Basking in the Mediterranean sunshine, a little under 150 miles from the Spanish mainland and 2 hours flying time from London is Mallorca, the largest of the Balearic Islands. Every year the island welcomes over 8 million tourists with the vast majority heading for the lively resorts of Magaluf, Palma Nova and other towns on the island’s shoreline. They come for the hot sun, golden beaches and round the clock entertainment in resorts like Magaluf, Arenal and Palma Nova but there is another suit of clothes that Mallorca wears.
Move away from the major resorts and discover the beauty of the Serra de Tramuntana Mountains along the northwest coast, a paradise for walkers and hikers, small sandy coves backed with pines and palms, vineyards that have been tended by the same families for generations. Mallorca has long been the haunt of the rich and famous going back as far as the composer Frédéric Chopin with such names as Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Peter Ustinov, Richard Branson, Harry Secombe and many more. The island is host to the Spanish Royal Family who have properties on the island, in the 1950s Errol Flynn came to Mallorca and stayed at the Bon Sol Hotel, one of the most beautiful hotels on the island situated amongst the pine and palm trees of Illetas, 5 miles west of Palma and my home for 4 nights.
The Bon Sol Hotel Resort & Spa as it is now, began life back in the 1950s originally as a guest house but over the years has transformed into what it is today, one of the most desirable hotels on the island but still owned and managed by the Xamena family. Originally, over 200 steps led from the hotel down to the beach, but permission was obtained to blast through the rock allowing corridors and lifts to be installed affording guests easy access to the beach. This is a hotel with so many wonderful features it will take the visitor several days to explore them and then on speaking with other guests you realise you have missed some!! Take the lift down 2 levels, walk along the marble corridor and gaze at the small marble walled chapel, a marble altar supported on 4 matching pillars, the white cloth covered top adorned with Crucifix, Bible and twin candles overlooked by a statue of the Madonna standing in prayer, two seats for those re-taking vows or having rings blessed. The simple beauty is hard to describe but leaves the visitor with a lasting memory. Move down to level 4, home to the Nirvana Spa, be pampered and rejuvenated with treatments such as, thalassotherapy, balneotherapy, algotherm or enjoy a Vichy shower or maybe the Mediterranean Sea jet therapy cabin to name but a few. Enjoy complimentary yoga classes twice a day for complete relaxation. Down to level 7, enter the short marble corridor, through the door, step out into a sub-tropical paradise of palms, rubber plants, flowering shrubs, a swimming pool hewn from the rock constantly fed by a small water fall from the pool above.
Relax on one of the comfortable sun loungers with large umbrellas, take in the towering pines that stand stark against the azure blue sky, obtain a cooling drink from the well-stocked bar operated by some of the most efficient and friendliest bar staff you will find anywhere. For those preferring seawater to fresh the hotels small private beach is but a few steps away where the golden sand and crystal clear waters await.
Bedrooms at Bon Sol are offered in four categories, double room, junior suite and family suite. All are furnished to a very high standard, large comfortable beds, flat screen TV, bathrobe, slippers, bath, shower, toiletries, balcony or terrace. Occupying room 116, a junior suite was a delight with panoramic views of Palma Bay from one of the largest patios I have ever encountered complete with sun loungers, umbrella, table and chairs. Standing here each morning watching the sun rise over yonder hills engulfing Palma in an orange glow across the bay is a memory that stays with you for life, but I digress. The bathroom with large glass shower cubicle, bath, wash basin, high quality toiletries and magnifying mirror made visits a joy instead of a chore.
Food is an important element of any holiday and the Bon Sol will not disappoint but before this, time for a pre-dinner drink with friends in the main bar where a pianist quietly entertains, or, sit out on the comfortable terrace in the warm evening air. Try the barman’s excellent margaritas or one of the many spirits which are not measured, just poured.
Enter the main dining room where a violinist is serenading guests, be welcomed by the maître d’ attired in formal 3-piece suit, often a member of the Xamena family and be shown to your table. Choose from two menus; one a ‘gourmet’ menu, select wine from a list of excellent vintages. Excellent food, waiter service and amongst good company, it doesn’t get much better than that.
For that special occasion dine at the beach restaurant, select a table overlooking the sandy beach, the sound of waves gently lapping on the shore as a guitarist serenades, the warm air scented by the pines creates memories that last forever.
Each evening the main bar becomes the entertainment hub, flamenco dancers, music, singers and one that stood out, Paul Martin. A singer that is not a tribute act to Dean Martin but someone who actually sounded like Dean Martin when he sang the songs, brilliant.
Breakfast is taken in a separate restaurant, light, airy, overlooking one of the three swimming pools. The selection is vast. Eggs, however you like them done, there is a separate egg station where a chef will cook them to your order. Omelet, what filling would you like, select the fresh ingredients to have it made to your liking. Fresh fruit, cheeses, meats, sausages, bacon, mushrooms the list is endless. Fresh orange juice, certainly, there is an orange squeezer to give you the freshest orange juice ever.
All too soon I am watching the sun rise on my last morning, and it’s time to reflect on the last few days and ask who would enjoy this hotel. The answer is simple, anyone who is looking for quality, good service, good food and relaxation at a wonderful location with like-minded people. With 80% repeat business and guests who return year after year, some who have been returning for over 30 years says it all.
Was there anything I didn’t like, actually there was, saying goodbye to Martin and Lorraine Xamena and leaving the Bon Sol, but in the words of Arnold Schwarzenegger, “I’ll be back”.
Silver Travel Advisor recommends Classic Collection Holidays.