Think of Mallorca and you’d be forgiven for conjuring up the image of a bunch of boozy English louts, uniformly clad in their matching stag do t-shirts, all off to do their bit for the dwindling public image of the Britisher abroad and to quickly burn themselves to a shade more commonly associated with a crustacean.
However, whilst these cultural ambassadors are consuming their weight in Sangria, paella and San Miguel down in Palma, those of us who wish to experience a more civilised vacation are heading northward. Whilst Palma certainly does provide some rather wonderful distractions – its melting pot of architectural styles is truly something to behold – a quick trip to the other side of the Tramuntana mountain range reveals the rather more unspoilt delights of towns such as Valdemossa, Sóller and Deià.
Now, there are certainly some very fine places to rest your weary head in these towns – indeed, the newly completed Jumeirah Hotel andThe Esplandido nestled on Port de Sóller’s waterfront are a standouts – but for sheer unadulterated luxury, there is only one destination: La Residencia, Deià.
“La Rez” (as it is affectionately known by it’s loyal group of regular guests) is truly first-class accommodation – unsurprising when you consider that it is owned and operated by the Orient-Express Group.
La Rez itself is a sprawling complex of charming, traditional buildings, draped languidly over the terraced hillside of Deià. When walking through its grounds, it is easy to feel that you are in a self-contained village, and in many ways you are. There are three swimming pools for guests (one indoor, heated salt water pool and two outdoor pools, and three of the suites have their own private pools), there are two restaurants, tennis courts, a spa, gym, a boutique shop, artist’s studio and gallery, a bar, grazing goats and donkeys on the hillside…in fact, La Rez is so vast that you can go for a walk for fifteen minutes and still be in the grounds. However, despite its size, the hotel never feels impersonal and every member of staff will greet you by name, with just the right balance of formality and familiarity.
In fact, it is their high standard of customer service that really elevates La Rez above many of the other hotels in the area. A guest here need not want for anything. An insatiable thirst for a Negroni as you lounge by the pool? No problem. A press of a button and a pleasant waiter appears to take your order. In fact, there is a sense that no demand could not be accommodated –within the realms of decency, of course.
Talking of libation, there is a well-constructed cocktail list, although the barman is more than capable of mixing up whatever you might desire, and with a considerable degree of skill, it must be said (a very drinkable Aviation was produced without so much as a raised eyebrow and the Martini was well-made and without unnecessary showmanship or, God forbid, the dreaded sound of a shaker.)
The food too, is first class. Of the two restaurants at La Rez, The Safareix restaurant by the pool is the more informal, and diners sit outside beneath a shaded pergola. Seafood makes a big appearance on the menu here, as one would expect of a coastal region of this sort, as well as fresh, seasonal ingredients cultivated in the hotel’s own vegetable and herb garden. The servings are also generous in the poolside retaurant – no bite size morsels masquerading as mains, more concerned with presentation than your palate. (However, if you prefer your cuisine to be more artistic, there is the hotel’s own award-winning El Olivo restaurant, or the charming Ben’s D’Avall in Sóller, where one can spend a languid three hours or so devouring pretty little plates from their tasting menu as you gaze from their ocean side terrace.)
The accommodation at La Rez is just as you’d expect of a hotel of this calibre. Rooms range from the standard single rooms, through to classic and superior doubles – some of which feature four-poster beds – and four categories of suite. The suites all offer breathtaking views of the surrounding town and mountains and the “Tramuntana” suites, nestled high in the terraced olive groves, offer arguably the best of these, providing panoramic vistas of the valley and the Mediterranean. There are also four Luxury Suites available and for those who are travelling with friends or that simply wish to have a little more privacy, there is also a separate villa, which sleep six.
There is truly very little reason to ever leave the hotel itself, however, should you wish to explore further, car and scooter hire can be arranged at reception. Valdemossa, Port De Sóller, Sóller and Deià itself are all worth exploring, and there are plenty of first-class restaurants and bars to try for those who prefer a little more variety. A rather quaint tram service runs between Sóller and Port De Sóller and this is highly recommended, especially on Sóller’s market day.
Just a short, and it must be said, pleasant stroll from Deià itself is Calla Deià, a secluded beach that is home to two basic but excellent seafood restaurants. The higher of the two is arguably the better. Whilst this beach is mostly rocky, the water is beautiful and the diving here is good. The beach may not be sandy, but it does have the romance of some crumbling boatsheds and launches, and it is certainly popular with locals. Whilst this is not La Residencia’s own private beach, much of its charm comes from the fact that this is where the locals like to go. And should you find yourself too weary for the walk back to the hotel, La Rez runs a shuttle service.
All this does sound rather too perfect to be true, and perhaps that is misleading. La Rez could use a little TLC here and there. The furnishings looked as though they’d been there since the 80s and, on occasion, bore more than slight cosmetic damage. There is also a rather alarming amount of “modern art” that adorns the walls and nestles in the grounds, that in many cases barely qualify as rubbish. However, all of this can easily overlooked because the quality of the accommodation, the service and the idyllic location wash away such trifles.
In short, it is no surprise that La Residencia can boast an array of celebrity guests and a long list of loyal happy customers who return again and again.
La Residencia, Son Canals s/n, 07179 Deià, Mallorca, Spain, Tel: +34 971 63 9011 Reservations: +34 971 63 6046, Email: email@example.com
It’s Spain, but not as we know it: La Residencia, Deià
Here at Prodigal Towers, we are always putting our own comfort on the line to bring you the very best life has to offer, whether it be what to wear on your wrist, restaurant reviews, automotive updates or, of course, luxury travel. On this occasion, our man Dublo drew the short straw.
Ben is our resident screenwriter, that’s right, a real-life movie screenwriter. If we hadn’t captured him, drugged him and locked him in the basement here at Prodigal Towers, right now he’d be living the Hollywood dream that should rightfully be his, ensconced in a John Lautner house in Malibu. But don’t feel sorry for him. More fool him for drinking that spiked Martini in the first place.
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