Royal Hideaway Formentor - Northen Majorca's Hidden Gem
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Wandering along a
corridor in the truly gorgeous Royal
Hideaway Formentor hotel in northern Majorca and studying the photographs
on the wall is like looking at a Who’s Who of the world’s rich and famous.
Famous guests have
included Winston Churchill, Charlie Chaplin, the Spanish royal family, Audrey
Hepburn and Peter Ustinov to name a few. Hollywood beauty Grace Kelly and
Prince Rainier also honeymooned here, and you can easily see why.
The hotel’s location, in my view, is one of the most beautiful and unspoilt in the world. It stands on its own on a wooded hillside looking out over the bay of Pollensa with mountains in the background within the spectacular Sierra de Tramuntana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You reach it by road about an hour’s drive from the capital Palma, around many hairpin bends and with jaw-dropping views to amaze along the way.
Founder of the hotel,
arts patron Adan Diehl, had a vision in the 1920s to create a haven for
artists, writers and performers of the day – a place they could come and be
inspired as well as relax and exchange ideas.
Now, in all its original
beauty and surrounded by 3,000 acres of exquisite grounds I admit The Formentor
is one of my favourite hotels. The current owners, Spanish hotel group Barcelo,
has thankfully paid great attention to the Formentor’s history while adding the
luxury facilities and service that 5-star guests expect. It forms part of the
group’s Royal Hideaway collection of top hotels.
Staying here doesn’t
feel like you are in a generic chain hotel, but more like being in a luxury
mansion with just a few other select guests. In fact, there are 122 bedrooms
and suites and six villas in the hotel grounds to choose from.
This mountainous area
attracts cyclists from around the world. Indeed, there are many activities you
can book here, including guided treks, golf, water sports, even motor bike
Even today a
connection with the arts remains with the annual Formentor Sunset Classics
open-air concerts in the summer that have attracted artists such as Dame Kiri
te Kanawa, Daniel Barenboim and Lang Lang.
Nothing can really prepare you for the sheer glamour and magic of the evening itself. Beautifully dressed guests gather to sip Champagne under the twinkling lights on the fragrance-filled hotel patio before walking down to the fabulous setting surrounded by trees to watch the concert.
Music royalty of a
different kind, including Lionel Richie have also performed at the hotel and
Mick Jagger has stayed here too.
The facilities here
are beautiful but understated. There are two outdoor pools, tennis courts, mini
golf on site and golf courses within easy access.
The small, public beach
is just an easy stroll through the lush gardens where two of the hotel’s four
restaurants offer everything from pizzas and burgers to a full-blown, laid-back
lunch of paella washed down with the tipple of your choice.
You can hire comfy loungers serviced by the hotel with towels and umbrellas. The sea is sparklingly clear and a wonderful place to swim. Heaven.
If you want to stay
nearer the hotel then the new Balinese cabins next to the pools are pure
indulgence. They each have a double bed, changing room, shower, robes, towels,
sun loungers and even a TV. I also enjoyed a massage there so you can just
drift off into an afternoon nap having been totally destressed. Sheer bliss.
But at some point, you
have to explore this stunning bay and one of the best ways to do this is on
board a beautiful, traditional, wooden Majorcan fishing boat trip, booked
through the hotel.
Another daytime outing in nearby Pollensa worth trying is to a family-run, artisan textile company Teixits Vicens, established 160 years ago. Also, just a short drive is olive oil producer Solivella, which offers tours and tastings.
But it’s the hotel
itself and dining beside its many spectacular views that are the true delights of
being at Cap Formentor as the location is known. Enjoy your pick from a huge
array of breakfast, lunch or dinner choices at the buffet then enjoy your meal
on the hotel balcony at the El Colomer restaurant or choose an exquisite a la
carte meal at El Pi under a romantic, flower-covered arbour next to the
Choose from dishes
made from local produce and vegetables from the hotel’s garden and, of course,
The Hotel Formentor is
truly classy. Luxury without shouting about it. Take a nightcap in the hotel’s
piano bar. So play it again (and again) Sam.
Norwegian serves Palma-Majorca year-round with up to six flights per
week from London Gatwick on modern aircraft offering all passengers free Wi-Fi.
Fares start from £29.90 one way / £62.50 return at www.norwegian.com/UK or dial
0330 828 0854 (opt. 1)
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