A beautiful island with direct flight connections, for beach holidays, rural escapes, couples and families. Now with a good collection of luxury hotels.
Mallorca still suffers from a reputation as a mass tourism destination. It’s a large island, mostly very different from the common stereotypes.
Mallorca’s popularity means it enjoys direct flight connections from Prague all year, with multiple daily departures in summer.
Excellent hotels are changing the island’s image, towards a destination for discerning travellers. Hotels like Cap Rocat, Son Net, St Regis Palma de Mallorca, plus the new Son Bunyola and Ikos Porto Petro.
Matous Grund travelled to Spain to inspect them all. He discovered that Mallorca is much more than a beach destination. For example, it’s also where you go walking in the mountains with donkeys.
Grand Hotel Son Net
Son Net is a real treat. I left like a king in an old castle, except the whole hotel is new!
It’s hidden in the hills, 30 minutes from the airport, set in a renovated 17th-century finca. You can’t even see the sea, it feels really quite remote.
Everything has been made new in an historical style, truly like a castle: fireplaces, mosaics, circular towers.
I liked the swimming pool, terraces, hot tubs, the amazing bar with a fireplace. And the awesome views onto mountains and villages.
The main palazzo has 26 rooms and suites. The cottage suites are located in the castle grounds. Four suites share a pool and each suite has a private garden.
Groups could book four cottage suites to essentially have a private villa with a pool. Son Net also offers two-bedroom houses with private pools, ideal for families.
Son Net is a hotel for a Mallorca holiday in autumn or spring. Take a direct flight and go enjoy the mountains with the people you love.
I also visited their spa, which is still under construction and will open in November, adding another reason to stay.
A finca from the 16th century, on a huge plot in a rural, undeveloped part of the island.
This new Virgin Limited Edition hotel was in the HOT List of Explorer III magazine and I was very excited to check it out.
Son Bunyola is not a beach property. It’s a lovely option for three or four relaxed days on the coast and in the mountains.
It does have a rocky beach, but it’s not serviced and there are no sunbeds. So it is good for swimming and enjoying the coast, just not sunbathing.
The hotel setting is wonderful and I did a guided hike, meeting goats and donkeys on the mountain slopes. You could also rent a mountain bike.
Son Bunyola is 50 minutes from the airport and only 20 minutes from cute towns like Soller and Valldemosa. Andratx is around 50 minutes away too.
The main building has 26 rooms spread across three floors. Ground floor rooms have a private garden while first and second floor rooms have a mountain or sea view.
I found the entry-level rooms pretty small and would recommend suites or a deluxe seaview room with terrace – a very nice and peaceful place for couples to stay.
Then there are three private villas with hotel service hidden in the hotel grounds. Plus two suites in the finca’s historic towers, each with a terrace and a 360-degree view.
The heated main pool and jacuzzi have amazing views, both adding to the relaxed atmosphere. One restaurant is currently open and by next year they’ll have a second, converted from an old olive press.
Overall Son Bunyola doesn’t have the sandy beach or typical facilities you’d expect in Mallorca, but it’s a really nice property for couples wanting to escape the world for a few days.
Ikos Porto Petro
Ikos Porto Petro couldn’t be any more different to Son Bunyola. It’s a basic five-star beach property with the Ikos signature all-inclusive concept. It opened this summer.
My Ikos experience in Mallorca was similar to my recent Ikos experience in Corfu. The same all-inclusive concept, same restaurant names, similar menus, similar modern type of architecture. Son Bunyola is definitely the more authentic choice.
I actually preferred Ikos Porto Petro to Ikos Dassia and Ikos Odisia in Corfu, because of the location. You can easily walk to the harbour and Ikos has two restaurants in the harbour, so you don’t need to stay in the resort to enjoy the all inclusive.
My experiences this year are that Ikos has basic five-star properties with a very good and interesting all-inclusive concept.
The problem at Porto Petro is the beaches. There are two small beaches, but these are not private to hotel guests, like everywhere else in Spain. Even in October these beaches felt overcrowded.
One part of the beach has sunbeds reserved for hotel guests. Still, it’s more for a pool holiday than a beach holiday.
This is one reason I recommend staying in the deluxe category rooms. This area has its own pool and the best location for using the hotel’s many facilities. For families I recommend a Deluxe 2 Bedroom Suite with Private Pool.
Hotel Cap Rocat Mallorca
Cap Rocat is on the coast, around 15 from the airport and 20 minutes from Palma city. It’s almost an adult-only property, only permitting children aged 14 and over.
If you want history and the sea then I recommend this special hotel with a genius location, Cap Rocat. It’s also a winner for views, authenticity and accommodation.
I loved the views across the pool and bay towards Palma de Mallorca city, as well as the serviced sandy beach with sun loungers.
Cap Rocat is located inside a former military fortress from the 19th century. Soldiers served there until 20 years ago. Ten years ago it was converted to a hotel. The main pool is inside the fort.
There’s also a great subterranean spa.
All rooms in the fort have a beautiful terrace and sea view, while some of the higher categories also have a private pool.
Cap Rocat has both a beach restaurant and a restaurant inside the fortress. It’s a really special place that I definitely recommend for a few nights.
St Regis Palma de Mallorca
Mallorca’s St Regis is completely different in style to the authentic Balearic approach of Cap Rocat, Son Net and Son Bunyola.
It’s a large resort with over 100 rooms spread across big hotel buildings. Okay, it’s not large compared to the hotels I’ve inspected in Dubai, but still a very different vibe to other Mallorca hotels.
I rank this St Regis as an entry-level five star hotel. It offers good facilities and will be good enough for many, but not for most of our clients.
For now I don’t recommend it for anybody, because Mandarin Oriental is constructing their new Mallorca hotel next door. Until the Mandarin Oriental opens, I’d be worried about the noise and construction.
This St Regis would be an option for families seeking a pool holiday. It has the most extensive children’s facilities of any hotel on the island, like a kids club, kids pools, children’s dining room and special buffet for kids.
The rooms are spacious, starting at 50 square metres. There is a small public beach but it’s not serviced, so again, it’s more for a pool holiday with sea views.
Mallorca is a Year-Round Holiday Destination
There are more hotels I didn’t have time to inspect as well. Like La Residence, a Belmond Hotel. Stepan Borovec loved this rural village retreat when he stayed there last year.
For Mallorca holidays you can also rent villas, even rent your own castle! There’s something for all types of traveller.
Four Seasons will open next year on the island. Mandarin Oriental aims to open next summer too. So there’s this big switch in atmosphere away from Mallorca being a mass tourism destination.
Mallorca is more than a beach holiday. It’s a big island with mountains, beautiful coastline, lots of golf courses and interesting towns.
I love Palma de Mallorca. It’s almost like a mini Madrid, with beautiful historical buildings, great restaurants, and small streets to explore.
And of course there’s the weather. In October it was 25 degrees, just perfect. With direct flights all year round, think about a Mallorca holiday in spring and autumn, as well as summer.
My recommendation is to try two or more hotels. It’s easy to combine a great variety of properties in different locations, from the mountains to the beach.
My favourites were Son Net and Son Bunyola. Which will be yours?