In search of the real Mallorca

Monday, 15 October 2014 11:32 AM

Not content with her solely her teenage clubbing memories of Mallorca, Esme Fox goes in search of a more rustic and luxurious side to the Spanish island at the renowned La Residencia Hotel. 

I was expecting good things from a hotel that used to be owned by Richard Branson, and is a member of the Leading Hotels of the World, but nothing could have quite prepared me for the stunning setting and romantic architecture of La Residencia.

La Residencia

Set in and old 16th century olive press amongst terraced olive groves and sat on the side of the rolling Tramunatana Mountains, La Residencia is located in the exclusive, yet quaint village of Deià.  Tucked in between the Mediterranean Sea and the mountains on the northern side of the Spanish island of Mallorca, Deià is so far removed from the island’s clubbing reputation of places like Magaluf that it’s hard to believe it’s even the same island.

The small village of Deià began to attract artists and writers during the 1960s, but has since become a fashionable enclave where many celebrities such as Richard Branson and Andrew Lloyd Webber have bought holiday homes. However, despite its reputation and after all these years has still managed to retain its rustic charm.

Everything at La Residencia is typically Mallorcan, from the old parts of the original olive press scattered around the communal areas, to the typical dry stone walls and the donkeys that live on the hill above the hotel. This is exactly what I wanted. If I was in Mallorca I didn’t want some sleek non-descript hotel where I could have been anywhere in the world, I definitely wanted to be reminded where I was. 

It seems that everyone who’s anyone has stayed at La Residencia from Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas, to Pierce Brosnan, Kate Moss and Bob Geldof. Princess Diana even famously stayed here during her divorce from Prince Charles.

Rooms had terracotta tiled floors, chunky wooden furniture, a king-sized elegant four poster bed and cute Spanish-style shutters covered each of the windows. It was large and spacious and had all mod-cons that anyone could need, including a writing desk with plug in points for laptops, a relaxing lounge area, Nespresso coffee machine and two TVs and  -  one in the lounge and one that rose out of a chest located at the foot of the bed.

room at La Residencia

Neighbouring rooms were a little too close for my liking and when the shutters were open it was possible to see into other rooms. If you’re coming here for a bit of privacy or a romantic break, I suggest booking one of the Tramuntana Suites perched high above the hotel with spectacular mountain views. Some even come with their own private plunge pool.

Staff were very attentive and happy to help and serve wherever we went, each evening we were presented with a weather report for the next day, a profile on one of the staff and a small gift – chocolates, a CD with music from the Spa and a small Mallorcan statue. They were even happy to let me practise my Spanish with them.

Nice additions to the hotel included an art gallery with resident artist as well as various work shops and classes throughout the week. There were also tennis courts, a mountainside award-winning spa with signature treatments of olive oil and citrus and traditional Mallorcan gourmet restaurants.

Breakfast actually ended up being one the highlights of my stay at La Residencia, where we started the day perched high on the hillside with stunning views overlooking the swimming pool and Deià beyond. The buffet looked more like what you’d find in a homely farm kitchen rather than a hotel with a selection of Mallorcan cheeses and deli meats, fresh fruit, yoghurt, homemade bread as well a choice of different nuts and dried fruit on offer. Also available to order were different types of eggs or pancakes with syrup and fruit. Coffee, tea and milk was served in elegant silver jugs.

View from La ResidenciaSitting there with the warm Balearic winds blowing over the mountains and views of Deià’s old stone church, I couldn’t imagine finding a more perfect spot on the island and knew that La Residencia had cast its enchanting spell over me just like it has done for many others.

Follow us on Twitter for more travel inspiration @ASPIRE:Holidays

Son Brull, Mallorca - a great place for a honeymoon

Best honeymoon resorts: Son Brull, Mallorca

Set in the sweeping gold and green of the Mallorcan countryside sits the impressive Son Brull hotel, shining like a beacon of terracotta across the landscape. This is the perfect escape for a nature filled honeymoon destination.

A guide to the most exclusive beach resorts of the Mediterranean

A guide to the most exclusive beach resorts of the Mediterranean

The Mediterranean has long been a playground for the rich and famous, inducing images of shaded eyed celebrities zipping around on their private yachts, sitting in stylish cafes with cups of espresso, or showing off their latest styles on the beach. But the Mediterranean also brings to mind another world, of quaint winding cobblestone streets, cute squares encircled with lemon groves, and romantic architecture - ensuring they never lose their charm and remain exclusive and luxurious.

Carpaccio of courgettes with goat's cheese at El Olivio Restaurant, Deia, Mallorca

Gourmet Mallorcan cuisine at El Olivio restaurant in Deia

The small quaint village of Deià on the island’s north coast is the epitome of luxury Mallorca, home to stylish celebs and some of the best hotels and restaurants on the island. The best of these is the opulent La Residencia hotel and its restaurant – El Olivio, serving gourmet Mallorcan cuisine.

Enjoy a stein in one of Munich's many bars

Feature: Culinary excursions in Germany and Spain

The delights of Western European cuisine is known all over the world. From the gastronomical melting pot of London to the refined dishes of Paris, visitors to this affluent part of the world are spoilt for choice when it comes to eating well.

Cheaper luxury cottages in Majorca for 2011

Luxury Majorcan cottages for less

Holidaymakers looking to escape to the Majorcan countryside can enjoy a private luxury cottage on the island next year. With savings up to 30 per cent, Mallorca Farmhouses is giving visitors an opportunity to see a different side to the island.

Discover Mallorca's beaches on a cycling tour

Discover Mallorca's heritage, cuisine and scenery on its Wild Coast

The so-called Wild Coast of Mallorca in the east and south-east of the island is an excellent place to go on relaxing cycling holidays, as it is a little off the beaten track and home to some stunning scenery, both inland and along the coast.

Explore Mallorca's shoreline by boat

New boat charters available in Mallorca

Beautiful Mallorca is ideal for a short break, featuring beautiful beaches, wine tasting and stunning shorelines. If you are travelling as a group, a boat charter can help you explore the island, from just £115 per person, including champagne!

A weekend at the Menzies Welcombe Hotel

A weekend at the Menzies Welcombe Hotel in Stratford-Upon-Avon

Esme Fox goes in search of a little quiet respite in Shakespeare country, at the Menzies Welcombe Hotel.


Sign up to's ASPIRE.

Subject to terms of use and privacy policy

In search of the real Mallorca

La Residencia Hotel, Deia, Mallorca

Not content with her solely her teenage clubbing memories of Mallorca, Esme Fox goes in search of a more rustic and luxurious side to the Spanish island at the renowned La Residencia Hotel.

Quirky luxury hotels - A Room for London

Quirky luxury hotels - A Room for London

Though not technically a hotel, this room could possibly have the best view in the whole of London. When you picture this you’re probably imagining an exclusive pent house suite on top of some iconic building, not a wooden boat perched precariously on top of the Queen Elizabeth Hall at the Southbank Centre, as if left there by retreating floods.