Not content with her solely her teenage clubbing memories of Mallorca, Esme Fox goes in search of a more rustic and luxurious side to the Spanish island at the renowned La Residencia Hotel.
I was expecting good things from a hotel that used to be owned by Richard Branson, and is a member of the Leading Hotels of the World, but nothing could have quite prepared me for the stunning setting and romantic architecture of La Residencia.
Set in and old 16th century olive press amongst terraced olive groves and sat on the side of the rolling Tramunatana Mountains, La Residencia is located in the exclusive, yet quaint village of Deià. Tucked in between the Mediterranean Sea and the mountains on the northern side of the Spanish island of Mallorca, Deià is so far removed from the island’s clubbing reputation of places like Magaluf that it’s hard to believe it’s even the same island.
The small village of Deià began to attract artists and writers during the 1960s, but has since become a fashionable enclave where many celebrities such as Richard Branson and Andrew Lloyd Webber have bought holiday homes. However, despite its reputation and after all these years has still managed to retain its rustic charm.
Everything at La Residencia is typically Mallorcan, from the old parts of the original olive press scattered around the communal areas, to the typical dry stone walls and the donkeys that live on the hill above the hotel. This is exactly what I wanted. If I was in Mallorca I didn’t want some sleek non-descript hotel where I could have been anywhere in the world, I definitely wanted to be reminded where I was.
It seems that everyone who’s anyone has stayed at La Residencia from Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas, to Pierce Brosnan, Kate Moss and Bob Geldof. Princess Diana even famously stayed here during her divorce from Prince Charles.
Rooms had terracotta tiled floors, chunky wooden furniture, a king-sized elegant four poster bed and cute Spanish-style shutters covered each of the windows. It was large and spacious and had all mod-cons that anyone could need, including a writing desk with plug in points for laptops, a relaxing lounge area, Nespresso coffee machine and two TVs and - one in the lounge and one that rose out of a chest located at the foot of the bed.
Neighbouring rooms were a little too close for my liking and when the shutters were open it was possible to see into other rooms. If you’re coming here for a bit of privacy or a romantic break, I suggest booking one of the Tramuntana Suites perched high above the hotel with spectacular mountain views. Some even come with their own private plunge pool.
Staff were very attentive and happy to help and serve wherever we went, each evening we were presented with a weather report for the next day, a profile on one of the staff and a small gift – chocolates, a CD with music from the Spa and a small Mallorcan statue. They were even happy to let me practise my Spanish with them.
Nice additions to the hotel included an art gallery with resident artist as well as various work shops and classes throughout the week. There were also tennis courts, a mountainside award-winning spa with signature treatments of olive oil and citrus and traditional Mallorcan gourmet restaurants.
Breakfast actually ended up being one the highlights of my stay at La Residencia, where we started the day perched high on the hillside with stunning views overlooking the swimming pool and Deià beyond. The buffet looked more like what you’d find in a homely farm kitchen rather than a hotel with a selection of Mallorcan cheeses and deli meats, fresh fruit, yoghurt, homemade bread as well a choice of different nuts and dried fruit on offer. Also available to order were different types of eggs or pancakes with syrup and fruit. Coffee, tea and milk was served in elegant silver jugs.
Sitting there with the warm Balearic winds blowing over the mountains and views of Deià’s old stone church, I couldn’t imagine finding a more perfect spot on the island and knew that La Residencia had cast its enchanting spell over me just like it has done for many others.