Location, location, location
From smart hotels to boho-chic retreats, b&bs to party houses, these islands have some of the best addresses in the Med
Sunday 08 May 2005
1 La Residencia, Mallorca
1 La Residencia, Mallorca
In 1984, a stylish hotel set in two converted manor houses opened its doors in the mountain village of Deia and ushered in a new era for Mallorcan tourism. That hotel, La Residencia, has played a key role in persuading discerning holidaymakers that there is more to this island than the discos of Magaluf. Now celebrating its 21st birthday, La Residencia has recently reopened following a €1.5m (£1m) refurbishment by its new owners, Orient-Express. Additions to the honey-coloured 16th- and 17th-century buildings include an expanded bar, a wireless internet service and a lift linking the main house to the pool - eliminating the need for guests to battle their way through the sunbathers to reach one of the hotel's two restaurants. There are 59 rooms to choose from and five-star facilities include three swimming pools, spa, gym, tennis courts, a complimentary shuttle service to a private beach, classical music concerts and a permanent art exhibition.
La Residencia, Deia, Mallorca (0034 97163 6046; www.hotel-laresidencia.com). Double rooms cost from €385 (£262) to €440 (£298) per night on a b&b basis.
2 Las Banderas, Formentera
This diminutive b&b is on the tranquil island of Formentera, Ibiza's little sister. Amid the dunes on Playa Mitjorn, a sweep of powder-white sand lapped by turquoise waters, Las Banderas's discreet setting makes it a popular place from which to escape after a few hectic days on Ibiza. The property is owned by an English woman, Leah Tilbury, who spent much of her childhood on neighbouring Ibiza, before becoming a full-time resident of the Balearics. The guesthouse only has a handful of rooms, but they are the height of boho-chic, furnished with antiques. A house-party atmosphere prevails - many of the guests tend to be friends of the owner and are regular visitors to the island.
Las Banderas, Playa Mitjorn, Ibiza (00 34 609 577 417). Doubles cost from €60 (£41) per night. The hotel is open mid-April to mid-October.
3 Alcaufar Vell, Menorca
Those looking for a bit of solitude would do well to reserve one of the six rooms at Alcaufar Vell, a country estate, surrounded by olive groves and pine trees in an unspoilt corner of south-eastern Menorca. At the centre of the estate is a handsome, 19th-century house, its pale stone façade set off with bright green shutters. The property, which has been the same family for several generations, is run by mother-and-son team Maria and Jaume Angeles, who welcome guests to this historic agritourismo-style b&b. Think rustic aristocratic chic with a familial atmosphere, rather than contemporary sleek and you won't be disappointed. The hotel's interiors are decorated in country-style terracotta floors, beamed ceilings and whitewashed walls, with family heirlooms and pictures dotting the rooms and corridors. Guests can spend their days strolling around Alcaufar Vell's 250 acres, which include half a mile of pristine beach, as well as sampling the farm's produce in the vaulted dining room. These include honey from the estate and special homemade sobrasada, a local spicy sausage, which all makes for an authentic Menorcan stay.
Alcaufar Vell, Ctra de Cala Alcalfar Km 7,3, Sant Lluis, Menorca (00 34 971 15 18 74; www.alcaufarvell.com). Double rooms start from €117 (£80) per night, based on two sharing, with breakfast.
4 Les Terrasses, Ibiza
A large indigo stone marks the discreet entrance to Les Terrasses, five minute's drive from one of Ibiza's more laid-back towns, Santa Eularia. But Les Terrasses, which is on the eastern side of the island, offers a completely different perspective on Ibiza from the hectic fleshpots of its principal town and San Antonio. The French owner, who arrived on the island 20 years ago, set about transforming this traditional Ibizan finca into a stylish bolthole of great charm. The 10 bedrooms are suffused with Gallic style and are scattered with antiques - the result of years trawling local markets. As the name suggests, the surrounding grounds boast numerous shady terraces, framed by bright pink, red, yellow and orange blooms which tumble over every available space. The lush surrounding gardens hide two swimming pools and a tennis court, while the beaches of Saint Eularia are a short drive away.
Les Terrasses, Apdo 1235, Carretera de Santa Eularia Km 1, Ibiza (00 34 971 33 26 43; www.lesterrasses.net). Double rooms start from €160 (£109) per night, based on two sharing including breakfast.
5 Ca'n Verdera, Mallorca
Nowhere typifies the inner beauty of Mallorca more than Fornalutx. Close enough to the beaches of the north coast and the glitzy appeal of Deia, it remains fairly well hidden among the pine-scented forests of the Serra de Tramuntana. And it has a special secret that makes it worth the journey alone - the Ca'n Verdera. Eleven rooms in a modern but not fussily renovated three-storey townhouse - plus a penthouse suite with a hot tub - are set on a south-facing promontory of the village, with views across to the mountains and the valley of Soller. The day begins with a delicious breakfast in the shaded courtyard during which the chef bids you good day and asks if you'd like him to pick up anything special for your dinner from the market. You can then explore the cobbled streets and courtyards of the village, free from traffic and noise (certainly in spring or late summer), until the pool beckons. Come the evening, the bougainvillea-adorned terrace makes a romantic spot for early evening drinks before checking what chef has done with the catch of the day.
Ca'n Verdera, Carrer de Torros, 1, E - 07109 Fornalutx, (00 34 971 63 82 03; www.canverdera.com). Double rooms cost from €190 (£130) per night in high season to €480 (£327) per night for the penthouse suite.
6 Hotel Hacienda Na Xamena, Ibiza
Ibiza's only five-star hotel is set high on a clifftop in the unspoilt north of the island. The property was designed by Belgian architect Daniel Lipszyc and his wife in the late 1960s to blend in with the rugged surrounding landscape. The influence of Ibiza's country houses can be seen in the use of spacious courtyards and elegant arches, although there are lots of cubbyholes in which to spend an afternoon quietly reading. There are 63 rooms, all individually designed, the decor drawing inspiration from the east. All have four-poster beds and either a terrace or balcony offering panoramic coastal views, while some come with a hydrobath tub or mini-pool set in a private garden. The hotel has four restaurants, but the most romantic option is to dine on the cliffside at sunset. There's also a spa, and two swimming pools, one of which has a spectacular cascade. Or you can take the path down to a rocky beach. Guests can charter the hotel's private boat to explore the nearby coves or take a trip across the water to Formentera in a yacht.
Hotel Hacienda Na Xamena, San Miguel, Ibiza (00 34 971 334 500; www.hotelhacienda-ibiza.com). Double rooms start from €263 (£179) per night, based on two sharing, excluding breakfast
7 Villa Roca, Ibiza
The Mediterranean's premier party island is just the place to round up 16 friends and hire a house. Especially one like Villa Roca. This modernist mansion is carved out of the rock high above the sea, in the middle of a nature reserve. Just a few miles from Ibiza town, on the road to San José, the islands' premier clubs and bars are about a 20-minute drive away. Or you can stay at home and dance the night away on the villa's own alfresco dance floor and disco area. The beaches at Salinas and Es Codolar are within view of the roof terrace. But who needs the beach when you have a big swimming pool with waterfalls, hidden cave, floating cabana, plunge pool, roof-top mini pool for 12 with hydromassage and fountain and two spa baths. Dining options are similarly multi-faceted: there's a pool-side bar, indoor and outdoor dining and a rooftop barbecue - plus, of course, the services of a chef. And when it's time to crash, there are eight bedrooms, all with DVD, sound system and flat-screen digital satellite TV, and eight bathrooms. Enough, already.
Villa Roca, Ibiza (00 34 686 351 098; www.villarocaibiza.com) costs from €3,000 to €5,000 (£2,038-£3,397) per night to hire, minimum four-night stay.
8 Voramar, Mallorca
One for the extended family, this six-bedroom, four-bathroom stone house is set just a few hundred metres from the sea in the north-east of Mallorca. Don't be fooled by Volmar's traditional style, this is a new house, but that means it comes with all mod cons, including a private pool. Set out over two storeys, there's enough room for 10 people in a variety of double and twin rooms, with one area arranged in apartment style, which can be closed off for extra privacy. You can squeeze in 12 if you take advantage of the extra room with bunk beds. During the day, there's plenty of space to mingle - or spend time apart - in the two lounges, on the terrace and by the pool. No need to worry about tidying up because the rental includes three hours maid service five days a week - you can even get the cooking done and babysitting on request for extra cost.
Voramar, Colonia de Sant Pere, near Arta, Mallorca. A week's rental costs from £2,134 for up to 10 people sharing, or £2,340 for parties of 12, through CV Travel's Mediterranean World (0870 606 0802; www.cvtravel.co.uk).
9 Villa Iris, Menorca
Whitewashed villas in lush rolling countryside set against a backdrop of gleaming blue sea - that's the glorious view from one of Meon Villas most luxurious properties in Menorca. The ultra-modern Iris is designed to maximise these views - especially from the two terraces, one on the first floor, one leading to a swimming pool with a waterfall. Bright and spacious, with contemporary decor, this house accommodates six people in three en-suite bedrooms. There's a large, open-plan living area, too, although you're more likely to spend time outdoors on the lawn, where a barbecue offers the opportunity of alfresco dining. The villa is a mile from the heart of one of Menorca's oldest coastal resorts, Binibeca, where you can see examples of the work of celebrated Catalan architect Antonio Sintes.
Villa Iris, Binibeca, Menorca. A week's rental through Meon Villas (0870 909 7550; www.meonvillas.co.uk) costs from £849 per week.
10 Can Simoneta, Mallorca
Overlooking a rocky coastline on Mallorca's north-east tip, Can Simoneta is one of the island's newest hotels, opening its door for business in March. The hotel, which has commanding views of the Mediterranean, is set over two buildings, Can Nofre and the 140-year-old Can Simoneta, from which the hotel takes its name. Can Nofre houses 15 of the hotel's 21 guestrooms, plus the bar and restaurant, while the sturdy Can Simoneta, which was once used for seaweed baths, houses the remaining six rooms. A cool contemporary feel pervades the guestrooms; white walls and beamed wooden ceilings are offset by simple furnishings and sandstone-clad bathrooms. Spend an afternoon swinging in one of the hammocks around the pool in the surrounding traditional Mallorquin gardens, or take the curved staircase hewn from the rocks directly to the beach below for a swim in a natural seawater pool.
Can Simoneta, Carrertera de Arta d Canyamel Km 8, Finca Torre Canyamel, Capdepera (00 34 971 816 110; www.cansimoneta.com). Double rooms start from €235 (£160) per night, based on two sharing, including breakfast.
Compiled by Aoife O'Riordain, Kate Simon, Lucy Land, Justin Talbot and Jamie Buckley
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