We recently ate dinner at Es Vi, one of the two restaurants at the legendary Castillo Hotel Son Vida, in the hills behind Palma de Mallorca. More about our dinner later.
We’ve attended quite a few functions at the iconic property and have had day visits to the hotel’s spa. As we ate, we gazed out at the spectacular view over Palma and its bay, watching as the lights of the city and coastline twinkled into life. We decided we’d come and stay a night some time this year – never having stayed here before.
As we left the restaurant, we passed a display on the wall illustrating the history of the hotel and I noted that today, Wednesday, the twenty-third of June, is the anniversary of the hotel’s opening in 1961. Sixty years ago, the Castillo Hotel Son Vida’s launch was celebrated at what I’m told was one of the most elegant events ever seen in the Balearics. No, I wasn’t there!
A Guest Book of Note
Castell Hotel Son Vida’s privileged location in the exclusive wooded hills above Palma has made it the hotel choice for many famous people, including royalty, political leaders, famous performers, and sports people. Over the past six decades, guests who have enjoyed the location, ambience, and hospitality here have included Mikhail Gorbachev, Prince Rainier and Princess Grace of Monaco, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Steve McQueen, Brigitte Bardot, Anthony Quinn, Michael Caine, Gunther Sachs, John Lennon, Julio Iglesias, James Brown, and Maria Callas. I met Sir Cliff Richard there a few years ago when we were both attending a special lunch, at which the BBC’s former chief political correspondent John Sergeant was the entertaining guest speaker.
Es Vi Restaurant
During the warm months, everyone wants to sit on the terrace, enjoying the cooler evening air and the panoramic views. Settled at our table, we had a glass of cava while we studied the menu and enjoyed a complimentary appetiser of a vegetable taco.
Es Vi has a good list of wines by the glass, including caves, champagnes, Mallorcan and Spanish wines, as well as wines by the bottle.
We started with home-made Iberian ham croquettes with a marmalade of cherries from the Jerte valley (14 euros for four pieces) and crunchy Mediterranean prawns with basil and avocado sauce (18 euros for four pieces). Both these choices were delicious.
Only four main-course dishes are on the menu – two fish, two meat. We each chose fish (John Dory and salmon respectively); meat dishes were veal-cheek mini burgers with home-made bread, Mallorcan cheese, and plum ketchup, and grilled lamb chops with green asparagus and potato-and-chorizo ‘lollipops’. The menu has four desserts, including a delicious and generous crème brûlée with Soller orange and a reduction of Palo liqueur and fresh raspberries (10 euros). We both enjoyed this one.
We made our dinner a three-course affair, but I’d recommend coming to Es Vi for drinks and a few tapas to share with your companion(s) because it’s very hard to choose just one each from the list of tapas/starters. Prices are a little higher than you’ll pay in a tapas bar in Palma, but you’ll be experiencing one of Mallorca’s legendary 5-star hotels and the awesome views from Castillo Hotel Son Vida’s terraces. Views that kings, queens, and other notables have chosen to enjoy over the past sixty years.
Happy anniversary, Castillo Hotel Son Vida.
NOTE: Balearic residents can take advantage of some special deals at this hotel.
Mallorca has a new gourmet restaurant: Sa Clastra opened this season at the five-star Castell Son Claret hotel in the Es Capdellà countryside in southwest Mallorca. Sa Clastra has replaced the hotel’s former two-Michelin-star Zaranda and offers a new fine-dining experience for guests and members of the public who come for dinner.
Chef Jordi Cantó
Ambitious 33-year-old chef Jordi Cantó leads the kitchen, with a generous helping of Michelin-star-restaurant experience. Born in Palma, he’s worked alongside renowned chefs in some of Spain’s most famous Michelin-starred restaurants: Nerua (1*) at Bilbao’s Guggenheim; DiverXo (3*) in Madrid, and Casa Macial (2*) in Asturias. But his most recent experience was in Zaranda itself, so he already knew his way around the impressive kitchen space at Mallorca’s Castell Son Claret.
Jordi’s travels through Europe, South and Central America, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and Japan – have also inspired his creativity. In Mallorca, for Sa Clastra, he researched new local producers – honouring the philosophy of the Slow Food movement – and applied his talents to heritage recipes, creating memorable dishes.
Dine in the Castle’s Courtyard
Sa Clastra takes its name from the central patio or cloister found at the heart of many Spanish noble buildings and castles – including Castell Son Claret. As we sipped a glass of Gramona cava, we could only speculate on what the handsome old stone walls, wall-mounted sundial from 1888, and ornate central well might have witnessed in the distant past. It’s an atmospheric and romantic space for a special-occasion dinner and on a balmy summer night it’s wonderful to watch the sky turn cobalt blue before darkness descends.
Sa Clastra offers two tasting menus, which will change with availability of seasonal ingredients: the seven-plate Menu Castell (95 euros) and nine-plate Menu Sa Clastra (120 euros). In addition are an appetiser and petits fours. We opted for the shorter menu.
Castell Son Claret has its own in-house bakery, and the breads and other baked goods here are incredibly moreish. We had a choice of three types of bread, served with two flavoured salts and extra virgin olive oil from Sóller.
The menu descriptions reveal only the key ingredients of each dish and part of the pleasure of the evening was the surprise as the smart serving staff delivered each course to the table. Presentation and taste exceeded our expectations. I’ve shown only some of the dishes below … not wanting to spoil all the surprises if you visit!
There are some 600 wine references on offer at Castell Son Claret. A wine-flight paired to your chosen menu is optional at Sa Clastra, but we were happy to accept sommelier Sebastián Longo’s recommendation for a white wine – the Sangarida La Tarea 2019 (DO Bierzo) was an excellent choice.
We’ve been to Castell Son Claret on quite a few occasions, for meals, overnight stays, and various functions (including the acclaimed Castell Classics operatic concerts). Whatever the reason, we’ve always commented on the exemplary level of service. Staff in every department of the hotel – including Sa Clastra restaurant – make each guest feel valued. And who doesn’t appreciate that?
Sa Clastra is a recommended new option for a memorable gourmet dinner in an idyllic setting. The Michelin-star inspectors won’t have visited yet, but look up after dark in the elegant courtyard and, with no light pollution in this beautiful area of Mallorca, you can enjoy a sky full of real stars.
It’s June 12th, aka World Gin Day. What better excuse to pour a G&T and enjoy the sounds of the bubbling tonic water and ice cracking in your glass, as you contemplate the meaning of life. Or what to have for dinner.
Mallorca is the home of a number of artisanal gins and if you haven’t tried gin from Mallorca, the following are worthy accompaniments to one of the many varieties of tonic water now on the market.
Can be shipped abroad by Fet a Sóller for personal consumption (not retail). This gin from Sóller contains herbal extracts from the Tramuntana. Their varieties include Taronja (orange) gin and the Mandarina gin liqueur – which is not sickly sweet like some liqueurs.
The Gin Eva distillery in Llucmajor is on a trading estate, but you’ll forget that once you’re inside (it’s open to visitors – see website for details). Stefan and Eva Winterling are behind this successful business; originally winemakers, Eva is Catalan and Stefan is German and they have worked in wineries in several countries. They swapped wine-making in Mallorca for gin production to start Gin Eva in 2012, after making gin for the Mallorcan winery where they previously worked.
They’ve won several awards for their delicious gins, which include Bergamot Gin, Old Tom, La Mallorquina, Green Spice Gin, and the original Gin Eva. They also produce a few artisanal spirits and Single Tree Limoncello. My favourite Mallorcan artisanal gin is their La Mallorquina Olive Extra Dry Gin, made from the pomace of olives grown on the centuries-old Son Moragues estate in Valldemossa. Whenever I have a G&T made with this evocative gin, I think back to a wonderful day I spent at this estate in the mountains.
Gin Mercant & Mascori
The distillery Pareis makes these in the village of Llubí, not far from Inca. Gin Mercant is described as super-aromatic, with notes of fennel, cinnamon, Mallorcan oranges and other sweet spices. Mascori is made with Mallorcan lemons, fennel and citric spices. It has a delicate fruity aroma with an acid touch. Both of these London Dry gins are best with a neutral tonic.
This gin is made at the winery Bodegas Can Vidalet near Pollensa. This gin is made with eleven Mediterranean botanicals, including juniper, fresh citrus fruits, rosemary, and other botanicals sourced from the Sierra de Tramuntana mountains. It was the first Mallorcan artisan gin (which was then called Can Vidalet) we tried here.
The British-owned Mallorca Distillery in Palma has made a huge impression on the local gin market. Byron Holland is from Newcastle in the northeast of England and worked in the nautical sector before running a restaurant in Edinburgh. With roots put down in Palma de Mallorca – a city he’d visited during his career at sea – Byron started this business with James Gibbons as his distiller. It’s been phenomenally successful and won several awards for its Palma Gin – in a distinctive white bottle.
If you’re in the UK and are missing your fix of Mallorca, you can buy Palma Gin from The Gin Warehouse
This Marratxí-based distillery is best known for its brandy. Its 1989 Club Suau is made up of members who have bought a barrel, kept in a locked cage-like section of its cool dark cellars. The distillery has recently returned to making artisanal gin, using the original recipe they used a century ago. Suau has been in Mallorca since 1851 and, if you have the opportunity, a visit to the distillery (which has a museum) is an interesting experience.
Mallorca Gin Festival
We have fond memories of attending the 2019 Mallorca Gin Festival – the second of its kind (we enjoyed the first event too). It gave us an introduction to some new gins, including artisanal gins made on the island of Mallorca.
The Covid-19 pandemic put paid to the 2020 edition of the Mallorca Gin Festival, but we’re hopeful it will be back later in 2021.
Mallorcan Tonic Water Too
Meanwhile, when you’re next out for a G&T in Mallorca, give one of the island’s artisan gins a try. And do try a Franklin & Sons Ltd Mallorcan Tonic Water with it for the full Mallorcan gin-tonic experience.
In 2022, it will be fifty years since Stay Restaurant first opened in Mallorca’s Puerto Pollensa. Surprisingly, given the precariousness of the restaurant sector on a seasonal holiday island, quite a few restaurants in Mallorca have been open for decades – often staying in the same family. Two others with a long history that come immediately to mind are Can March in Manacor and Bens d’Avall, near Sóller.
Stay Restaurant opened in 1972 but has been through some changes since. In 1989 José Maria and Veronica Gassó took it over from the founders; they commissioned the building’s redesign in 2005, giving it the appearance the waterside restaurant still has today. The following year the stoves were back in action and, although Puerto Pollensa is quiet in the winter, Stay was open year-round … until the pandemic struck. Fingers crossed it can now revert to its former 365-days-a-year policy without further disruption.
We’ve eaten at Stay Restaurant on numerous occasions – anything from a glass of wine with some tapas after a stroll along the Pine Walk, to a full-blown al fresco dinner with visiting friends from the UK to celebrate a milestone birthday. It’s never disappointed.
Consistency is the key to a successful restaurant and we’ve always found a consistent quality of professional service and tasty food. The beautiful views of the resort, with the Tramuntana mountains behind them, are a given. My favourite memory is seeing a mountain capped with snow one year, while we sat on Stay’s terrace in wintery sunshine.
Open all day, Stay Restaurant has menus for different times of the day: set lunch menu (with choices), à la carte, tapas, snacks, afternoon menu (bridging the gap between lunch and dinner), and vegan (available 12 noon to 10.30pm).
We’ve had the set lunch a few times. It changes weekly (it’s published on their website) and includes an appetiser from the kitchen, bread roll, three courses (four starter choices, three mains, and dessert of the day). The cost of 38 euros a head includes water, wine, and coffee with a home-made chocolate.
Yesterday we ate à la carte and I chose two starter dishes, instead of a starter and main course, and a dessert. Portions are a decent size here and I didn’t feel deprived because of my choice.
Consistency was maintained. And nobody rushed us to leave once we’d finished our lunch, so there was time to enjoy the gorgeous views and appreciate what had been impossible back during Mallorca’s toughest pandemic restrictions.
My dishes. The Boss started eating his before I could photograph them! He had partridge ravioli with wild mushroom sauce to start and three fillets of white fish of the day with dill sauce for a main course. The Boss approved.
With the further easing of certain pandemic restrictions, visitors from some countries are now able to travel to Mallorca. More hotels here – and their restaurants – are opening their doors this month, as a result.
Last Tuesday (11th), the Michelin-star eponymous restaurant Marc Fosh reopened in the Palma hotel Convent de la Missió. Two days afterwards we were there. I’m a big fan of Marc’s cuisine – his restaurant is the only Michelin-star restaurant with a British chef – and I wanted to celebrate the fact that my novel manuscript was completed … written, edited, and proofed. I decided to treat The Boss and myself to lunch in the restaurant that’s featured and named in the novel.
New Lunch Concept
Pre-pandemic, Marc Fosh offered a weekly changing three-course lunch menu which cost under 30 euros. A new concept has been introduced for lunchtimes … a choice of two menus: the five-plate weekly menu (46,50 euros, with a supplement if you want a cheese course too), and the six-plate Menu Marc (75 euros). In addition, both menus have introductory snacks and petits fours at the end.
We were happy to have the weekly menu, which we felt was excellent value for the price.
Some restaurants in Mallorca have now introduced second sittings at lunchtimes in order to get more diners through (and who can blame them after the past year of closures?). This hasn’t happened at Marc Fosh, so we were able to enjoy the traditional Spanish sobremesa – the relaxed period of conversation ‘over the table’ after a meal has ended. We had a delicious meal, with great service, and a throughly enjoyable experience … as always at this Palma destination restaurant.
A Wine Presentation Unique in Mallorca to Marc Fosh
Marc Fosh restaurant’s sommelier Giorgia Scaramella recommends a couple of wines to complement each weekly menu. With the glazed beef cheeks we had a glass each of Quite 2019, from Bodega Verónica Ortega, made from Mencía grapes grown on vines more than eight years old. It’s a fresh-tasting organic wine with a bouquet of forest herbs and notes of mature fruits.
The wine we tried first though was not one of the two featured wines of the week, but something rather special: Adorado de Menade, which is presented in an eight-litre demijohn inside a wicker basket. There’s a degree of theatre in the serving of this wine, which is a 50/50 blend of Verdejo and Palomino grapes. The wine is produced in a basic solera system in decades-old sherry casks. The ‘mother’ solera dates from 1967 but Bodegas Menade only started taking the wine from the system in 2018. Adorado has a rich amber colour and a bouquet that could transport you to Jerez thanks to the wine’s time in sherry casks. It’s served by the glass, obviously, and we thought it tasted sensational.
‘Bodegas Menade extracts only 50 litres each year,’ Giorgia said, adding that in Spain only a restaurant in Madrid and Marc Fosh in Palma de Mallorca offer this wine. Canny Giorgia bought two demijohns, so there should be plenty left for a while!
Need to Know
Marc Fosh restaurant is open Tuesday to Saturday for lunch and dinner. Marc is also the culinary consultant for the restaurant of sister hotel Pleta de Mar in Canyamel. We haven’t visited yet, but I’ll report back if we do.
If you enjoy Marc’s style of Mediterranean cooking, look out for his cookbook on sale in the restaurant.
Thomas Moons will be one very happy – and probably busy – man this weekend. The new general manager of La Residencia, a Belmond Hotel, Mallorca, will welcome his first guests there on Monday, May 17th, when the Deià property opens its doors for the 2021 season.
I met Thomas a while ago when I visited the closed hotel to do an interview with the former PR manager, Louise Davis, whose memoir Hideaway Hotelis about her long career there. The newcomer told me he was looking forward to the property reopening, after a longer-than-usual winter closure, because of the pandemic.
New Open-Air Experiences
Anyone for tennis? La Residencia has offered tennis coaching for years. This year, tennis players can sign up for a fun-filled tennis weekend with former ATP Top 20 men’s single player Nicolás Almagro. If you’re keen to brush up your backhand or spruce up your serve, an exclusive tennis clinic with Almagro and private sessions with a Lux Tennis professional player should do it. And what amazing scenery in which to wield your racquet …
If you’re not that sporty, but love taking photographs to impress your Instagram followers, how about La Residencia’s Mallorcagram? New for this season, the hotel has planned a carefully designed itinerary focusing on Mallorca’s northwest coast and those off-the-beaten-track places. The route leads you through some of Spain’s most photogenic scenery, including visits to Fornalutx, Sóller, and Port de Sóller.
If you already know Mallorca, you may prefer simply to relax at the hotel and enjoy the tranquillity and beauty of its gardens and glorious surroundings. How about the healthy and refreshing new signature infusion, created for the hotel this year in collaboration with Katja Woehr – well-known for founding the luxury local sea salt brand Flor de Sal. The new Flor d’Oli infusion is sustainably produced from olive leaves, harvested by hand from La Residencia’s extensive olive grove.
Many people stay at La Residencia to celebrate a special occasion, such as a birthday, anniversary, or honeymoon. The perfect gift on these occasions could be an item from the new capsule collection created for the hotel by internationally renowned Mallorcan jewellery designer, Isabel Guarch.
Isabel, whose designs are inspired by the culture, nature, and spirit of the Balearics, has created a beautiful collection of jewellery with an olive tree motif. The collection will be launched early this summer.
It should be another wonderful season for staying at La Residencia in Deià.
If you live outside Mallorca, you may not have heard of Binibona. I wouldn’t be surprised if many of the foreigners who live on the island had never visited this charming hamlet. We’ve lived in Mallorca for 17 years and been to Binibona only once before (in 2014), when I interviewed a British resident there for a newspaper article.
Binibona, if you don’t know it, is in the Raiguer district of Mallorca, in the foothills of the Serra de Tramuntana mountains. It’s part of the municipality of Selva and comprises a small cluster of stone-built properties, four of which are hotels. Yes, four! The hamlet of Binibona was a pioneer in rural tourism, or agroturismo/agroturisme, and it’s easy to see why.
The name Binibona has Arabic roots and was documented in 1300, although other names have been recorded previously. When Cardinal Antonio Despuig surveyed his 1785 map of Mallorca – one of the most important cartographic works in Spain – he recorded the hamlet’s name as ‘Mira-buena’, meaning ‘good view’.
Finca Ca’n Beneït
The Cardinal must surely have been gazing out at the expansive island view from the centuries-old Finca Ca’n Beneït. We did the same last week when we went to stay at the Ca’n Beneït agroturisme, which reopened in March this year following the reformation carried out by the new owners of the hospitality business.
Toni Duran is now at the helm of the 10-room hotel he owns with his partner. The multilingual hotel director has worked in several five-star hotels in Mallorca and has international hospitality experience from working in Switzerland and England. But his new project hasn’t a whiff of pretentiousness about it: the focus is on warm service, comfort, and rural Mallorcan authenticity.
We arrived to a warm welcome and a chilled glass of cava, served on the terrace of the hotel’s Restaurant Mirabona. The views across the island are glorious and, if the sun falls right, the silvery sea in the Bay of Alcudia glints in the distance.
History, Authenticity, and Charm
Before going to our junior suite (number four), Toni gave us a tour of the property – parts of which date back to the 16th century. We saw the two-hundred-year-old chapel and the century-old olive mill, where the estate owners still produce the olive oil used for the hotel’s restaurant.
The place is breathtakingly beautiful, with a garden, orchard, and stone arches, terraces, and courtyards. Authentic Mallorcan features are everywhere, from the vaulted ceilings and wooden beams to stone arches. Modern facilities include a swimming pool with large terrace, bicycle storage facilities, and a sauna cabin.
Rooms & Suites
Ca’n Beneït’s 10 rooms include two suites with a terrace. The décor and furnishings have been chosen to complement the character of the property. Luxurious touches abound – but of a purposeful nature: the bedlinen, bathrobes, and extraordinarily soft towels (bathroom and pool – which are provided in the room) are from a company called Spirit of the Nomad which uses the finest-quality Egyptian cotton. I fell immediately in love with these items – particularly the bedspread and cushion covers. If you lust after the comfort and quality of this company’s products, guests of Ca’n Beneït are entitled to a 20 per cent discount on purchases from Spirit of the Nomad’s website.
The rooms have a useful set of charging leads – concealed in an attractive wooden box – in case guests have forgotten to bring theirs. There’s also a discreet power bank.
Guests have a kettle and coffee-capsule machine in the room to make their own hot drinks and the minibar offers a selection of free cold drinks. Water comes from the estate, is filtered and provided in glass bottles. And it’s free.
L’Occitane products are provided in the light, spacious bathrooms. There are bamboo toothbrushes and chewable tooth-cleaning tablets, along with the now-essential health kits – comprising disposable mask, gloves, and sanitizing gel.
Almost a week on from our one-night stay, my overriding memories of our room are comfort (wonderful mattress), light, lovely views, and tranquillity. Bliss.
Ca’n Beneït’s restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You can have three plates (starter, mains, and dessert) for 35 euros, which we thought was excellent value for the quality; if you prefer only one or two courses, these are priced separately.
We dined inside, enjoying a table by the log fire that was burning on a very cool evening. We started with squid croquettes on a sobrasada reduction, and artichokes stuffed with pork and veal with almond sauce. Both were excellent. Our main courses were perfectly cooked fish (hake and monkfish respectively). We ended our dinner with a good crema catalana.
Our breakfast and lunch the next day were both taken on the raised terrace, with its expansive views across the island and the nearer sight of the finca’s citrus orchard beneath the raised terrace. Breakfast is à la carte – one of the very few good things, in my opinion, to come from the pandemic. No more getting up from the table to visit a buffet makes a more relaxing start to the day – for guests, anyway!
The Boss raved about his avocado toast with poached egg, and I had a generous fruit salad – after a tempting array of cold cuts, cheeses, bread from Forn Per de sa Palla, fresh pastries, and preserves.
At lunchtime we tried the lamb terrine and chocoholic cake – both recommended. Then we reluctantly made our way home, talking all the way about our wonderful time in this hideaway part of Mallorca. We both concluded that when foreign travel opens up again, the 10-room Can Beneït will be a magnet for discerning guests who value the authenticity of rural Mallorca. It may be difficult to get a booking once that happens so, if you’re on the island and feel like stepping off the crazy merry-go-round of everyday life for a while, take your chance while you can.
Seven years had passed since our previous visit to Binibona, but we won’t leave it as long to return to Ca’n Beneït Agroturisme.
Good to Know
The easiest route to Binibona from the MA-13 motorway is via Campanet, thus avoiding traffic in the centre of Inca and passing through the villages of Selva and Moscari. I’d recommend using the Campanet route there and the Moscari/Selva/Inca/MA-13 for the return journey, to see more of this area.
Ca’n Beneït has bicycle storage for those exploring on two wheels.
Children are welcome.
Take some appropriate shoes if you enjoy walking. The beautiful forest walk from the hotel to Ses Figueroles and Alcanella, with its soundtrack of birdsong, will lift any jaded spirits.
The late Princess Diana was only one of the many famous guests who’ve sought relaxation, sanctuary, and privacy at Mallorca’s 5-star Belmond La Residencia hotel, located in the mountain village of Deià. But you won’t read tabloid-style revelations about celebrity guests in Louise Davis’ debut memoir, Hideaway Hotel – Secrets of a Mediterranean Celebrity Retreat (pub Ant Press). Instead, readers will find a discreet and fascinating behind-the-scenes look at this much-loved hotel.
Louise worked as public relations manager at La Residencia for twenty-two years, witnessing changes to the property, its ownership, and management. She wrote her debut memoir after retiring from what is probably one of Mallorca’s most enviable PR roles.
Having worked in hotel PR myself (for a couple of international chains and a country house hotel in the UK), I found Louise’s book an interesting read. I imagine anyone who’s stayed at Belmond La Residencia or has an interest in hotels, hospitality, tourism, or public relations, will also enjoy finding out more about this iconic hotel. I found the details about its history and cultural and community involvement particularly interesting.
I interviewed Louise Davis for my podcast ‘Authors in Mallorca’ and you can hear our conversation on the link at the end of this post..
If you’d like to read Hideaway Hotel – Secrets of a Mediterranean Celebrity Retreat by Louise Davis, you’ll find it on Amazon in Kindle and paperback formats. If you’re in Mallorca, check out Universal Bookshop in Portals Nous — where owner Kay Halley is an enthusiastic supporter of local authors.
New General Manager for 2021
There’s been a change at the helm of Belmond La Residencia this year. Following the departure of Ulisses Marreiros — who was at the hotel for eight years and has now moved to Belmond’s Copacabana Palace in Rio de Janeiro — Thomas Moons was appointed general manager.
Moons brings more than 15 years’ international hospitality experience to his new role in Deià, having worked at renowned hotels in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Dubai, before joining Belmond in 2012. He worked for the company in Myanmar, Cambodia, and Laos, before moving to Peru. Under his leadership, Miraflores Park in Lima gained recognition as South American’s Most Romantic Resort, Peru’s Leading Hotel Suite, and Peru’s Leading Business Hotel in the 2020 World Travel Awards.
‘It is my great pleasure to lead the team at La Residencia,’ Moons said of his new role. ‘Together with my team, I look forward to welcoming guests back to the storied history of La Residencia when the hotel opens for the spring season, and taking the hotel and brand to new heights.’
The five-star Deià hotel is expected to open for the 2021 season on May 17th.
And so another chapter begins for Belmond La Residencia…
Have you ever scrolled with a touch of envy through Instagram, seeing influencers flaunting fabulous freebies and their aspirational lifestyles? The reality of an influencer’s life is not always as it may seem, as my guest in this episode knows too well. In 2015, when comedian and writer Bella Younger created her alter ego Deliciously Stella – parodying clean-eating Instagram influencers – she had no idea it would lead to 150,000 followers … and a spell in The Priory clinic. Bella performed sell-out stand-up shows at the Edinburgh Fringe, authored the spoof ‘Deliciously Stella’ cookbook, and was twice named one of the Evening Standard’s most influential Londoners. Today she lives a very different life in rural Mallorca, where she finished writing her second book last year. Her mental-health memoir is very funny but is also essential reading for anyone who thinks they (or a family member) may be spending a little too much time on Instagram. ‘The Accidental Influencer: How My Need to Get Likes Nearly Ruined My Life’ was published by Harper Collins on May 13th.Hear Bella talking about her unusual route into the BBC, her process for her current fictional work in progress, finding peace and inspiration in Mallorca for her writing, snail racing … and more. ‘The Accidental Influencer: How My Need to Get Likes Nearly Ruined My Life’ is available now in bookshops and from Amazon, in Kindle and hardback formats. It's also available on Audible, narrated by Bella. Instagram @deliciouslystellaTwitter @bellayoungerPODCAST THEME TITLE: “Lifestyles”COMPOSER: Jack WaldenmaierPUBLISHER: Music Bakery Publishing (BMI)Authors in Mallorca is taking a short break; season two will be along soon.
Mallorca has some superb boutique hotels outside Palma and the coastal areas. In my last post I wrote about a memorable dinner we recently had, featuring the cuisine of private chef Piers Dawson — of whom we are big fans. The hotel where this guest-chef dinner took place was Ten Mallorca and it’s at the very heart of Mallorca, in the authentically Mallorcan town of Sineu. We’ve stayed at the hotel twice — the first time for my birthday last November and then again for the recent dinner.
English-owned-and-run hotel in Mallorca
Ten Mallorca is owned by Joanna and John Yaxley who were property surveyors when they lived in England.
Their idea had been to semi-retire in Mallorca and buy an apartment overlooking the sea. It didn’t quite work out like that: John was busy with work in the UK and unable to come to Mallorca with Joanna to view some properties. Instead of the apartment by the Mediterranean, she put a deposit on the old house that the couple has turned into a must-visit hotel for many islanders and tourists.
Over a period of several years they painstakingly restored this property, which is tucked away in a quiet lane in Sineu, into a unique nine-bedroom hotel (a tenth is being added).
They did most of the renovation work themselves, including the interior design.
‘We wanted to create something unique,’ Joanne told me, ‘something that was a bit of us. Every boutique hotel we saw in Mallorca and Ibiza was white, with rustic wood and materials. All very nice, but very similar.’
In terms of style, Ten Mallorca has hints of London, Paris, and even New York. Every bedroom is different and the bathrooms are gorgeous — three have a freestanding bath, as well as a walk-in shower. You’ll find wallpapers by designers Matthew Williamson and Christian Lacroix.
The couple preserved some of the property’s original heritage, including the beautifully patterned original floors on the ground floor.
‘One of the joys of the project was us working together,’ John told me. ‘It was the first time we’ve actually done that, to create something for which we both had a passion.’
A high-quality renovation and stylish design are not the whole story at Ten Mallorca. This owners of the hotel are also the hosts and, despite not having worked in the hotel business before, they are naturally hospitable and good fun. The warmth of this couple will make you feel right at home.
Food & Drink
Ten Mallorca has an attractive bar — both in terms of design and what it offers to drink. Gin fans will have fun choosing from a tempting selection of premium gins (including Mallorcan) but the bar is also well stocked with other drinks. The hotel has an excellent selection of Mallorcan wines, including organic.
Last year, once lockdown was over, Ten Mallorca offered Sunday roasts, courtesy of Joanne and John’s daughter, Hannah, an accomplished young chef. These lunches quickly sold out. Current restrictions mean the hotel cannot serve food to anyone not staying overnight in the hotel, but Ten Mallorca has some interesting Supper and Stay events including dinner, accommodation in one of their luxurious rooms, and a breakfast the next morning that will set you up for the day.
Our most recent visit was for one of these Supper and Stay nights and there are more of these events scheduled in the coming weeks. Hannah, Piers Dawson, and private chef Ross Hutchison will be taking their turns at the stoves in Ten Mallorca’s envy-inspiring kitchen during April. Follow Ten Mallorca on Instagram for details, or see their website.
Good to Know
Sineu is on the railway route between Palma and Manacor and the hotel is a short walk through the town from the station. If you arrive by car, a free public car park is just a couple of minutes’ walk from the hotel.
Ten Mallorca has a ground-floor wheelchair-accessible guest room.
Pack your swimmers! Ten Mallorca has an inviting courtyard saltwater infinity swimming pool.
Sineu has a huge weekly market every Wednesday morning; it’s one of the island’s biggest and most varied markets.