Belmond La Residencia
My Mallorca discovery cannot miss a visit to the Tramuntana mountain area, a Unesco world heritage site and -I have been told- dramatic, wild and wonderful!
On the drive up there I stop in historic Valldemossa with its quaint stone-paved streets, colourful plants adorning house walls, and a wonderful Cistercian monastery. Here I slip into the bakery to taste the local ‘coca de patata’ an airy, sweet bun, with a dusting of icing sugar –beautiful to have with a hot chocolate or a coffee. Back on the move and the road starts to narrow and wind. I glimpse the sea between pine trees and soon reach the Son Marroig viewpoint where a stop is obligatory to see the breathtaking view and to admire the intelligence of the Archduque Luis Salvador of Austria who chose here to build his home. The house is now a museum where you get a glimpse of the enormous work carried out by this erudite man who built mountain routes, still in use today, and wrote publications on the flora and fauna of the island. I head off again, now seeing rocky hillsides replete with olive trees , and arrive at the tiny village of Deià, home to artists, writers and musicians.
Here I pop into the luxury hotel Belmond La Residencia, in the midst of preparations for its early spring re-opening after the renovation of 12 rooms and the Café Miró bistro and bar. I catch up with the PR Manager, Louise Davis, who gives me a tour and fills me in on the facilities and activities offered to guests. The property is sprawling and I am amazed at how it nestles perfectly into the mountainside –a village unto itself. There are manicured lawns leading onto orchards of lemons and oranges, many terraces where Mediterranean flora and beautiful trees provide shade for the summer, and a mountainside of olive groves producing fruit for the hotel’s very own extra virgin olive oil. Totally gutted that I am visiting prior to doors opening for the season, I resolve that I will return to enjoy this splendid hotel. I immediately grasp what makes this a special place.
First, the location with a mountain backdrop and the Mediterranean sea in the foreground. 67 rooms, in beautiful local style, simply and elegantly furnished. The hotel consists of a mediaeval watchtower and two large manor houses from XVI and XVII centuries. Many of the original architectural features have been maintained. I entered a Tramuntana suite and could imagine how guests would want to stay here forever. The views are panoramic and the peace and tranquility a balm for the soul.
The property has a flock of sheep and a number of friendly donkeys. The donkeys accompany guests who choose to head up the hillside to the mountain refuge where a traditional Mallorcan picnic is served. Others may prefer to head off to the sea for a boat trip that is complimentary to guests.
The hotel has a gourmet restaurant, a bistro and a pool restaurant and each provides different menus. There are cooking classes with the chef for those wishing to improve their culinary skills. A tennis coach organizes a programme of tennis activities and is there to improve your game. A kids’ club provides activities for the young, while families are encouraged to take classes together with the artists who provide activities to suit different tastes.
As artists seem to abound in this tiny village, you can join in on the weekly tour visiting them in their studios and getting to know how they came to arrive in Deià. The hotel has an art gallery that offers exhibitions, changing every fortnight. And on Mondays there are the ‘Artists on the Lawn’ open to anyone who wants to showcase their work. There is a Sculpture Garden showcasing work by local and international artists which is open to the public, as is the art gallery.
From its facilities, to the excellent service, wonderful attention to detail and activities offered, I understand that this must be one of the best places to stay on Mallorca or, indeed, in the world and I determine I will return!
Tel +34 971 639 011