For temperate climes and a more relaxed pace, head to Mallorca for an out-of-season wellness weekend, says Rebecca Cox
Forget a factor 50-slapped-on summer week lazing around on one of Mallorca’s golden sandy beaches and evenings squeezed into one of its bustling clubs; it’s out of season that’s the perfect time to visit this Balearic gem for a wellness weekend with a difference. From all-ability hikes to blissful spas, you can get more Mallorca for your money (and a well-needed break) when you travel off-peak.
If you’re looking for more than a beach-and-crash break, opt for the luxury of the shiny new Park Hyatt nestled in the tranquil valley of Canyamel on the far east of the island, the group’s first resort in the Mediterranean. A 15-minute walk to the beach (or ten-minute ride on one of the hotel’s bicycles), it’s also perfectly situated to explore the nearby old town of Alcúdia; or for impressive hillside hikes straight from the front door. The quaint and cosy Mallorcan village styling contrasts with the luxurious rooms (complete with valley-view bathtubs) and four excellent restaurants. The on-site Serenitas Spa is one of the most attractive spa spaces in the Mediterranean. Hugging the coastal cliff of Cap Vermell, the treatment rooms overlook the valley, with breathtaking mountain views dropping into the Mediterranean Sea. A pretty zen space for a seriously relaxing massage.
The cooler months are perfect for outdoor activities, and there are several great hiking routes for all abilities. If you’re based on the west side of the island, explore the World Heritage Site of Serra de Tramuntana by bike or on foot, or set out on a coastal route straight from your hotel. There are several excellent golf options, including Pula (where Rafa Nadal can often be seen practising his swing), Son Servera and Capdepera.
While the off-season scene is on the rise, expect many of the big restaurants (and some hotels) to be shut if you travel in spring, autumn or winter, especially if you’re headed away from the capital. British chef Marc Fosh’s eponymous one-Michelin-starred restaurant in Palma is open all year round and worth a visit for his exceptional Mediterranean dishes using only the freshest local produce (marcfosh.com). Zaranda in the luxe Castell Son Claret hotel on the west coast is the only restaurant on the island with two Michelin stars. Beautiful, locally caught seafood is at the heart of the menu.
On the east coast the larger hotels like the Park Hyatt draw the biggest dining crowds, and the Tapas Bar is the perfect place for cocktails and excellent sharing dishes. All ingredients used in the classic Mallorcan cuisine are organic and sourced from farms and fishing ports nearby. Good luck making it past the fourth course though – it’s hard to stop at a couple of bites of each of the countless plates.
There are several excellent wineries on the island (Bodega Ribas is the oldest and known for its excellent house white based on Mallorcan grape Prensal), but for a tasting with a difference, ask the locals for any olive harvesting dates. If you can coincide your trip with the first Aubocassa harvest of the season (and wangle an invite from the family), you’ll be treated to a wine and olive oil tasting, watch the liquid gold (or vivid green) being made, and then be treated to a sumptuous menu of at least a dozen courses.
For a cafe/restaurant with an all-day brasserie feel, drop into one of the Cappuccino chains spread out at different luxury ports across the island where you could as easily sit with a post-dinner cocktail and a book as you could go there for a healthy breakfast with freshly squeezed Zumo de Naranja. There’s a never-ending playlist of easy-listening background music, the drinks are top quality and the decor is divine. Your saviour when you need to dump all your bags when shopping in Palma, the Cappuccino nestled within Palma’s backstreets has a courtyard that is a suntrap and the staff won’t mind if you spend an afternoon there taking in the beautiful surroundings (and trying cocktails from their impeccably crafted cocktail menu!).
La Hacienda is the epitome of cosy dining. Order from their menu of top quality steaks, and vegetarians, fill up your plate with the eclectic salad bar and let your food go down by the toasty fireplaces. For a simply divine and top quality steak, make your reservation at La Hacienda and prepare to waddle home afterwards.
Beyond the beautiful scenery of the Serra de Tramuntana and the major sites of the capital such as the Palma Cathedral La Seu, for a more tranquil weekend explore the hidden gems to the north. Sóller is a beautiful old town in the heart of the ‘valley of oranges’. From the impressive Sant Bartomeu church to the tram chugging its way through town, it’s a beautiful place for a laid-back lunch. While you’re in the area, pop to the idyllic village of Deià, which English poet and novelist Robert Graves put on the map when he built his home there in 1932, and more recently featured on BBC’s The Night Manager, starring Tom Hiddleston. Eat at fish restaurant Ca’s Patro March, where Hugh Laurie’s dastardly Richard Roper dines his entourage (+34 97163 9137). Even if you’re travelling outside the summer months, the island’s beaches are well worth a visit, particularly for a sunrise or sunset stroll. Playa de Muro is popular with visitors while locals recommend Cala Mesquida in Artà for its picturesque sand dunes.
It’s lovely to stroll around the small markets in towns such as Felanitx, Mallorca. Located in the south east of the island it’s around a 40-minute drive from the Park Hyatt and the perfect place to blend in with the locals having a lazy Sunday stroll or a coffee in the square. Look for brightly coloured pottery, baskets and fine Mallorcan linens among the usual market fare. There are several seriously interesting (and teeny tiny) galleries and potteries in this gem of a town, so do try and squeeze in a visit between hikes and spa treatments.
Whatever you do in Mallorca…
Squeeze in a visit to Banyalbufar, a breathtaking hillside town surrounded by the towering peaks of the Tramuntana mountain range.
Pack your hiking boots. Wherever you are on the island, you’re not far from a beautiful hilly walk with guaranteed good views.
Pay a visit to the studio of Joan Miró near Palma, a Catalan painter, sculptor, and ceramicist who spent much of his life on the island.
Get to know your local yoga instructor. The sunrise classes with a yogi from Cap Vermell Country Club are unbelievably good.
Doubles at Park Hyatt Mallorca start from approx €300 during the winter months (from €640 peak season), including breakfast.
READ MORE TRAVEL: PARIS / ICELAND / BRITISH BEACHES / AMSTERDAM / ST IVES / MALDIVES / PRAGUE / ETHIOPIA
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