Mark Davidson revels in the understated luxury of one of the island’s favourite hotels, the ultra-charming Belmond La Residencia, a jewel of ‘the other Mallorca’.
Set in the town of Deià, nestling in the Tramuntana Mountain Range in Western Majorca, Belmond La Residencia has long been a favourite of those who know a thing or two about elegant hideaways.
One of the prestigious Belmond group of hotels, Belmond La Residencia is most definitely a five star experience … but so relaxed, chic and subtly-managed that you could easily imagine yourself staying in a grand private home.
Lying in the shadow of the Teix Mountain (part of the Serra de Tramuntana range) the impossibly pretty village of Deià is something of a millionaires’ hideaway, with some stunning residences. Visitors over the years have included Richard Branson, Princess Diana, Bob Geldof and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Perhaps its most famous resident was the English poet Robert Graves who made his home there in the 1930s. He died in Deià and is buried in the town’s little graveyard and his original home is now a museum.
Development has been tightly controlled, maintaining Deià’s traditional beauty and charm. The village has a slightly bohemian air and, alongside a fabulous selection of restaurants, you’’ find a number of art galleries and gift shops. Indeed, an artistic spirit permeates Belmond La Residencia. Pieces from the hotel’s private collection can be glimpsed in guest rooms or enjoyed in the sculpture garden while the hotel is delighted to arrange for its guests a tour of Deià with resident curator Cecilie Sheridan to discover its history and meet emerging artists.
History here is rich, with the name Deià (or the more anglicised ‘Deya’) dating back to the Moorish conquest of Mallorca, between the 10th and 13th centuries. The Moors created terraced irrigation systems for olive growing, still a major crop today, with olive trees covering the slopes round the town.
There is plenty to discover in Deià and the nearby towns of Valldemossa and Soller, exploring on foot or (even better!) by donkey which the hotel can organise for you, but it’s just as tempting to hole up in Belmond La Residencia, surrounded by luxury and five star service.
Belmond La Residencia was created from two manor houses, dating from the 16th and 17th centuries, lovingly restored and furnished with local antiques and fabrics to create a hotel of unsurpassed style and charm.
Guests can choose from 71 elegant rooms and suites and one private villa, located across four different buildings, each unique and special in its own way. Never has the phrase ‘spoilt for choice’ been more apposite. All rooms and suites are exquisitely and tastefully decorated with Mallorcan antiques and local works of art and exude individual character. As you might expect of a hotel at this standard, he latest technology is offered in every room.
Situated right in the centre of Deià, Belmond La Residencia is an oasis of tranquillity, surrounded by stunningly lush and perfectly tended gardens and with fabulous views and aspects to enjoy. Those gardens sweep down to the wonderful main pool, but if you want to really chill out there is another adults-only pool at another level in the tiered gardens.
Food here is nothing short of amazing, yet unpretentious, joyously showcasing and celebrating local culinary traditions. Embark on a gastronomic journey in the fine-dining venue El Olivo or choose the breezy Café Miró, named after the display of 33 original Joan Miro paintings on display and offering Summer evening entertainment beneath the stars. The Pool Restaurant (Summer opening only) is another delightful, sun-splashed choice
Mediterranean buffet breakfasts are served in Son Fony, where tables overlook the main pool and offer tranquil views of the Tramuntana Mountains. Guests indulge homemade preserves, freshly baked breads and pastries, local seasonal fruits from the hotel’s orchard, fine Spanish Iberian hams and organic eggs … the perfect gastronomic start.
To say that I would unhesitatingly recommend Belmond La Residencia to my more discerning clients goes almost without saying … but the recommendation will come with a warning: you may never want to leave! However I’m assured that the prestigious Belmond Group has hotels right around the world, each exuding quality, style and elegance so there will always be more to see and experience, Belmond-style.