Alan visits Puerto Pollenca and finds Mallorca has much to offer as a holiday destination…
At a little over 2 hours flying time from the UK Mallorca has become a favourite holiday destination for families and the young. Hot sun, golden beaches and round the clock entertainment in resorts like Magaluf, Arenal and Palma Nova attract over 2 million British every year.
Mallorca however has much more to offer. Head northeast from Palma on the M13 and it’s not long before the landscape changes from beaches and hotels to plains and pine clad hills. Farm houses with ploughed fields, orange and olive groves. The air is warm and there is a tranquillity not often experienced.
I am heading for Puerto Pollenca on the north east coast of the island courtesy of Classic Collection Holidays for a 3 night stay at the Hoposa Uyal Hotel. 55 minutes later I am checking in to the hotel located opposite the beach of a horseshoe shaped bay. None of the buildings in the area appear to be more than 4 floors high, no unsightly tower blocks here. Uyal hotel built in 1954 has been extensively refurbished to a very high standard. My room on the third floor with King size bed, wardrobes with glass sliding doors that afforded lots of hanging space, inside which are white towelling dressing gowns, a safe and an iron with a small ironing board which I never did discover how to use. The bathroom was large with an equally large walk in shower cubicle. The big shower head gave an excellent jet, if only all hotel showers were this good. The balcony gave views out over the beach and bay beyond.
Dinner that night was taken at the Restaurant Stay, situated on the small quayside some 15 minutes’ walk away. There are several menus to choose from, ‘La Carte’, Snack, Afternoon, Menu del Dia and Tapas. All are extensive with seafood being the main contributor. Wines start at 15 Euro a bottle. Service is excellent and the atmosphere very relaxed. The food was well presented and very tasty.
The next day saw me heading to Cala de Sant Vincente, a beautiful little resort centred around a small beach and surrounded by hills. The water is crystal clear and here Miguel operates Mond’Aventura a company that specialises in Kayaking, Caving, Snorkelling and much more. I watch as he gives instructions to a group of kayakers who are soon paddling across the blue waters towards caves and cliff faces. I make my way to the small café that is full of cyclists who are using it as a stop on their various journeys around this part of the island. Since Bradley Wiggins started using the area as a training region thousands of cyclists now converge here each year taking advantage of the main roads with cycle lanes and the beautiful scenery.
For anyone wishing to stay in the area there is the Cala Sant Vincente Hotel, adult only with a mix of 38 single, double and junior suite rooms. All are nicely furnished and supplied with a good range of towels and toiletries. The large pool has ample room for sun bathing on its expansive terrace with an Al Fresco dining area at one end. The hotel is closed during the winter months.
Dinner that night was at the Michelin Guide listed Clivia Restaurant situated on Via de Pollentia in Pollenca. The interior is modern and oozes quality, the staff wonderfully attentive. This is a restaurant that truly makes you feel welcome. Starters, a mix of seafood with Octopus, the main course of Sea Bream a delight washed down by an equally delightful vino blanco, and a wonderful Baked Alaska for desert. This is a restaurant I would happily return to and recommend to others.
For anyone who enjoys markets the Sunday Market in Pollenca is a must. Stalls of brightly coloured vegetables, others selling trinkets, china wear, spices and of course those making and selling fresh Churros. The area is alive with locals and tourists alike, not an empty seat to be found at the bars as visitors sit in the sun enjoying coffee or a beer. In a corner of the main square, Rumba Katxai, a Mallorcan music group are playing and adding to the atmosphere. Great music. Visiting the church of Esglèsia de Nostra Senyora dels Àngels built in the 13th century by the Knights Templar is a must to see the beautiful main altar and ceiling paintings.
Next stop is the Hotel Illa D’Or which is celebrating its 85th anniversary. Occupying a prime position on the bay of Puerto Pollenca this is a hotel for the discerning traveller and it is here that Agatha Christie stayed. Suites with 4 poster beds, bathrooms with ‘His & Hers’ wash basins, quality towels and toiletries with most rooms affording breath taking views across the bay. All rooms are brightly decorated giving them a fresh feel. From the hotels small quayside operates the lovely 2 masted sailing boat Isabel Maria. The story goes that the original owner out sailing one day was caught in a storm and ported in Minorca where he met his future wife and re-named the boat after her, Isobel Maria. This can be chartered for a day or half day, or if you want to splash out, excuse the pun, a sunset cruise with drinks and dinner. After personally experiencing an afternoon trip and late lunch on board I would thoroughly recommend it. Bookings are arranged through the hotel.
My last evening is dinner at the Son Brull hotel, an eighteenth century Jesuit monastery converted into a 5-star hotel and spa. The 23 bedrooms ranging through Superior Double to Junior Suite with terrace are all extremely well equipped with some unusual features like a free standing bath. The building has been expertly converted and upgraded to make it what it is today, a first class location for those with exquisite tastes. The main restaurant is 3/65 where a starter, main course and desert can be had for 66 Euros. The wine list is extensive with bottles starting at around 24 Euros.
The following day was my last. The morning is spent visiting the Mortitx Vineyards set high in the "Sierra de Tramuntana", 390 meters above sea level, where the quietness and clear air that high up are a joy and gives the feeling of being at peace with the world. The 16 hectares of vineyards provide the grapes to produce 100,000 bottles of various wines a year. Christina shows me round the winery that was built in 2005 explaining the wine making process. Then follows the customary wine tasting. I understand one is supposed to spit the wine out after tasting but it seemed such a waste so I refrained. A lunch of bread, tomatoes, olives and cheese in the warm sunshine was unfortunately followed by my journey back to Palma airport for my EasyJet flight home.
So what had I learned about Pollenca and northern Mallorca. Is it that different from the south? A resounding yes, it is very different. There are coves with crystal clear water where you can swim, kayak or snorkel, beaches where you can sun bathe without having the next person only inches away from you. The bars and restaurants that surround these areas have more of a ‘Café Culture’. The back drop of pine clad mountains where Eagles, Falcons and other large birds have made their nests, the atmosphere is more laid back and genteel. Life is at a slower more leisurely pace, the exception being the hundreds of cyclists who invade the area. No high rise buildings but hotels that still have charm and character. This is an area where although tourism is alive and well, so is the real Mallorca, an island of diversities that I hated leaving but look forward to returning to.
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Alan Fairfax -
is a travel writer for
YOUR HOLIDAY TV
Alan also writes for the
Ashford Advertiser Media Group with regional papers across Kent with regular holiday & travel sections in all editions
Alan is also an Advisor for SilverTravelAdvisor.com
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