrow streets), but it is also a modern and vibrant city. Have I mentioned how fab the shopping is? The stretch from Plaza de la Reina to Passeig del Born is absolutely fantastic, with a good mix of international and local brands.

Palma has also not one but two El Corte Inglés department stores (one of my spiritual places), which was great as I needed to stock up on some local favourites (and yes, it did include a significant amount of iberico ham). It is worth noting that El Corte Inglés now has a “visitors” card which gives everyone a nice 10% (including to European citizens, which isn’t normal!).

Palma really has something going for it...

Palma really has something going for it…

Needless to say, that being an island, it is all about the sea.. and seafood. The marina in Palma is one of the most impressive in Southern Europe, and always a delight to walk around it – I am talking serious boat eye candy. We wanted something quite simple for dinner, and we were recommended to try Ca n’Eduardo, which we loved. It was a traditional Spanish fish restaurant, with great views of the port and the cathedral. We tried a bit of everything and these babies were incredible… Dinner for two with wine was around €60, which was a steal.

More razor clams and gambas "a la mallorqui" for me, por favor!

More razor clams and gambas “a la mallorqui” for me, por favor!

 

Friday

The Gin & Tonic Terrace

The Gin & Tonic Terrace

We spent the next day doing something I almost never do – we woke up late, enjoyed breakfast, a lazy day at the pool and actually never left the hotel. We enjoyed some lovely spa treatments, gins with views and a great dinner at Castillo Son Vida. I hadn’t had a day like this for a while and it was just what we needed.

 

Saturday

No rest for the wicked, and on day 3, it was time to explore a bit more of the island. For this trip, we had a great BMW X1, courtesy of Sixt, which was really nice and perfect for the “hills”. Mallorca has great roads and I love the freedom.

We made our way towards the north-west side of the island, known for its beauty. Our first stop was the pretty town of Sóller, where we stopped not only for caramelos. (Don’t laugh, going to Spain for sweets is a very Portuguese expression, which reminds me of the 80s, pre European Union, where we literally had to cross the border to buy sweets and other things, which weren’t so easily available in Portugal back then).

I couldn't resist this childhood memory

I couldn’t resist this childhood memory

Sóller was very pretty, as was nearby Fornalutx, known as a quintessentially Spanish town. Seriously pretty and great for a little stroll and some freshly squeezed orange juice. Mallorcan oranges are one of the islands biggest exports and are delicious (and everywhere). From here, we drove to Port de Sóller, which was only a couple of miles away.

Sóller and Fornalutz

Sóller and Fornalutz

After a great morning, it was time for lunch – and I can’t tell you how much we were looking forward to what was in store for us.

Bens d’Avall, the incredible restaurant owned by chef Benet Vicens is located on the road between Port de Sollér and Deia. Under its promise of “creative island cuisine”, we were blown away not only by the location, but by the creative interpretation of Spanish and Mallorcan classics with a serious twist.

Bens d'Avall

Bens d’Avall

Lunch (a 5-course menu, paired with great Mallorcan wines, which was a nice discovery for us – and priced at €75 per person), took over 2.5h, but believe me, we didn’t want to go anywhere else. So much so, that we spent a good part of the afternoon enjoying the sun and the view at the restaurant’s great outside area. I think everyone else there did exactly the same thing and no one rushed us, at all. It was like a foodie siesta.

Not difficult to guess why we didn't want to leave

Not difficult to guess why we didn’t want to leave

After this, we continued the drive towards Deia (which is also very pretty) and made our way to the St. Regis Mardavall, which was to be our home for the next two nights. Located right by the sea and minutes from Puerto Portals marina (which is one of my favourite places in the island), it was a great contrast from its sister property. Expect a detailed review of this hotel very soon!

We loved our stay here, for completely different reasons than the previous hotel. We loved our junior suite, which was bright and airy and had great views of the fab Balearic sea.

What we also loved? Our dinner at Es Fum, a one-star Michelin dining experience by chef Thomas Kahl, influenced by his journeys through Austria, France, Germany, and the United States. A six-course meal costs €130 per person, excluding wines.

The St Regis Mardavall

The St Regis Mardavall

 

Sunday

Another lazy day by the pool for us – although the hotel is by the sea, there is no real beach in this area (but you can actually swim via a jetty located outside the hotel).

We were quite impressed with the pool-side restaurant which, unlike many “chain” hotels, actually featured local food, which was great. We indulged in (yet more) gambas and croquetas and just enjoyed the day, which ended with a great massage at the hotel’s Arabella spa.

Puerto Portals

Puerto Portals

One of the places I was really looking forward to go back to was to Puerto Portals marina – I can’t tell you why I like it so much. Serious boat eye candy of course, but the shops aren’t even that fabulous (and were completely different from my last visit). I just like how small it is and how fabulous one particular restaurant was!

But before that, it was time for a Gin & Tonic, which seems to fuel the island’s blood and soul ( guess why I love this place so much!!). El Capricho (which you won’t have any trouble finding) had possibly the most creative gin & tonic selection and pairings I have ever seen. We had (only one, as they are Spanish sized) gin combinations, which were incredibly pretty and delicious.

The prettiest gin & tonic ever

The prettiest gin & tonic ever

The level of skill and detail was second to none (seriously) and I wished I had brought a menu home so I could recreate some of the recipes. This is obviously an excuse to put Mallorca back on next year’s calendar! But in its absence, I did a little video (which isn’t great quality, but still worth sharing – the “guy” was quite a character and a real gin expert.

Dinner took place at Flanigan (dinner for two with wine €80-100), which is *the* place I remembered the most from previous visits. With a great vibe and the usual Spanish smiles, it is a great restaurant. In true Spanish fashion, we were the last to leave at around 1am, but not before we worked our way through the incredible menu – think iberico, croquetes, gambas, paella, and anything else that reminds you of Spain. But the best? The incredible thin-crust apple tart, which is the signature dish and you must order when you actually order your meal. I must say that 10 years on, they still have it going!

With this, and a short sleep as we had an early morning flight on Monday.

Hasta pronto, Mallorca!

Hasta pronto, Mallorca!

I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed our long weekend to Mallorca – it has every thing we could dream of and more. It is stylish, understated and has its own personality. Pretty much everything to become an annual destination for Mr. and Mrs. O.

xo

Mrs. O

 

Disclaimer and fact box: On this trip, I was a guest of Castillo Son Vida and the St. Regis Mardavall. Our stylish rental car was provided by Sixt UK and is available from €80 per day, including tax. Opinions are, as always, my own.

 

 


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49 Comments

  1. Marian -travel guide in Palma de Mallorca

    November 30, 2015 at 6:38 pm

    I recommend a train trip to Soller. Wonderful! I think it takes a few years to visit all offers Mallorca. Very good article about Palma de Mallorca! Thanks for sharing with us your experiences on Mallorca Island.

  2. Khaled

    October 12, 2015 at 9:21 pm

    I have to say, Nice holiday spot. I love this.
    Khaled recently posted..DJ Khaled – You Mine Ft Future, Trey Songz & JeremihMy Profile

  3. Omnia Veritas

    June 4, 2015 at 6:01 pm

    Mallorca is now perfect. The best services, foods and hotels for tourism. Magalluf is terrible for us.

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      June 8, 2015 at 7:37 pm

      Magalluf really defines the island internationally – but the better the proper promotion, the ‘better’ people will come and fall in love with the island.

  4. Jennifer

    September 30, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    Wow – looks like you planned and had a great time. Somehow sitting by the pool and doing nothing for a day too really sounds like a fun luxury. Thanks for sharing.
    Jennifer recently posted..Madrid Tapas Cooking ClassMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      September 30, 2014 at 5:24 pm

      A day or three 😉 I am very good at sitting by the pool!

  5. Allan Christensen

    January 22, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    Mallorca is my favorite holiday destination and I try to visit this wonderful island at least once a year. Like you prefer Puerto Portals and my other favorite resort is Cala d’Or.

    Everytime I’m exploring new beaches and based of this ‘research’ I have build a website about the fantastic beaches in Mallorca. Maybe you can get inspired when you visit Mallorca the next time 🙂

    http://www.mallorca-beaches.com

  6. Mummy55

    November 23, 2013 at 11:14 pm

    So pleased you have highlighted Mallorca . It really is a great place to visit. We are lucky to have an apartment in Puerto Portals and try to get there at least once a month.
    Palma is a great place to visit all year round and the weather through the winter months is really good compared to the U.K.

  7. Pretired Nick

    September 15, 2013 at 5:50 am

    Oh man, I’m dying to go to Mallorca. Your pictures are great. Drooling!
    Pretired Nick recently posted..Pretirement story: Planning a move to SpainMy Profile

  8. Jeff Titelius

    September 4, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    What a fabulously luxurious holiday my friend!! Never thought much about Mallorca until now and after seeing your incredible pics, it’s moved up on my bucket list for sure!!
    Jeff Titelius recently posted..Is there an age limit on cycling holidays?My Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      September 4, 2013 at 5:06 pm

      It can be a fab place, Jeff. If you know where to go and NOT to go

  9. Sand in my Suitcase

    August 2, 2013 at 5:02 am

    Oh, you’ve brought back great memories of our recent Mallorca trip! We too stayed at Castillo Son Vida and also explored Soller and Fornalutx (said to be Spain’s “prettiest town”). Our posts: “Magical Mallorca” http://www.sandinmysuitcase.com/magical-mallorca/ and “On Mallorca, Sleep in Everything From A Castle to a Finca” http://www.sandinmysuitcase.com/on-mallorca-you-can-sleep-in-everything-from-a-castle-to-a-farm-finca/
    Sand in my Suitcase recently posted..Paddling Whistler’s River of Golden DreamsMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      August 2, 2013 at 11:14 am

      So pleased!! Will take a look!

  10. Kathryn

    July 20, 2013 at 10:25 am

    This brings back many happy memories of a visit to Mallorca many years ago when I stayed in a villa in the centre of the island. Luckily we had a car and explored quite a bit of the island. Seeing your lovely photos brought back some wonderful memories and now I’m even more excited to be going back there in a couple months, this time to Porto Pollensa!
    Kathryn recently posted..Feature: Sublime self-indulgence at the luxurious Coco Ocean Resort & SpaMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      July 20, 2013 at 4:31 pm

      Everyone is going back to Mallorca, so fab!! Hope you have a wonderful time!

  11. Francesca B

    July 9, 2013 at 11:08 am

    I love, love, love Mallorca (especially Palma) and so glad you are working towards rebuilding its reputation as a very classy place to take a holiday, Mrs O!

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      July 9, 2013 at 1:44 pm

      I’m doing my best 🙂 thank you!

  12. Erin at The World Wanderer

    July 7, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    How have I not been to Mallorca yet? This is beautiful and I love your photos!
    Erin at The World Wanderer recently posted..Happy 4th of July from South America!My Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      July 8, 2013 at 6:43 pm

      It’s stunning indeed!

  13. Charu

    July 7, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    Simply sublime, Mrs O! I’d take that gin and tonic anywhere.
    Charu recently posted..New Jersey’s Top Secret BeachesMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      July 7, 2013 at 5:42 pm

      You would adore it!

  14. Raul (@ilivetotravel)

    July 6, 2013 at 2:41 am

    You sure know how to find the right spots, Mrs O! (good views, good food, good drinks!) I need to head to the islands some time soon!
    Raul (@ilivetotravel) recently posted..Gear for Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro – ClothingMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      July 7, 2013 at 5:44 pm

      Absolutely fab place, Raul!

  15. Traveling Ted

    July 3, 2013 at 4:45 am

    I can definitely see why you would take a 2.5 hour lunch with that amazing view. I wouldn’t ever want to leave.
    Traveling Ted recently posted..Red River Gorge Cabin Rentals sun dancingMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      July 3, 2013 at 9:47 am

      I know. Can’t wait to go back

  16. Pola (@jettingaround)

    July 1, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    You are making me want to go back to Spain ASAP, Ana! Not that I need much convincing, but I could so see myself relaxing in Mallorca. The food, the drinks, the sunsets, ahh… 🙂
    Pola (@jettingaround) recently posted..Photo of the Week: Montrose Beach in ChicagoMy Profile

  17. lola

    June 29, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    i’ve had Mallorca on my list for a long time. i really love Spain but haven’t seen that much of it. i know you loved this trip…and to say it could become annual is really saying something!
    lola recently posted..Horseback Riding in Sligo County, IrelandMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      June 30, 2013 at 6:04 am

      Would be so perfect!

  18. gloria rodriguez

    June 28, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    Thank you so much for this post, Mallorca really deserves visitors like you that appreciate the charm and beauty of our wonderful island. We hope to welcome you again soon.

    Gloria Mallorcasite.com

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      June 30, 2013 at 6:14 am

      Thank you, Gloria!

  19. Savi

    June 27, 2013 at 10:06 pm

    I really enjoyed reading this post 🙂 We were in Palma just last month and loved every bit of it. The La Seu Cathedral is just fabulous
    Savi recently posted..Packing for Cruises – The Accessories EditMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      June 30, 2013 at 6:14 am

      Such a pretty place!

  20. Leah Travels

    June 27, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    I actually have heard of Mallorca, but hadn’t really thought much about visiting. If I can do it in Mr. and Mrs. O style, then sign me up. I need to visit that bartender for his famous G & T.
    Leah Travels recently posted..Ten Iconic Landmarks from around the WorldMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      June 30, 2013 at 6:15 am

      Converting you to gin!

  21. Mary Anne

    June 27, 2013 at 11:52 am

    Más, por favor! What a stunning island! Never been but may consider when I next go to Spain.. what is it like in October? The hotels looked great

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      June 27, 2013 at 2:30 pm

      I think October could be one of the best months, to be honest!

  22. Francesco

    June 27, 2013 at 11:51 am

    And you did it again! Now I want to go back to Mallorca. Great photos and the food looks incredible!

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      June 27, 2013 at 2:30 pm

      My absolute pleasure! Let me know how you get on!

  23. Maria

    June 27, 2013 at 11:50 am

    Thank you for showing your readers the “other” side of mallorca. You did a great job – Mallorca is beautiful and plenty of lux, as you say! gracias and do come back!

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      June 27, 2013 at 2:31 pm

      Thank you, Maria! I have a lot of love for Spain (esp Mallorca!)

  24. John M

    June 27, 2013 at 11:49 am

    Mrs. O, I am going back to Mallorca. Thank you for this – perfection!

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      June 27, 2013 at 2:31 pm

      So pleased! Let me know your thoughts!

  25. Mira

    June 26, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    L o v e l y! Looking forward to reading about St. Regis experience.

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      June 27, 2013 at 8:09 am

      Coming up soon! Thanks, Mira!

  26. Clare

    June 26, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    Ah, Mallorca looks wonderful. I really fancy Palma for a short break. A colleague of mine is always telling me how it’s such a fab city. And great that it can be so easily combined with a proper slice of island life. I’m sure many people still think of Magaluf when they think of Mallorca. You’ve proved that they are wrong to feel that way. With so many flights from Manchester, I’m sure I’ll be headed there sooner rather than later!
    Clare recently posted..The Places in My Plans: June 2013My Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      June 27, 2013 at 8:10 am

      You should, Clare and promise it will be worth it! The not so nice areas are totally “self contained” which actually helps!

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