Sun, sea, sand and Spike. It was only after we returned from Mallorca that we discovered the villa we stayed in had been a favourite holiday home for Spike Milligan. "We drove down dark, sinuous paths and suddenly we came to this wonderful place like a Roman villa going back 2,000 years," Milligan said of his first visit. "There were marble floors, pieces of beautiful pottery, even clay down-pipes and no phone, thank God."
The comedian even went on to describe Can Tatoli, the sumptuous villa close to Pollensa in the beautiful, breathtaking north of the Balearic island, as a "paradise of silence".
But then he didn't have to stay there with my kids. It was a relief that the finca, with its thick stone walls, is surrounded by three fields, dotted with lemon trees and date palms, at the end of its own long, thin driveway. No one could hear the din from three overexcited children aged eight, four and two.
The villa was a delight. Spacious – cavernous, in fact – and interesting with its array of artefacts and knick-knacks, yet child-friendly. It had landscaped gardens, a large pool, Jacuzzi, barbecue, even a ping-pong table.
The town and the surrounding area were also equally impressive. Pollensa, founded as part of the Catalan conquest of the island 800-odd years ago, is far from the south coast both geographically and in character – this is not the Mallorca of Magaluf. As a bolt-hole and a base it's also ideally located to explore. With its cobbled streets and narrow alleys, there's the Calvari, a sweep of 365 steps, one for each day of the year, which rises out of the town square, while on Sundays, the Plaza Major hosts a busy market.
With so much to see nearby, every day could be different. From the bucket-and-spade appeal of Port de Pollensa, with its traditional seaside main drag of Passeig de Londres and pleasant Pine Walk to the monastery of Lluc, in the Tramuntana mountains, which simply swarm with cyclists. Then there are the underground caves of Campanet and the Cap de Formentor with its views to Menorca.
The best afternoons were when we just drove around exploring and stopped the car at modest beach-side restaurants for ice cream or a coffee, before scrambling over rocks and cliffs with the children or walking up through the mountain passages and beyond rundown cottages and bemused-looking goats. The sun shone but it wasn't too hot.
Much of our time was spent relaxing in the villa. And trying to persuade the kids to get out of the Jacuzzi. I don't know if it was there when Spike visited, but I certainly agreed with what he said about Can Tatoli: "I wanted to phone up the villa company and say: 'I'll book this villa for the rest of my life.'"
How to get there
Jason Burt stayed in Can Tatoli as a guest of The Best Villas Pollensa (0844 561 1217; thebestvillaspollensa.com). A week's hire of the villa starts at £885 next season. Easyjet (0905 821 0905, 65p a minute; easyjet.com) flies to Mallorca from £90 return. Carrentals.co.uk offers cars for hire from £68 a week.