A Weekend in

Mallorca

Words and images by Susana Ordovás
Image from oltrepò pavese

Mallorca has long been a sanctuary for artists and makers. All images: Susana Ordovás.

Susana Ordovás shares insider's tips for an inspiring, design-filled weekend in the sunny and windswept Balearic island of Mallorca, including the best house museums, flea markets and artisan shops.
 
Mallorca has it all: crystal-clear waters, craggy mountains, ochre sandstone villages, and a thriving capital with fabulous hotels and a flourishing restaurant scene with options to suit every foodie. Mallorca’s prettiest places don’t just edge its breathtaking coast, they are scattered throughout the island’s rugged interior.
 
The largest of Spain’s Balearic Islands, Mallorca has a rich heritage of craft, including weaving, ceramics, and glassmaking, going back centuries with master artisans trained in using materials such as wood, clay, straw and marble. Well known for sea and sun, the island has long been a sanctuary for artists and makers, attracting creatives to its shores for generations. From leafy garden villas, centuries-old palaces and picturesque ateliers - where skilled artisans work with traditional techniques that have been passed down through generations - these are Susana’s favorite places to visit for an unforgettable Mediterranean getaway.

 

Image from oltrepò pavese

From rustic boutique retreats to sumptuous hotels, Mallorca is a traveller's paradise.

Where to Stay
 
Sant Francesc Hotel Singular, Palma
In the heart of the historic quarter of Palma’s old town, in the peaceful Sant Francesc plaza, is this stylish hotel that has a wonderful rooftop terrace with a pool and bar overlooking a 13th century church. A former mansion that combines original architectural features with a sophisticated, contemporary design.
 
Can Ferrereta, Santanyi
A converted 17th century grand house full of contemporary comfort, Can Ferrereta is a magical retreat in the quaint village of Santanyi. The hotel, which belongs to the owner of Sant Francesc (above), has an impressive collection of contemporary Spanish art and plenty of local input from potters, carpenters and farmers.
 
Belmond La Residencia, Deia
In the artists’ village of Deia, this beautiful property is a warren of centuries-old buildings hidden among the foothills of the Sierra Tramuntana and surrounded by sweet-scented citrus trees and ancient olive groves. All rooms have terraces looking out to the green-shuttered, ochre town.
 
Cap Rocat, Bay of Palma
A superb refurbishment of an impressive 19th-century fortress has resulted in a captivating boutique hotel overlooking the Bay of Palma. Cap Rocat has magical dining venues, a private rock cliff beach, a jetty and salt water pool. Wonderfully secluded with a drawbridge, bunkers and suites in former shooting buttresses, the atmosphere is both historic and romantic.
 
Can Alomar, Palma
A former 19th century palace, this sumptuous boutique hotel sits on the doorstep of the capital’s chicest shops and galleries. Retaining much of the elegance and splendor of the original building, Can Alomar is a haven of peace and its rooftop restaurant, De Tokio a Lima, provides a delightful oasis from the city’s bustle.

 

Image from oltrepò pavese

Mallorca has a thriving restaurant scene with options to suit every foodie.

Where to Eat
 
Las Terrazas of Hotel Bendinat, Palma
A gem of a restaurant in the bay of Palma famous for its paellas, it also serves an excellent variety of tapas, salads, pastas, fish and meat dishes. It is located in a privileged position at the seafront and has truly wonderful views.
 
Ola de Mar, Portixol Harbour
Located in Portixol Harbour, this restaurant has two amazing terraces overlooking the sea and serves delicious Mediterranean cuisine, fish from the Balearic coast and all types of rice and calderetas.
 
Tast Club, Palma
Tucked away on a narrow street in Palma’s old town, Tast Club is discreetly hidden with no sign over its door. Elegant, warm and intimate, and reminiscent of a stylish old English club, the menu features Mediterranean dishes that can be ordered as a main course or tapas style suitable for sharing.
 
Za’atar, Palma
Located in a beautiful patio in the very heart of Palma’s historic centre, I love this restaurant not only for its setting but for its delicious tapas with a Middle Eastern flair. It’s also a great place for drinks on warm summer nights.
 
See also De Tokio a Lima (in 'Where to Stay', above).

 

Image from oltrepò pavese

Mallorca has a rich heritage of craft, including weaving and ceramics.

Where to Shop
 
 
Gordiola glassmakers, Palma and Algaida
Established in 1719, this is the oldest glassmaking factory in Mallorca and is well worth a visit; their pieces are exquisite. They have a shop in Palma and a shop and workshop in Algaida. Visitors to Algaida can watch master glassmakers at work; an art still handed down from master to apprentice and takes years to perfect.
 
Textil Bujosa, Santa María del Camí
A family-run textile workshop off-the-beaten-track in the village of Santa María del Camí. You'll find distinctive Majorcan roba de llengües, the hard-wearing ikat linen fabric used all over the island for curtains, bedspreads and upholstery. The Bujosa family have preserved traditional fabric-dying techniques, and you can visit the workshop to see fabric being woven on ancient looms (quite the experience!).
 
Rialto Living, Palma
The foremost lifestyle space in Mallorca, Rialto Living occupies a 19th century Modernist building in Palma’s old town, which once housed the Rialto theatre-cinema. It offers an eclectic mix of bed linen, fabrics, rugs, furniture, ceramics, lighting, art and books. It also has a café with delicious cakes.
 
Arquinesia Perfumes, Palma
Hidden down a cobbled side street, a small doorway marks the lightly-scented shop of Arquinesia. Ducking into its cool interior, you’re greeted with a traditional wood beamed ceiling, tiled floor and a multitude of shelves, cupboards and tiny drawers full of scented soaps, candles and body lotion. Perfumier Arquinesia takes you on a journey through the Balearics with its evocative scents.
 
Consell flea market, Consell
Easily reached by car, the village of Consell hosts the island’s largest flea market every Sunday, selling everything from old books, crafts and jewelry, to a wide and eclectic collection of second-hand, antique and traditional Mallorcan furniture.

 

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The Pilar and Joan Miro Foundation. 

Art & Culture
 
Can Vivot, Palma
A stunning private palace in the heart of Palma that illustrates the splendor of Mallorca’s Baroque courtyards with rich cobblestones and an imperial staircase with two entrances on the upper floor landing. Built in the 17th century, the decadent interiors have remained untouched for centuries. Book an appointment for a delightful guided tour by the owner’s daughter.
 
The Pilar and Joan Miró Foundation
A museum dedicated to Joan Miró, it comprises of a main building exhibiting 7000 paintings and sculptures donated by the artist himself, a library, a sculpture garden and Miró's studio.
 
Els Calderers, Sant Joan
A privately-owned country estate dating back to the 13th century. This traditional Mallorcan manor house, just south of the rural village of Sant Joan, has a striking ivy-clad façade, beautiful gardens and fully furnished interiors that give you a flavour of aristocratic life in Mallorca.
 
Jardines de Alfabia, Bunyola
A beautiful setting of tranquility, Alfabia consists of a house, gardens and an orchard located in Bunyola right in the heart of the Tramuntana Mountain Range. The peaceful gardens, with watercourses and pools, are thought to have been designed by Benhabet, a Muslim governor of Inca in the 13th century, and are a great example of the Moorish talent for landscaping and irrigation. Even if you're not a keen gardener, you'll appreciate the beautiful shady spots on a hot day.
 
Ermita de la Santísima Trinidad, Valldemossa
A somewhat hidden monastery in the mountains near the village of Valldemossa. Built in the 17th century, this peaceful retreat is still inhabited by monks and has a lookout point with spectacular views of the coast. Well worth visiting.

 

 

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