Having shaken off a once-questionable reputation, earned decades ago in the bars of Magaluf, the sultry island of Mallorca “is having a bit of a moment right now”, says Vogue. “A plethora of five-star hotels and opulent villas” are luring in visitors who spend more time at the yacht club than the night club.
Emerald beaches remain a glittering draw, but among the sunseekers are those who “relish local cuisine and spending time cycling, walking and doing yoga and watersports”, says The Daily Telegraph. They’ve helped to encourage “a move away from the traditional beach destinations as holidaymakers seek our calmer, more authentic experiences in rural landscapes and less-developed parts of the coast”.
One such destination is Port Andratx, a pretty harbour town on the westernmost tip of the island - and one of its “most upmarket neighborhoods”, says Mansion Global. Although just a half-hour’s drive from Palma airport, it feels altogether more remote.
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What to do
The main street of Port Andratx hugs the marina - “perfect for docking a private yacht”, says the Financial Times - and winds its way through a picturesque cluster of cafes and restaurants (see below), past “the town’s exclusive sailing club” and up towards the steeply terraced slopes and their smattering of luxury villas.
It’s a picturesque place, the natural harbour protected by two long headlands, and the Med stretching out beyond them. If you’ve neglected to bring your own yacht, you can hire one, and a captain, to take you out for a day of beach-hopping or snorkelling along the deserted coast. Dragonera island, a short cruise away, is a wildlife sanctuary with excellent hiking trails.
With access to both the flat(-ish) coastal road and steep mountain tracks, Port Andratx is also the perfect base for a cycling holiday. In fact, says Cycling Weekly, Mallorca has become a “go-to destination for UK riders looking for some sun and smooth roads abroad”. This part of the island is “also horse riding country”, says the Telegraph.
The west coast of Mallorca is studded with beautiful bays and beaches, and repays time spent exploring by car, bike or boat. The rocky cove at Deia, with its mottled floor of sand cobbles is one of the most picturesque, and well worth the 25-mile drive. A few miles on is Port Soller, another pretty little harbour town with a string of welcoming restaurants.
Palma itself is “no longer just a gateway for beach holidays”, says The Guardian, but also “a destination in its own right, with enough cultural, historic and gastronomic delights in its compact centre to keep you busy for a day or two”.
Where to stay
Villa Infinitum - another destination in its own right - overlooks Port Andratx and the marina from its five bedrooms, infinity pool (above and below) and multiple roof terraces and sun decks.
A sleek, modern aesthetic prevails throughout, complemented by well chosen furnishings and the occasional work of art. The Mantle, a sculpture by David Harber, sits in a courtyard at the centre of the villa, where its bronze and gold leaf petals catch the morning sun as it filters in through floor-to-ceiling glass.
The villa comes with the services of a villa manager and housekeeper, and a cooked breakfast six days a week. A “wine bodega” - somewhere in between a pantry and a cellar - is stocked with a generous range of complimentary champagne, prosecco, wines and beers, as well as an array of craft gins. Massages and spa treatments from Ruuby Black Label can be arranged at the villa, which incorporates a gym room, sauna, indoor swimming pool and spa area.
Electric bikes are available for exploring the local area, including numerous beaches within a short ride.
What to eat
Port Andratx hosts to a wealth of Mediterranean and international restaurants, with fresh seafood the star of many a menu. Club de Vela, the yacht club, is a case in point: it serves fabulous paella, fish and pasta dishes right on the marina. On the other side of the harbour, there’s a French-Italian flavour to Villa Italia, where langoustines, steaks and monkfish are the highlights, as well as an indulgent crepe suzettes.
In Palma, the culinary leading light is the Michelin-starred British chef Marc Fosh, whose brasserie occupies “a 17th-century building in the heart of the old town”, says The Guardian. Fosh also has a partnership with Villa Infinitum, arranging for his chefs to come to the villa and prepare a personalised menu, ranging from a three-course formal dinner to a tapas tasting menu.
When to go
Traditionally a summer destination, Mallorca enjoys good (if less reliable) weather early in spring and well into the autumn. November, for example, records average highs of 19C.
Need to know
Several airlines, including British Airways, easyJet and Ryanair, fly to Palma de Mallorca from a range of UK airports, from as little as £40. Villa Infinitum is available from €18,000 per week, based on ten sharing, including daily breakfast, maid service and a dedicated villa manager. Visit www.infinitumvillas.com
Top image by Andrés Nieto Porras
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