Sun, sea and sangria in magical Majorca

There's a raft of reasons why Brits lap up the perennial holiday mecca, and its luxury product is only getting better

There’s something about a vista full of blue hues that’s good for the soul. It’s that quintessential holiday snapshot of a perfect deep-blue sky merging with the sapphire shade of the ocean – the image we all think of when reflecting on our travels.

And as I lie floating in the shallows of Cala Agulla, surrounded by blues of all shades and water lapping against my skin, I feel completely content – nothing but the huge open sky above me.

The water here is so clear, I could be in the Caribbean or the Maldives and it’s hard to fathom that I’m just two hours’ flight away from a gloomy London day. It’s day one of my three‑week Majorcan odyssey and as I wade back to the beach and breathe in the warm, salty air, I realise why so many before me have fallen for the charms of this holiday favourite. .

While Majorca is a long-established package holiday magnet, offering guaranteed sun, sea and sangria, the luxury offering has been bubbling away nicely under the surface, almost hidden in plain sight.

Accommodation for high‑net‑worth travellers is exquisite and growing rapidly to meet demand. From Palma to Pollença and Sóller to Santanyí, this is an island full of chic hotels, rustic fincas (farmhouses) and star-studded restaurants.

Beach bums

Cala Agulla lies in the northeast of Majorca, the largest of the Balearics and home to more than 250 pristine, gold-sand beaches.

Agulla’s 500 metres of powder sand is surrounded by towering dunes and pine tree forests, but it’s the Tiffany-turquoise water that draws the crowds. And Agulla isn’t a one-off: there are countless extraordinarily beautiful beaches in sun-kissed Majorca, and we make it our mission to explore as many as possible during our exploration of the island.

We hop from coast to coast seeking out secluded coves which stud the coastline and myriad perfect clifftop sunset spots, enjoying bucketloads of ice cream along the way. Playa de Formentor, located on the northern tip of Majorca, is one of the island’s most popular beaches, in part thanks to its wild and dramatic landscape, but also because it delivers stunning sunsets night after night.

Crowds gather at its lighthouse to watch a silky collusion of reds, pinks and yellows take over the sky as the sun dips on the horizon. Reached by one of the windiest drives I’ve ever been on, this epic, but skinny stretch of beach is surrounded by dense forest, with an intense scent of pine leading you down to the water’s edge.

And while this spot is a little off the beaten track, it’ll soon be a holiday hotspot for luxe travellers as Four Seasons is set to take over the management of the Hotel Formentor next year.

Elsewhere on the coast, there are plenty of properties for clients to call home. Cap Rocat, formerly a 19th-century military fortress, is one of the best. Cut into the cliff edge, this slice of paradise is just 25 minutes from Palma.

Or there’s 26-room boutique Can Simoneta, located on a clifftop near Capdepera, which offers direct access to the sea and a sandy beach via a curved stairway carved into the cliff. New to the scene is adult-only, 32-room Can Ferrereta in Santanyí, sister to Sant Francesc Hotel Singular in Palma.

Can Ferrereta opened to a fanfare last year and is set to be one of the hottest hotels on the island. Away from the coast you’ll find Small Luxury Hotels of the World member Finca Serena hidden among the rolling fields in the centre of the island.

Another established firm favourite, especially for families, is Belmond La Residencia (Reviews, page 99). The property is located in Deià and surrounded by mountains, yet is also just a 10-minute drive from the coast.

Guests at this outstanding hotel, once owned by Sir Richard Branson, should take advantage of the complimentary two-hour boat ride along the coast to the Port of Sóller.

Rural delights

Perched in a ravine at the foot of the Tramuntana mountain range, the fairytale-like village of Deià has attracted countless creatives over the year. It has been a place of inspiration for luminaries of the arts, with Robert Graves, DH Lawrence and Jules Verne all having spent time here.

Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote some of his legendary musicals in Deià, while musicians including The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and David Bowie have also ventured to this old-world community. Terracotta-roofed stone buildings line the winding streets and alleys.

The village is ever peaceful, and there isn’t a huge amount going on, but you will find a small selection of cute cafes and restaurants to while away the hours. It’s also a good base for exploring, with hiking routes through the mountains.

Away from Majorca’s rugged coastline and dreamy sunsets, the island’s agricultural heartland blossoms with seemingly endless rows of almond, orange and lemon trees, plus countless cobblestoned communities.

For a slice of culture, Valldemossa is the perfect spot. Home to a Carthusian monastery and rows of faded pink stone houses, this hillside town hosts a classical music festival each year.

Polish composer Frédéric Chopin lived here for a spell in 1838 and is said to have declared it the most beautiful place in the world.

The tiny village of Fornalutx, nestled high in the Tramuntana mountains, is also a contender for that title, though, and has often been declared the prettiest place in Majorca.

Capital gains

While the tiny hamlets dotted across the Majorcan countryside are well worth visiting, the likes of Pollença and Palma are not to be overlooked. Boasting beautiful old towns and epic culinary offerings, both are long-term favourites with Brits and for good reason.

Pollença’s highlights include ancient monasteries and churches, while the Calvari Steps are often teeming with tourists. Climb the 365 steps, flanked by sweeping cypresses, for stunning views of the town. In the capital, Palma, you’ll find an impressive cathedral with gothic spires next door to the lavish Almudaina palace.

The architecture here is a wondrous blend of clashing cultures thanks to the island’s rich history which saw it occupied by the Romans, Byzantines and Moors. There’s also a vibrant art scene, with more galleries per capita than any other city in Spain.

A visit to the Joan Miró Foundation is an absolute must for art fans. Like the aforementioned creatives, the artist moved from Barcelona to Majorca and was hugely inspired by what he found. It's hard not to be captivated by Majorca and its vibrancy.

This island is full of life and colour. I left craving more of this paradise, particularly its coastal vistas of sky-blue melting into a sea of turquoise and sapphire.

What’s new, Majorca

Virgin Limited Edition

Virgin Limited Edition is to restore an old finca as it increases its footprint in Majorca. The 28-room hotel (pictured) is part of the brand’s existing Son Bunyola Estate. It will open in summer 2023 and will feature two restaurants, lounges, several dining terraces and a swimming pool, among other features. It will sit alongside three existing standalone private villas already in operation.

Four Seasons

Four Seasons is to manage the former Hotel Formentor. The property, which first opened in 1929, is undergoing an extensive refit before it reopens as a Four Seasons property next year. It will feature 110 rooms and suites, an indoor restaurant, a beachfront restaurant and cafe, poolside bar and grill, tennis courts and a spa.

Ikos Resorts

Ikos Resorts will open a new property in Majorca next year. The former Blau Porto Petro has undergone a €100 million refurbishment and will include 448 rooms, suites, bungalows and villas when it opens in April 2023. It is the group’s second property in Spain, following the opening of Ikos Andalusia.

Hollie-Rae Brader

Hollie is editor of Aspire’s print and online products. She is responsible for the running of the club and ensuring the content produced and the events organised are relevant to the Aspire audience. She was previously deputy news editor and cruise writer for sister title Travel Weekly. She loves exploring new destinations and is gradually ticking new countries off her list. She most enjoys writing about cruise, South America and Japan. Before working in the travel industry she held news reporting roles at the East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Star.

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