Real Holidays' Director Matt Fisher visits the beautiful Hotel Cala Sant Vicenc in Mallora...
It is over 10 years since I last visited Mallorca but we have seen a surge in interest over the last 12 months so I didn’t hesitate when invited to spend a couple of days at the delightful Cala Sant Vicenc hotel, located in the town by the same name, in the north of the island.
One of the great things about visiting Mallorca is its accessibility from the UK so by 1.30pm on the first day I was checked in, changed into shorts (tailored of course since it was a work trip) and enjoying an alfresco lunch against the dramatic backdrop of the Serra de Tramuntana mountains.
The Cala Sant Vicenc is a charming 38 room hotel efficiently managed by the delightful Lynda, who ran away to Mallorca 40 years ago and has never looked back. It is located in the picturesque bay of Cala Sant Vicenc where you will find a handful of small bars and restaurants and a smattering of souvenir shops. It is a sleepy town but its real draw is the beautiful sandy cove and inviting turquoise sea, that even in mid-April had me wishing I had packed the bathers. The town is situated at the end of a windy road that only leads to the sea and this ensures that even in the height of summer it is much quieter than the more popular resort towns on the island. That is not to say it is isolated – just a 10-minute drive will get you to the ancient town of Pollensa which is where I headed on my first afternoon.
The name Pollensa comes from the name of the Roman settlement of "Pollentia," the excavated remains of which lie in the nearby town of Alcúdia. It was founded by the Catalans in the 13th century and deliberately positioned inland to avoid the many pirate attacks that used to occur at that time. Today it is the quintessential Mallorcan town that although very popular with tourists still retains an authentic charm. Visit on a Sunday morning and you will find the Plaza Major filled with locals enjoying the weekly market and if you happen to be in town in early August then you can experience La Patrona – an annual fiesta that includes a mock battle between the invading Pirates and the local Christians.
Returning to the hotel I was introduced to the hotel’s extensive gin menu which I was steadily working my way through when Lynda reminded me I needed to be up early for the bike ride with Stefan – a ‘Cycling Concierge’ who is on hand to assist enthusiastic cyclists at any level with recommended routes, packed lunches and even a pick-up service for the less adventurous.
Rising early I was relieved to see blue skies and sun - not always guaranteed in Spring – as I was kitted out with a top-quality mountain bike and accompanying map. Mallorca is a mecca for cyclists and is adorned with cycle paths and terrain to suit all levels of fitness. Not feeling up to tackling the mountains we opted for the more sedate ride to Puerto Pollensa, an easy 1hr cycle from the hotel. En route I learnt that, aside from hiring out bikes, Stefan can also arrange a plethora of outdoor activities including, hiking, snorkelling and scuba diving trips, boat hire and even introduce guests to the mysterious world of free diving. His enthusiasm and knowledge of the local area was infectious and his passion to deliver a personalised and professional service was very reassuring.
Having spent the morning wandering the local market (slices of succulent Iberico ham duly purchased) and enjoying a coffee on the seafront it was time to ditch the bike and revert back to the more indulgent activities of eating and drinking. The previous evening Lynda had told me about a friend of hers that owns and runs a local vineyard that produces truly exceptional wines – uniquely only available to private buyers that visit the vineyard rather than being sold on a wider commercial basis. Confessing a lack of knowledge about Mallorcan wine I was keen to visit and a wonderful afternoon was spent sampling whites, reds and a rose complemented by locally produced meats.
The name of the vineyard? This is a trade secret but I have promised the owner that we will direct anyone who books a holiday to Cala Sant Vicenc in their direction, and of course Lynda will happily introduce guests who want to visit during their stay.
Returning back to a cold and wet London I reflected on how Real Holidays has often been very cautious about sending our customers to Mallorca in the Spring as the weather is not as reliable as the peak months. However, the range of activities that can be arranged and the fact you get the place to yourself makes it worth a punt and if you are looking for a last minute short break then we have negotiated a fantastic special offer for stays in May...
Stay 4 nights or more and Real Holidays guests will receive a guaranteed room upgrade, a 3-course meal at the new Lavanda restaurant plus one day’s complimentary bike hire to explore the local area. Offer is valid for stays in May 2017 and subject to availability.
From £580 per person for a 4-night stay with B&B, return flights and private transfers. Call 0207 359 3938 for further details while availability lasts.