Mallorca has had a bad rap. This Balearic island of stunning beauty has been typecast as a cheap and tacky holiday destination, but this view is totally at odds with reality…
What a difference a day makes, 24 little hours! Well, I don’t know about you, but that sounds like an awfully long time, I prefer one hour and forty minutes, which is precisely how long it takes to fly to Mallorca from London. Mallorca, one of the 11 islands that make up the Balearic archipelago, is in my humble opinion, vastly underrated – not just as a golf destination, but also as a holiday location.
I remember my mother-in-law returning from a holiday here, raving about its beauty after having fallen in love with the island. At the time, I could not understand how a place that I had associated with one type of vacation could be so different. Well-travelled and worldly wise, she painted a picture completely contrasting to my perspective. Now, all these years later, my viewpoint has completely aligned with my mother-in-law’s.
I have to start by saying that this is truly the golf island. There are 19 (yes, you read correctly) golf courses on a landmass that you can drive from one end to the other in about an hour. However, you would need to take a seriously long vacation to give yourself the opportunity to play them all, although I for one would be happy to try.
The capital, Palma, a truly beautiful Spanish city in every sense, is authentic, charming and welcoming. And once you see the countryside, you will really begin to understand what our misjudged perspective has caused us to miss over the years. There are mountains, sweeping plains and rolling hills, along with picturesque villages and pretty towns.
THE NORTH EAST. My plan for this trip is to cover the north-east of the island. I begin in the town of Cala Ratjada, which is located on the Punta de Capdepera peninsula. This peaceful settlement is built around the harbour and a sea promenade that stretches from Playa Son Moll to the south to Cala Gat on the peninsula. Nearby is the equally beautiful Capdepera, where you will find a medieval castle dating from the 14th century standing guard over the town. The area is perfect for those looking for a relaxing vacation in authentic surroundings.
I am booked in at the Serrano Hotel close to the sea front, conveniently located for sun, sea and golf, with four courses close by. A stroll along the promenade soon uncovers a myriad of cafes and bars at which to sit and watch the sun set.
CLUB DE GOLF SON SERVERA. The next day I head off to play golf at the Son Severa course. This is my first visit, although, believe you me, I have tried to cover them all in the past. Located close to the coast and roughly 20 minutes from the Serrano Hotel, this is a real gem. Beautifully designed and well maintained, this parkland golf course is the second oldest club on the island. Meandering its way up into the mountains, the views out over the bay of Cala Millor are spectacular. For me, the visual experience is everything and this course really ticks the box.
CAPEDEPERA GOLF. The last time I came to Capdepera, I had about 20 minutes to spare and had to race around the course with hardly a moment to actually hit a ball. But this time I get to play. Located, naturally, not far from the town of Capdepera, the course hugs the Artá mountain range behind to create the perfect backdrop. The front nine are mostly on level ground, while the back nine take you into the foothills. There are some inspiring holes and enough to keep all levels of golfers content. The 15th was voted ‘Best Hole on the Island’, and offers spectacular views to the Mediterranean Sea and surrounding land.
PARK HYATT MALLORCA. After visiting two golf courses in one day, it’s time for some luxury. And an opportunity has presented itself with the new Park Hyatt Mallorca having just opened in nearby Canyamel. Now, I have stayed at a few Hyatt’s in my time and have always been impressed, so the new Park Hyatt Mallorca has a high bar to reach. Happily, this accommodation easily hits the mark.
The hotel has been created in the form a traditional Mallorca hilltop village, with hotel rooms and apartments combined into the structure. The resort is so new that direction signs haven’t gone up yet, so I spend a good ten minutes searching for it. This is made harder by the fact that the resort fits so well into its surroundings, but it’s all worthwhile when I finally arrive.
From the moment you pull up at reception, you are in good hands. You just cannot beat that personal service from trained staff who are more than happy to make you feel pampered. My suite is perfect, with views out to the rolling hills and a large balcony on which to relax and enjoy a glass of wine.
Later on I meet up with Stefanie from the hotel, who is giving me a guided tour of the facilities. We meet in the square, which is complete with its own clock tower. First stop is the spa. It offers day treatments, half-day escapes and unique signature experiences, all individually tailored to meet the needs of every guest. The spa rooms are cool and peaceful – a great place to unwind. With every convenience catered for, this is worth the visit.
There are four restaurants available, all of them good. The traditional Balearic eatery is rooted in the strong culinary values of the region, while the Tapas Bar offers an inclusive social space, with an outdoor terrace where guests can enjoy freshly prepared tapas, classic and original cocktails plus an extensive selection of wines. The Asia has a wide range of authentically prepared pan-Asian dishes by specialist chefs, and then there is the Café Sa Plaça, offering all-day dining.
All the restaurants source local food and beverages as much as possible, from sustainably caught fish to free-range poultry, local farm-grown vegetables, fruit and olives, and seasonally produced cheese and olive oil. As such, the restaurants and bars operate on a seasonal basis.
With Canyamel Golf Course next door and another two within ten minutes’ drive, this is a great place to stay. The prestigious Alcanada golf course is also not far away.
REAL GOLF DE BENDINAT. I cannot visit Mallorca and not play at Bendinat. This is ruining my plan of only covering courses found in the north of the island, but it really is worth the visit. Bendinat is located just a little way west of the capital Palma. Quirky and beautiful are two words that come to mind here.
The course is both urban and parkland, with so much more. Right from the first tee, where your drive is a blind shot into a valley, you have a feeling that this is no ordinary course. The backdrop of the imposing Bendinat Castle adds to the experience (indeed, the honorary president of the club is none other than King Juan Carlos of Spain). The back nine provides some breathtaking views, particularly from the 12th, a par 3 from a ridge down to the green below.
VIVA ZAFIRO ALCUDIA RESORT & SPA. My final stop is a visit to the recently opened five-star Viva Zafiro Alcudia Resort & Spa. As with Park Hyatt and Serrano, this hotel is located in the north of the island. It is perfectly placed for golfers, with Alcanada only a few minutes away.
The resort has been built with careful consideration for both couples and families, with a central amenities area as well as both adult and kids pools, some of which are accessed directly from ground floor apartments.
If you are looking for somewhere to keep all members of your family happy, then this is the place. Children will find it hard to complain of being bored here with so much to do. Help is on hand with childcare and kids’ clubs should the adults decide to partake in their own activities, such as golf, for example. The rooms and apartments are modern, light and well equipped, with choices from single and on up to suites complete with a rooftop Jacuzzi.
The nearby Alcanada golf course is set in beautiful surroundings and is one of my favourites. If you are in Mallorca, then a visit here is a necessity.
I cannot recommend Mallorca enough. Yes, it is more expensive to play golf here than in mainland Spain, and this is something that I hope they rectify in the near future. But the quality is high, the weather is good, the views are stunning and you are not fighting for a tee time as you would at other locations. Whatever you do, make time to visit ‘Golf Island’ – it’s less than two hours away.
Good to know
Book your Mallorca holiday by going to www.greatgolfholiday.com
Monarch operates year round flights to Mallorca from Birmingham, London Gatwick, London Luton, Leeds Bradford and Manchester airports with fares, including taxes, starting from £59 one way (£130 return)
For further information or to book Monarch flights, Monarch Holidays or Monarch Hotels, please visit www.monarch.co.uk
For more information on golf in Mallorca, go to www.mallorcagolfisland.com