Exploring the sophisticated side of Mallorca
by Lucy Warne
Mallorca has, perhaps unfairly, earned a reputation as more ‘laddish’ than lavish, yet the superyacht crowds still flock there in droves. Lucy Warne investigates the island’s hidden charm...
It’s hard to believe that in just 10 minutes you can be transported from the hectic hen and stag hotspot of Magaluf to the exclusive superyacht haven of Port Adriano. But, it seems that this is exactly why the larger of the three Balearic Islands is also one of the most popular. With Mallorca's size comes variety, of landscapes, traditions, nationalities and offerings, from gritty party scenes to the height of luxury. There truly is something for everyone.
Legendary designer Philippe Starck, AKA the man behind the world famous Motor Yacht A, is to thank for Port Adriano’s iconic, yet pared down look. Starck’s aim was for it to be "almost invisible" and to complement its maritime environment – and it worked; only upon second glance do its striking features, including its illuminated staircase, really become apparent.
Since it was rebuilt in 2012, this modern masterpiece of a marina has attracted an array of luxurious yachts – Ann G, Lady Anastasia and Utopia are just a few of the yachts who have been making the most of its peaceful and picturesque surroundings this spring.
Overlooking Port Adriano and its 80 metre superyacht berths, is Pure Salt’s Calvià hotel – if you are after some on shore relaxation then this is the place for you. There is no denying that, while children can be adorable at times, the one thing to knock the serenity from even the most patient of souls is the screech of someone else’s child over a soothing sunset soundtrack. Fortunately, new luxury hotel group, Pure Salt, operates a purely adults-only policy across their two Mallorcan properties, so you needn’t worry about any unwelcome sundowner interruptions.
In contrast to the subtle, low-slung structure of the marina, the cliff-side Pure Salt Port Adriano hotel towers above it with an opulent and classical architectural style, thanks to its sweeping stone arches and pillared terraces. The world of luxury can sometimes feel somewhat one-dimensional, so it’s refreshing to experience both minimalism and grandeur in such close proximity, reinforcing the idea that variety really is the spice of life on this Mediterranean island.
Due to the hotel’s impeccable location, all guests can enjoy bedroom views of not only the marina, but the golden sands and turquoise waters of Playa El Toro, as well as a sunset to rival those seen in the Caribbean. If you want to make an occasion even more special, upgrade to a Sea View Suite, and marvel at the stunning display from the comfort of your private Jacuzzi with a chilled glass of the local grape, Prensal Blanc.
One of the main advantages of occasionally staying on solid ground, is the ease of exploring in-land areas that aren’t accessible via superyacht tender – for example, wineries. One of the best bodegas in Mallorca is Finca Biniagual, and it’s not just because of the delicious, award-winning wine that they produce – the spectacular rural setting is also breathtaking.
Located in Mallorca’s main wine producing region, Binissalem, the winery is part of a small village that consists of 14 houses, a chapel and expansive farmland, which helps the estate to be self-sufficient. This means that the family who owns the vineyard rarely need, or want, to leave – and neither will you.
Wine tastings are by appointment only, so make sure you schedule a time slot via email before arriving. We would also suggest, perhaps a little controversially, not to line your stomach with food before arriving – the generous portions of home-cooked local cuisine offered for wine pairing requires maximum stomach capacity, which, we can assure you, will result in maximum pleasure.
Another activity that is best enjoyed while away from your superyacht is cycling. Pure Salt hotels come conveniently equipped with a collection of e-bikes for guests’ pleasure. Each bike has three settings, you can choose to either have a small helping hand with pedal power to ease any wine-induced fatigue or a turbo boost of energy that’s set to have you riding up alongside some of the professional cyclists that frequent Palma’s famous coastal cycling path. Alternatively, if you’re hoping to burn off some of the excess calories from the previous evening’s supper you can opt to turn off the electricity altogether for a more fulfilling workout.
Any amount of exercise on holiday, no matter how strenuous, always calls for an opportunity to refuel. Pure Salt Port Adriano’s restaurant, Adriana, is the ideal place for a spot of indulgence. Chef Miquel Miró’s Spanish specialities include a deliciously flavoursome lobster paella, as well as all of the traditional tapas dishes – his panne con tomate being a favourite (helped by an obligatory generous helping of locally produced olive oil). But, it’s also the experimental Southeast Asian-influenced dishes that were inspired by his time spent in Thailand, such as Glazed Iberian pork with a coconut and lime sauce, that gives the menu the all important variety.
It is clear to see from the smile on Chef Miró’s face when he speaks about his food, that it’s not just experience and skill that goes into his cooking, but bags of passion too, which is what makes this restaurant stand out from those found at other luxury hotels.
If all of this time onshore leaves you with sea withdrawal symptoms, then why not try a spot of stand-up paddle boarding at the Marbalear SUP center? Arguably the trendiest water sport of 2017, an increasing number of holiday-makers are opting to paddle standing up on a board, rather than sitting down on a kayak.
While this may not seem like the most relaxing of vacation pastimes, it is particularly effective at working your core muscles – especially when trying to get your balance. Once your wobbly limbs have adjusted to their new unstable surface, you can work up some speed and discover nearby coves and cave areas that can’t be accessed via boat. Even if you can’t face leaving the calmness of Port Adriano, the sense of achievement you’ll get from mastering the tricky art of SUPing is enough to leave you satisfied.
If the thought of getting wet doesn’t whet your appetite, and the only way to settle your itch for the sea is by spending time on board, then you can charter a superyacht from nearby Palma Bay. Cocktail-lovers will delight in a private sunset cruise on board Oasis' sailing Catamaran – the yacht comes complete with an on board mixologist who can concoct a huge variety of refreshing summer cocktails tailored to your tastes.
The one thing that does not vary in Mallorca, is the consistently high levels of service – from the warm welcome at Pure Salt’s hotel reception, to our e-bike tour guide who made us feel like old friends reunited. So, it’s only fair that we warn you for the inevitable culture shock you’ll experience upon returning home. However, you shouldn’t let the holiday blues hit you too hard, as after all, it’s only a two-hour flight away from London…