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    TRANQUIL VIBES

     

    The overwhelming feeling when we arrived at the hotel was… calm. The welcome drink only added to our zen vibe. The resort is a series of white-washed and stone buildings, all decorated in muted colours and natural materials such as linen, stoneware and wood. Everything felt traditional – but with a modern spin. It’s just so simply and thoughtfully done.  And surrounded by lemon trees and lavender fields, it really does smell as good as it looks.

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    WHAT TO PACK 

     

    A few practical things to consider: there are cobblestones everywhere, so leave your heels at home. Also, in the mountains it gets cool in the evening, so when we were dining al fresco I was grateful for my denim jacket to throw over my shoulders. It’s quite a casual place, so I packed mostly maxi dresses in natural fabrics and some wide-legged trousers.

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    SLEEP TIGHT

     

    We stayed in a garden room, which was quite modest in size but beautifully done and very comfortable. The private terrace was a lovely touch – we had drinks there in the evening before dinner. What the resort does really well is to create a sense of being in a private, calm retreat.

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    POOL TIME

     

    The view from the pool is beautiful – it looks out over the estate’s olive groves and the landscape beyond. And because the resort has a no-children policy (only over-14s allowed), the lack of screaming and splashing made it a deeply relaxing place to be. So much so that I finished a book between several long naps. And drinks were served poolside, so I was well-hydrated. 

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    FOOD FOR THOUGHT

     

    Restaurant Jacaranda, where chef Cristian Peguero has a daily changing menu featuring ingredients from the estate’s vegetable gardens and fruit and olive trees, served up traditional food with a modern spin. The set menus were packed with dishes that were simple and fresh. But my favourite meal was breakfast, where there was a delicious continental option, with great coffee and the best freshly squeezed OJ I’ve ever tasted.

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    EXPLORE

     

    The hotel is quite isolated, which really adds to the tranquility. The good news is that there’s also plenty to do. Firstly, start your day (or finish it) with a complimentary yoga class. Then there are loads of walks you can do around the estate and bikes for exploring further afield (which I passed on, because pool). There are also a handful of lovely villages only a short drive away.

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    CHILL OUT 

     

    A word on the Serenity Spa, which furthers the resort’s commitment to wellness and rest. There’s an indoor pool, sauna and meditation zone, while the outdoor pool has a network of jogging paths too. I had the Mediterranean Ritual, a 90-minute treatment that included a full body scrub and massage. Totally blissful.

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    OH, PALMA

     

    Mallorca’s elegant capital stole my heart years ago and I’ve been wanting to get back ever since. It’s perched on a bay in the south of the island, and it’s just 20 minutes from the resort by taxi. There’s the palm-lined waterfront, the charming Old Town with Moorish architecture and a beautiful Gothic church, and the fact that it’s a buzzing city but with that cool island vibe. As far as cities go, it really is spectacular.   

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    RETAIL THERAPY

     

    There’s some excellent shopping to be found among the maze of Palma’s narrow streets. Highlights for me include the kaleidoscope of espadrilles, for which the island is known. They’re sold everywhere and if you buy one thing, that should be it. Keep an eye out for basket bags too. I also loved exploring the artisanal shops, where I picked up some local spices and olive oil.

     

     

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    GASTRONOMY

     

    We treated ourselves to a meal at Fera Restaurant, one of the most exciting dining spots in the city. And it did not disappoint. Housed in a gorgeous old mansion with a modern interior, chef Simon Petutschnig is truly a master at Mediterranean-Asian fusion. We had the set menu – primarily seafood and vegetarian dishes – with a wine pairing. It was all delicious, but I especially loved the mushroom carpaccio and sushi. 

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    COCKTAIL HOUR

     

    You can’t go to Mallorca without hitting up one of the many tapas spots for a glass of wine and a few delicious sharing plates. In Palma, there are tiny, charming bars everywhere. We also went to Cappuccino Grand Café, a new trattoria and bar opened by the Big Mamma Group, who are behind the super-cool Gloria in Shoreditch. It was so fun!

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    LOGISTICS

     

    Palma is so well-served from a range of UK departure airports, including Gatwick, Heathrow, Manchester and Cardiff, to name just a few, with both British Airways and EasyJet providing flights. The booking process was seamless thanks to Mr and Mrs Smith and, as always, they treated us to their ‘Smith Extra’, this time a much-needed refreshing drink on arrival. Needless to say, I had a such a relaxing time that my friend had to pry me off the pool lounger when it was time to leave. The resort is a 15-minute drive from the main airport (Palma de Mallorca) and we arranged a hotel transfer, but you can also jump in a taxi or hire a car. Once you’re there, getting around by taxi is a breeze as the island is quite small.

    Holiday Diaries

    Finca Serena

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    I fell in love with Palma on a family holiday years ago, so I jumped at the chance to return to review a pared-back, luxurious new resort set in the nearby Mallorca mountains. A few days lounging poolside with one of my oldest friends (and no kids to distract us) couldn’t have come at a better time. As soon as you land, the palm trees and blue skies ensure you instantly shift gears, and from there it only gets better…read on for my review of Finca Serena

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