Hotel Of The Week: Gran Hotel Son Net, Mallorca

Two pints of lager and a packet of crisps? More like a glass of fino and canapes. It may be Mallorca, but this is the Gran Hotel Son Net!
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The Independent Travel

Arriving in Palma you'd be forgiven for thinking that Mallorca is just all about the beach. But the overpopulated fringes of the city's bay quickly give way to a more serene bucolic landscape dotted with old fincas, small sandstone villages and olive groves and the rugged Tramuntana mountains which form a toothy ridge along the western side of the island.

Welcome to the quiet life, Mallorcan-style. And one of the grandest places to experience it is Son Net, above the sleepy village of Puigpunyent in the southern corner of the Tramuntana. The original property dates from the 13th century when it was one of the largest estates on the island. The current house, a handsome mansion the colour of crushed raspberries, was built in 1672 and used by an aristocratic family from Palma as a country retreat. The house is arranged around a pretty central courtyard and surrounded by perfectly manicured terraced gardens with carefully raked gravel that spill over with fragrant rose bushes and purple and white agapanthus.

Son Net's current owner, Canadian businessman David Stein, originally bought the estate intending to use it as his home on the island, but later decided to turn it into a small hotel. It still feels more private house than hotel, helped no doubt by the owner's impressive art collection with works by Chagall, Warhol, Christo, Stall and Hockney gracing the walls.

The location

At the foot of Galatzo Mountain, only half an hour's drive from Palma airport.

The comfort factor

There are just 25 rooms and suites. Best to go for one of the superior or deluxe rooms on the first or second floor. Decor is more along the lines of manor-house splendour than cutting-edge chic, but even the most design-obsessed should stomach an extra swag or tassel for the location alone.

The bathroom

All the five-star touches you'd expect; wall to wall marble, capacious bath with shower. The group's own brand of Zen Zone toiletries have a pleasant figgy aroma.

The food and drink

The hotel's gastronomic restaurant, L'Orangerie, is housed in the towering old olive press, an atmospheric setting for dinner. But the live entertainment is a little too obtrusive. The Gazebo restaurant serves lunch outside during the summer months. Best fun is Lewis at the poolside Le Mirador bar, who will help you to discover your hitherto untapped love of the piña colada.

The people

This is upscale Mallorca, a million miles away from the egg, chips 'n' lager of Magaluf, so lots of well-heeled weekending couples - maps and car keys in hand - and a smattering of five-star families.

The area

The Mallorcan capital Palma is seven miles away, while the impossibly picturesque villages of Valldemossa and Deia, beloved by Robert Graves and Frederic Chopin, are a short, if twisty, drive away. But a large proportion of guests will stay put, drawn to the 100ft swimming pool and the panoramic views of the mountains offered from its sun loungers and private cabanas. There is also a tennis court, and mountain bikes are provided for guests' use.

The access

One room is modified for guests with disabilities but the grounds aren't very wheelchair friendly and there are quite a lot of steps around the hotel. Children are welcome. No pets.

The damage

Doubles start at €280 (£200) per night, without breakfast.

The address

Castillo de Sonnet, Puigpunyent, Mallorca (00 34 971 147 000; sonnet.es).

Liked that? Try these

* Son Brull (00 34 971 53 53 53; sonbrull.com) is a stylishly renovated country mansion near Pollença which blends the historic and contemporary.

* On the eastern side of the island is the 17th century Son Mas (00 34 971 55 87 55; sonmas.com), a charming country retreat with 16 guest rooms.

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