Night and Deià on Mallorca’s luxury side
As the largest island in the Balearic Islands archipelago, Mallorca’s name derives from Latin insula maior, “larger island”; later Maiorica, “the larger one” in comparison to Minorca, “the smaller one”.
I had travelled often to its capital Palma, which boasts the best marinas of Mediterranean, home to the King of Spain’s Palma Royal Nautical Club and the superyachts of the billionaires’ playground Portals Nous.
I hadn’t ventured North on any of my previous trips however and had been told many times by island veterans I was missing out on the island’s more artistic scene, far away from the blinged-out palaces-on-sea and designer shopping boulevards of the South.
So with this in mind last month I headed to Deià, a small town located on the northwest flank of Mallorca’s Serra de Tramuntana, between the quaint, upmarket towns of Valldemossa, Sóller and Bunyola. Deià is built on a hill set in a valley and the Teix, the second highest mountain in Mallorca, rises above it.
Driving up and up I noted imposing peaks span out in every which direction – the terrain dotted only by olive trees and traditional fincas buried deep in the landscape.
Chatting to my driver, a Sóller-resident himself, I discovered the renowned English poet, novelist, and scholar Robert Graves himself had settled in the village, where he collaborated with Laura Riding in setting up the Seizin Press. In fact, realising this area was also home to celebrated BBC drama The Night Manager, which aired earlier this year, my desire to discover Deià doubled.
And my bed for the night didn’t disappoint. Set high in the Tramuntana Mountains of Mallorca’s West Coast Sa Quinta is an elegant six-bedroom, six bathroom villa, surrounded by 28 acres of gardens and breath-taking Mediterranean views. A calm evades all on entering; classical music drifted from a self-playing baby grand, as I stepped on to the villa’s endless terrace to drink in my first Mallorcan sunset of the trip.
Deià has a reputation for attracting artists, musicians and bohemians since the 19th century and today remains very much an artist’s community. Enjoying afternoon tea the next day at the five star hotel La Residencia, I was lucky to meet the surrealist artist Arturo Rhodes, whose arresting, juxtaposed paintings I then frequently spotted in many supporting local restaurants and businesses of the area. His playful creations, such as Girl with a Pearl Earring are inspired from his time as a cartoonist in New York in the 80s and force the interpreter to question reality as they know it.
Another gem of the trip was a boat trip with Mezzo Magic up the coast, culminating with a calm sunset dip to a secret blue lagoon, whereby the boat firm truly lived up to its name.
And foodies needn’t worry. Fresh fish is the order of the day at Cas Patro March in Cala Deia, home to the famous kidnapping Night Manager scene. We reached this by yacht then rib pulling into the busy bay, feeling every bit the off-duty oligarchs, as night fell and we clambered up to the rock-side restaurant in our Sperry’s and swimwear.
Not to be missed either was Restaurant Nama, offering Asian and Mediterranean fusion with a captivating chef Bonnie who came out with every course we ordered with a background of the dish. Her succulent, freshly-caught Thai-style lobster with chillies sated my appetite for that Deià, but left me wanting more.
Sa Quinta is available from 4th – 31st Sept, priced at 27,000 Euros per week. And from 1st October onwards for 20,400 Euros per week. I booked through Charles Marlow, a charming British-run agency that’s based opposite La Residencia. Their properties all scream understated luxury and their Deia Olive Press blog is worth checking out to give a true flavour of the destination. Return flights from London to Palma de Mallorca this October start from around £49 searching on award-winning travel site momondo.co.uk.