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The Weekender: Mallorca

Our publisher shares a glimpse into his jet-set weekend in Mallorca. 

David Leppan in Mallorca

One can’t claim to know a place after visiting just a corner of it for three days. That said, I have a sense for what it’s about as I’ve lived on a neighbouring island, a short flight away, for over 25 years.  

Mallorca, specifically La Tramuntana, a mountainous region in the northwest, felt at times a little like the South of France and at other moments, like somewhere in Italy. The architecture was more sombre, more austere, less romantic but nonetheless quaint. Far more striking, were the ancient olive groves cascading down the mountainsides towards the Mediterranean, the stone terraces proof of those, long ago, attempting to tame the slopes and harvest them.  

The first stop was lunch in the pretty but overrun village of Valldemossa, at El Taller Valldemossa. Friends had recommended it as the place to eat. We found ourselves in a former mechanic workshop with a vintage Michelin man sign on the facade.  

Staircase to heaven, El Olivo, La Residencia, A Belmond Hotel.

Then on to the charming Sa Pedrissa, a 17th century manor house run as an agrotourism establishment, just outside of Deia. We were met by the general manager and led through the gardens, past ancient olive trees to a suite that felt suspended above the coastline.  

I love the sunrise and it is seen in all its glory from here. Children under 12 are not allowed, something I understand but find rarely in a country where family is still most important. Breakfast on the terrace was a delight because the hotel is located on the sunny side of the valley, one that is often clouded over. I also fell in love with Apple, the resident donkey. She is certainly one of the more unusual alarms I’ve come across and totally charming.   

The evening was spent immersed in art at the 13th century former monastery Son Ru. My talented friends Alexandra and Simone launched Fabula (@fabula.est) in this ancient setting and it could not have been more enchanting.  

Steeped in history, surrounded by wonderful people, nourished with music, dance, painting and food (holistic dining) and without question the best ice cream (elaela) I’ve had in years. We all went away merrier, uplifted and mesmerised by the evening. I am grateful my friend Patrick, and not I, had to navigate the very narrow path down the hill to where we’d parked. 

A view of El Olivar, the olive grove surrounding Son Ru.

La Residencia, A Belmond Hotel is almost mythical as far as Mediterranean hotels go. Brought to most people’s attention years ago when owned by Richard Branson, it now belongs to the Belmond Group, LVMH. Of course, it is elevating it to new heights.  

This hamlet-like establishment in Deia is manicured to near perfection. As you walk from one stone building to another, along pathways flanked with flowerbeds, it is hard not to think the world is perfect. The patrons now include more Americans who have discovered the island and I’m sure a direct flight from New York brings plenty of high-end, eager visitors. Our accommodation was on the side of the mountain and provided lovely rooftop and valley views with the sea in one direction. The hotel is committed to being more sustainable and this is noticeable, with multiple drink fountains to fill up one’s bottle, for example.  
To my surprise, I managed to get a last-minute reservation for dinner at El Olivo although the threat of poor weather forced us all inside from what is one of the more charming and certainly most photographed terraces on Mallorca.  

The tasting menu was excellent, the architecture a mixture of rural but noble. Original artwork on all the walls makes this feel more like a converted home, the beautiful writing paper, envelopes and other divinely printed materials were impossible to ignore. What a rarity that is today even in the finest of hotels.  

The Mallorquines themselves admit to there not being much nightlife, this belonging more to Ibiza. As for beach life, we didn’t venture to the local cove of Deia. My sense though is this is an island where one stays in a beautiful country retreat with a pool and gathers with friends rather than venturing out.  

 This article originally appeared in Billionaire's Taste and Travel Issue. To subscribe, click here.