Looking for that perfect weekend city escape? The island of Mallorca, Spain is your one-stop-shop for food, luxury and beach-life, and only 2 hours from London, it’s the ideal getaway.
It’s no secret I’m a fan of Mallorca. Before visiting this island, Mallorca conjured up images of loud, irritating and cheap tourists. Somewhere people go to party. But this is not the case. Yes, there are areas that still attract those types, but find the other side of this island, which is all about incredible architecture, food, gorgeous hotels and a white-sand beach right on the city’s doorstep, and you’ll fall in love too.
Here are some of my top tips for a quick, luxurious, 48-hour vacation on the island;
12 pm check-in
Only 20 minutes from the airport, my new favorite place to stay for a quick stay in Mallorca is Hotel Gloria de Sant Jaume. It’s located right in the gorgeous area of Palma, Mallorca’s town center, filled with designer stores and cute little cafes, but the hotel itself is on a narrow street, hidden from the crowd, but oozing with charm.
The former mansion, now a stylish boutique hotel, has recently been renovated, the owners have cleverly kept the traditional 16th-century Spanish features of high, timber-joist ceilings and gorgeous patterned tiles, blended with modern-classic features. Built as a nobleman´s manor house, the hoteliers Heidi Wolf and Jordi Cabau, have put love and attention to every detail for the 14 rooms of the hotel.
Our room, a junior suite, was spacious and looked out to the hotel’s internal courtyard. The hotel is small enough to feel like you’re staying at your great-aunt’s mansion, but big enough that you only occasionally bump into staff or guests.
The underground spa is impressive and cozy, with a lap pool, sauna and steam room set in the original stables of the building. Mallorca doesn’t often have cloudy days, but if it did, this would be the place to be.
The restaurant well designed, bright and looks out onto the cobble-stone street where horse-drawn carts still pass by. The menu here is modern-Spanish and buffet breakfast with a la carte option is worth waking up for.
Don’t forget to head to the roof where there’s a small pool but fabulous view and plenty of sunbeds to get in a bit of rays, without needing to pack for the beach.
2 pm: Beach & Lunch
One thing to remember about visiting Spain is that breakfast should be reasonably small, followed by and midday siesta, a late lunch around 2 pm and dinner at 10 pm. Anything in-between is just snacking.
Combine your beach and eating experience at one of Mallorca’s newest beach clubs, Assaona. Located just a short 15-20 minute walk from Hotel Gloria, the beach club is the place to spend a few hours, either by yourself, family, a couple or girlfriends. Don’t rush your experience here because the beauty of it is its relaxed vibe. Dress casual chić. It’s literally on the beach, so no need for heels, but take your cue from its interiors – simple, classy, beachy, but expensive.
A simple menu and great wine list, with an incredible view of that aqua blue ocean, will have the day drift away faster than you’d like.
Day beds are 20 Euro.
Head back to the hotel, stopping on the way to do a little shopping on Passeig des Born, Avinguda Jaume III and the pedestrianized cobbled streets and ancient passageways around Plaça Major and Plaça Cort. You’ll find everything you need from a good shopping trip – from Louis Vuitton to the cute corner store selling chilies and oils.
Shower, relax, get ready for a great night out.
You’ve got your glam on ready for an incredible meal at Fera. Set in a palatial building on a cobblestone street, a 10-minute walk from Hotel Gloria is, Fera, a “MediterAsian” cuisine with artist flare.
Expect incredible dishes including starters: Mushroom carpaccio, egg yolk, pine-nut vinaigrette and arbequina oil caviar (possibly the best dish I’ve tasted this year and its vegan!), textures of carrot with coconut milk, curry and kimchi almonds.
For main course the grilled Wagyu beef with truffle sauce, sweet potato purée and shiitake confit is incredible. Do not leave without trying the desserts, specifically the Yuzu mousse, lemon cream and thyme crumble, which is a treat for the eyes and tastebuds.
After plenty of food and wine, its time to walk around this gorgeous town and enjoy the feeling of not having to wake up early. Slowly making your way back to the hotel, possibly stopping for a nightcap on the way back.
Get ready for an incredible, undisturbed long sleep.
Feeling lazy and already in holiday mode, head down for that incredible breakfast, or if you have a little more energy, get your joggers on and explore the town, working up a sweat before another day of good food and relaxing.
Hire a car. The island has so much to see and do that its worth getting a car – even for a day. The hotel can help you organize one they are cheap and easy and usually includes insurance (but check before you pay).
Head to Dieà, a town about 45 minutes from Palma into the mountains. The views are spectacular and the town itself is so sweet.
There are a few interesting small boutiques, galleries and shops in the village, and plenty of places to eat and drink – including the Michelin-starred Es Racó d’Es Teix. It’s worth taking time to stroll around, admiring the sympathetically restored old stone houses nestling in narrow alleys. Foodies will love the village’s little central grocery store Es Forn, crammed to the rafters with local produce and gourmet treats.
Head to Belmond Hotel which is a spectacular hotel in the mountains, a known hangout for celebrities.
Make sure you head to Ca’s Patro March – perched at the side of the rocky Cala Deià in Mallorca’s Tramuntana mountains. It’s not easy to get to – you will need a car and to walk a little off-the-beaten-track, but it’s worth it. Tables and chairs are little perched on the edge of the cliff overlooking the most spectacular view of the mountains and crystal blue water below. Fresh seafood is a must along with a chilled glass of Rosé (maybe a few more for the one not driving).
Head back to Palma, stopping to take in the incredible views along the way.
Start the evening with a stroll around the back streets of Palma discovering incredible galleries, clothing and homeware stores, and rediscovering the good-feeling of meandering.
9.30 – 10pm
This new kid on the block is definitely the coolest. Defined by its one long bar, this restaurant is designed for the guest to be entertained by the chefs who have their kitchen behind the open bar. It’s the best place to visit if your traveling solo or with a partner, perhaps more tricky with a family.
Offering fresh seafood, flavored with traditional Spanish spices – it’s a modern approach to a classic Spanish style of eating tapas at the bar.
Nightcap at Tast Bar. Just a few doors down from Hotel Gloria, this is a gorgeous space, which has a tiny sign on the archway thats easy to miss. Tast is Mallorca’s almost-private member’s club scene.
Hard to find, but once you get inside it’s all about the vaulted ceiling with dazzling chandeliers contrasted with traditional Spanish food such a canned anchovy with fruit vinaigrette; canned sardine with truffled poached quail’s egg and tentacle-stuffed ‘chipirón’ with onion and truffle. There’s also a raw bar and traditional main courses. Pair these with traditional cocktails such as olive martini, and you’ve got yourself the perfect end to your trip.
Feeling refreshed but not quite ready to go home? Get packing and realize that getting away for just 48 hours is well worth it and you must do it again before reality gets in the way.