Even Magaluf's had a makeover...

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Once the destination for brash bargain packages, Mallorca – from graceful Palma to the stunning Tramuntana mountains – has it all. And new flights mean it's now even easier to enjoy, says Sarah Gordon

What's the attraction?

Holidaymakers first fell in love with Mallorca in the early 19th century thanks to its year-round sunshine, mild climate and plentiful beaches. Artists, celebrities and families followed, making the most of its golden sands and fertile interior – 40 per cent of which is protected. Cyclists love to attack the peaks of the Tramuntana Mountains and a strong rural tourism programme is revamping old farm- houses into luxury accommodation.

Even party town Magaluf is going upmarket with stylish new hotels. BA (0844 493 0787; ba.com) has just launched a new route from Heathrow to the island capital, Palma. Mallorca Farmhouses (0845 800 8080; mallorca.co.uk) offers beautiful and affordable villa rentals, while Mallorca Rocks (020 7952 2919; mallorcarocks.com), a hotel and live music venue in one, is credited with kicking off Magaluf's trendy transformation.

Adventure island

There's a lot more to Mallorca than lazing on the beach. The island is a magnet for amateur and professional cyclists, thanks to its quiet roads. Stephen Roche Cycling Holidays (00 34 971 13 50 54; stephenroche.com) has a package from £576 per person including seven nights' half board at Ponent Mar Hotel in Palma Nova, bike hire, guided rides and airport transfers. Flights extra.

Swap two wheels for two legs with a walking holiday. Inntravel (01653 617 906; inntravel.co.uk) offers three nights at the Ca's Curial hotel in the pretty town of Sóller, at the foot of the Tramuntana Mountains, from £410 per person, breakfast included. Guests receive daily maps and notes for walks. Levels of difficulty vary throughout the week. Flights extra.

Insider information

"Mallorca has moved on and up offering top hotels and restaurants, excellent sports facilities for golfers, cyclists and sailors, and a capital with buzz, shopping and nightlife. The island remains a destination with a traditional rural heart dominated by magnificent mountains. With 300 days of sunshine a year and more than 200 beaches – Mallorca simply has it all." – Dominique Carroll, Mallorca resident for more than 10 years and press officer for Fomento del Turismo de Mallorca.

Boutique break

Forget big resorts, Mallorca has plenty of private boltholes for a romantic escape, including several new openings this year. The five-star Boutique Hotel Calatrava (00 34 971 715 012; boutiquehotelcalatrava.com) opened in Palma last week in a 19th-century building not far from the city's old sea walls. It has 16 suite-style rooms overlooking the Bay of Palma, a spa and sun terrace. Double rooms start at €180, including breakfast.

In the north-east, Alcudia Petit Hotel (00 34 971 549 912; alcudiapetithotel.com) opened last month in the medieval walled town of Alcudia. With just nine rooms, the four-star hotel combines sleek modern décor with exposed limestone walls. Doubles start from €117, including breakfast.

Family fun

It's been a long, cold winter, so pack up the kids for some sun, sea and sand. The four-star Hotel Bon Sol Resort & Spa (00 34 971 402 111; hotelbonsol.es) is just 10 minutes' drive west of Palma, with tropical gardens leading down to the beach. It has a free kids' club and playground and guests can choose between hotel rooms, which start at €171 per person, half board (under-11s sharing pay €83); or four-person villas, which start at €179 per person, half board.

The five-star, beachside Blau Porto Petro (00 34 902 222 070; blauhotels.com/portopetro) sits alongside the sandy beaches of Parque Natural de Mondragó on the south east coast, with a kids' club that has language and yoga classes. There's also a football field, tennis, basketball and volleyball courts and cycle hire. Family rooms start at €225, including breakfast.

Mature Magaluf

In the southern part of Magaluf, a series of new hotels from Spanish brand Meliá has created the Calvià Beach Resort, with a glitzier crowd in its sights. Beach House Hotel (0808 234 1953; melia.com) aims to create "the first lifestyle destination in Mallorca", with modern, minimalist décor and guest DJs at the pool. Doubles start at €113, room only. Nearby, at Nikki Beach (00 34 971 12 39 62; nikkibeach.com/mallorca), the season starts from 25 April; opening party entrance is €50.

The Sol Wave House (0808 234 1953; melia.com) combines its infinity pool and DJ entertainment with surf simulators and instructors, including Europe's first barrel-wave simulator. Doubles start at €96, room only.

Rural bliss

The countryside is dotted with vineyards and ancient farmhouses. The Sa Cabana Rural Hotel & Spa (00 34 971 62 20 60; hotelsacabana.com) in the Es Raiguer wine region dates back to 1578, but has been renovated into a 25-room hotel with spa, terrace restaurant and kitchen garden. Doubles from £170, room only.

In the foothills of Puig de Galatzó mountains, Es Ratxo (00 34 971 147 132; esratxohotel.com) was once an 11th-century farmhouse but is now the most relaxing of spa hotels. Doubles from €365, breakfast included.

Hotel L'Escaleta (00 34 971 671011; hotel escaleta.com) is an old converted schoolhouse near Port D'Antrax offering a pretty garden, vine-covered terrace and rustic rooms from €80 with breakfast.

Es Turó (00 34 971 64 95 31; www.esturo.com) farmhouse has been in the same family for 200 years. It combines a traditional country setting with luxurious Balinese daybeds around the pool. Doubles from €75, room only.

Finca S'Olivar (00 34 629 266 035; finca olivar.org) on the north-western coast, is a working farm which serves its own olives and apricot and fig jams. Accommodation is in little cottages sleeping between two and six, spread among the trees that start at €102 per night, room only.

Splash out

If you don't have your own superyacht to moor in Palma's marina, try a luxury hotel instead. Cap Rocat (00 34 971 74 78 78; caprocat.com) is a converted 19th-century fortress on the Bay of Palma, with a private beach, infinity pool, two restaurants and even a drawbridge. Doubles start at €350, including breakfast.

In the hilltop town of Deia, La Residencia (00 34 971 63 60 46; hotel-laresidencia.com) is an ivy-clad manor house with landscaped gardens. Alongside its pool and tennis courts, it offers art classes and Vespa tours of the area. Doubles start at £393, including breakfast.

The restored 18th-century Castell Son Claret (00 34 971 13 86 29; castellsonclaet.com) opens in May offering a rural retreat on a 325-acre estate with views towards the Tramuntana Mountains, landscaped gardens and a luxury spa. Doubles start at €245, breakfast included.

A home from home

Tap into the local way of life on a villa holiday. Freelance Holidays (01789 297 705; freelance- holidays.co.uk) has a new property, Es Bosquet, on the Bay of Pollensa in the north-east of the island. Set in on an old, 1,000-acre agricultural estate – or granja – it sleeps six people in three bedrooms and has a pool, barbecue area and cleaning service. Seven nights cost from £560 per villa. Flights extra.

Scott Dunn (020 8682 5050; scottdunn.com) offers rental of the contemporary Villa La Font in the hills behind the seaside town of Pollensa. With views across to the coast, the open-plan pad has a pool and barbecue area and sleeps six. Stays are fully catered with a nanny, chef and host included. Seven nights costs from £6,120 for six guests. Flights extra.

What they say

"I found everything I wanted as a background to my work as a writer: sun, sea, mountains, spring water, shady trees and no politics." Robert Graves

"A sky like turquoise, a sea like lapis lazuli, mountains like emerald, air like heaven." Frederic Chopin, describing Mallorca in 1838.

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

News
The current recommendation from Britain's Chief Medical Officer, is that people refrain from drinking on at least two days a week
food + drinkTheory is that hangovers are caused by methanol poisoning
Life and Style
techConcept would see planes coated in layer of micro-sensors and able to sense wear and tear
News
Patrick Stewart in the classiest ice bucket to date
people
Sport
Premier League Live Saturday 23 August
sportAll the action from today's Premier League matches
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Oracle 11g SQL 2008 DBA (Unix, Oracle RAC, Mirroring, Replicati

    £6000 - £50000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: Oracle 11...

    Recruitment Consultant (Graduate Trainee), Finchley Central

    £17K OTE £30K: Charter Selection: Highly successful and innovative specialist...

    SQL DBA/ C# Developer - T-SQL, C#.Net

    £45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Working with an exciting ...

    Sales and Office Administrator – Sports Media

    £23,000: Sauce Recruitment: A global leader in sports and entertainment is now...

    Day In a Page

    All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

    Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

    Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
    Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

    Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

    So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
    Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

    Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

    Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
    What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

    What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

    Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
    French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

    French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

    The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
    Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

    Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

    Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
    Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

    Radio 1’s new top ten

    The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
    David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

    David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

    A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
    Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

    Florence Knight's perfect picnic

    Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
    Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

    Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

    The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
    Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

    Mark Hix's summery soups

    Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
    Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

    Tim Sherwood column

    I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
    Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

    Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

    Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
    Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

    Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

    The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
    Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

    Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

    The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition