As a touristic destination Mallorca is often a misrepresented Island, seen by some as the place to dance, drink and pass out. My advice is to forget about the boozy nightclubs of Magaluf and discover a magical destination with 300 days of sunshine, views, walks, mountains and some of the best places in the world to just sit back and relax in.
If you’re looking for somewhere fabulous to stay, then the Hotel Bon Sol is a hidden treasure just waiting to be discovered, situated in the quiet district of Illetas just the other side of Palma and about 25mins by taxi from the Airport. The Hotel was built back in 1953 and is a sprawling, fauna enriched James Bond villain style complex close to the clear, blue Mediterranean sea.
It has a strong reputation for giving guests the personal touch and its lush green gardens are matched equally by its environmentally friendly ‘green’ initiatives.
Hotel Bon Sol is a bit like a (Spanish) onion, the more you peel away, the more layers you’ll find to it. The main buildings interior is reminiscent of an old Spanish castle, complete with suits of armour and worldly artifacts. This is where (among many other things) my room, the main restaurant, a huge breakfast area, a gorgeous pool, sub-tropical crazy golf and the main bar is situated.
My room is on the 4th floor of the main building and has a beautiful balcony overlooking the crystal blue water. It’s full of fresh flowers, chocolates and other goodies that make me feel instantly relaxed and welcomed.
Yet, take a short walk through reception and take another lift down and you’ll come to a long underground corridor that leads to a separate part of the Hotel that is somehow magically on the waters edge along with a small private beach.
The gardens in this area are the result of many years of hard work by the owners. In addition to a sea front restaurant (open in the Summer) there is also a patio and bar, swimming pool(s), a volleyball area and a Jacuzzi. Hidden in the foliage are small self-contained apartments that are available to rent.
Here you’ll find the Hotel’s Spa, Gym and treatment rooms and a wide range of massage and beauty treatments are available for guests to soak up, enjoy and pamper themselves over.
Now you might think that ECO-Hotels were a relatively new concept, but the Bon Sol has actually been using ‘green’ philosophies since it was first built. It was the very first building on Mallorca to have solar panels and the waste refrigeration heat is recycled and used to heat the swimming pool. The waste air conditioning heats the water for baths and showers and the 10,000 square feet of gardens are cleverly designed and maintained using minimum use of recycled water.
It’s a philosophy so important to owner Martin Xamena and his English wife Lorraine that in 2002 they bought a plot of land in Costa Rica and began a project to offset their carbon footprint by planting 250,000 trees and helping local families with jobs. It makes most the ‘throw your towel in the bath’ environmental idea most Hotels have look a bit small-fry.
Old guests are treated as old friends, I spoke to a couple that had been coming back twice a year for many years. Entertainment is geared towards older guests, but it is as equally popular with families too. There are no 3am DJ sets at the Bon Sol, but there is entertainment and singers in the bar area and a friendly atmosphere, most nights and there is also a grand piano player and violinist in the restaurant too. The Bon Sol prides itself on the fact that so many people come back they have a ‘left luggage’ service where guests simply leave a case of clothes here for their next visit.
The facilities in the Hotel mean the kids can be happy without a lot of forward planning and some who came here as kids are now bringing their own young families.
It’s not to everyone’s taste and the Bon Sol is in stark contrast to the new chic-hip Hotels where you can check-in via computer and never speak to a member of staff all through your stay, personally I prefer the former.
Many guests take the half-board option at the Hotel, which includes breakfast and an evening meal (expect wine). The breakfasts are wonderful – gorgeous fresh artisan breads, meats and fresh fruits sit harmoniously next to an omelette bar and a plethora of choices. For dinner there is a fixed menu with 3 or 4 options for each course (always a vegetarian option) featuring a mixture of local produce and traditional favourites. The gazpacho is fantastic, so too are the steaks and local dishes.
If you prefer to venture outside of the Hotel in the evening there are many good local restaurants nearby. Try the ‘Es Reco de Randa’ in Randa (the Frito Mallorquin and Lechona come highly recommended) or for Fish go to ‘Ca’n Pep’ in Sa Rapita. Finally for the best paella head to the mountains to Ca n’Antuna in Fornalutx.
If, like me you’re here just for a few days the only thing you need to do is relax. There are enough facilities at the Hotel (Spa/Jacuzzi/Pools/Mini-Golf / Table Tennis etc, etc ) to keep you very happy. Apart from the hotels small private beach, there are also a couple of lovely public beaches just a 5 minute walk away (above), great for windsufing and paddleboarding. If you are here for longer than a few days the public transport is very good, so trips into town are easy and the beautiful mountains offer walks, cycling and views to take the most blasé of breathes away.
Martin and Lorraine’s warm personalities infuse every staff member at the Hotel, many of whom have been at the Bon Sol for over 20 years. Despite this their enthusiasm to make sure everything is perfect during your stay feels as fresh as ever.
I’m not normally one for inspirational quotes, but there’s a sign in the bar that says ‘The best wine you drink is the one you have with friends’. At the Hotel Bon Sol it seems that means everyone.
I was at Bon Sol in the early Spring and while the evenings were cool the weather was beautiful. You can fly direct from to Majorca in 2 hours 15mins with EasyJet, Monarch, Ryanair, Thomas Cook Airlines and Norwegian Air from the UK and flights start from just £45 return.
Hotel Bon Sol Resort & Spa has 146 rooms & villas spread through the grounds with excellent dining and leisure facilities including a luxury spa; 3 swimming pools, tennis, and a quiet beach cove (see www.hotelbonsol.es). Classic Collection Holidays (classic-colllection.co.uk 0800 294 9315) offers 3 / 7 nights at Hotel Bon Sol from £727/£1252 per person. Prices based on 2 adults sharing a classic room on half-board basis with return flights from Gatwick (other regional airports available) and private transfers.
For more information on Mallorca visit:
Fomento del Turisme