Let’s play a word association game. Hear Mallorca, think…? Package holidays, perhaps, or Magaluf?
Sunshine probably also comes to mind, along with thoughts of sultry Spanish nights, white sand beaches and plates of fresh tapas. But luxury? Maybe not.
Mallorca’s reputation may be more clubbing than fine dining, more kids clubs than boutique hotels, but that doesn’t mean the largest Balearic island doesn’t have plenty of luxurious places to stay. In fact, it has one of my favourite hotels in the world, as well as the most unique place I’ve stayed this year.
Check out my Pearlshare guide to Mallorca’s best places to stay for all my top tips and read on to hear about my two favourite Balearic hotels.
The very best: Belmond La Residencia
This superluxe hotel has long attracted the great and good to its classically chic confines on the slopes above the village of Deia. On my recent stay there was a certain well known newsreader enjoying breakfast beneath the bougainvillea at breakfast, in fact. Nobody batted an eye though, this is a hotel that is all about discreet service and elegant lounging.
I spent my time during the day by the main pool, shaded at one end by cypress trees, the sun warming it at the other. I swam lengths towards the Tramuntana mountains and flopped onto my back to squint at the cloudless sky – it was bliss.
My time in the spa was even better, with a dreamy Citrus Siesta treatment that more or less knocked me out with an all-over scrub followed by a soft massage. Dinner is worth staying in for here and I feasted on local red Sóller prawns and roast suckling pig from the island at El Olivo at dinner before settling into the bar with its live piano music and dozens of Miró originals for an aperol spritz. The Miró Café also serves tapas by day, an excuse to have more of those prawns!
And I haven’t even mentioned the room… I had multiple windows overlooking the pool, some of which turned out to also be Juliet balconies, a terrace with mountain views and loungers, and a bathroom with a huge shower. The bathtub could have been more opulent and I didn’t need a TV that pops up at the end of the bed but there was enough space that I could have moved in for at least a couple of weeks – and I really, really wanted to.
The most unique: Cap Rocat
I’d read about Cap Rocat long before I went there so I was apprehensive on arrival – nothing ruins a stay more than too-high expectations after all. But this ex military fortress turned five-star hotel didn’t disappoint, even in the rain!
It’s all about the setting here, from the drawbridge you cross to enter the hotel to the terrace atop my Cap Rocat suite which had exactly the sort of uninterrupted view you would expect from something that started life as a defensive position. The rain meant staying indoors to begin with (hooray for the spa and its fabulous Ayurvedic treatments!) but the sun soon came out – as it always does in Mallorca – and I could snooze on my Balinese bed on the roof and order breakfast to the private terrace.
I loved my room – it had a vast bathroom with lovely freestanding bathtub and spacious dressing area as well as a four-poster bed – but the hotel’s crowning glory is surely its swimming pool. It’s an infinity pool (a proper one, not the nonsensical “infinity-edged” type) with gorgeous views over the Bay of Palma,. But that’s not even the real winner. That would be the box hedges, which divide each pair of sun loungers from the next, giving you privacy as well as room to spread out. Spread out I did, and again it was very difficult to tear myself away!