Visiting Pollensa was a very last minute decision. I discovered the hotel via the "Relais & Chateaux" website (naturally), and it looked so serene that we decided to go, having very little knowledge of our surroundings. We woke up at 4am (yikes) and hopped on a two hour direct flight from London (Gatwick Airport) to Palma. We then we hired a car service (I recommend Balearic Transfers. They are reasonably priced and very professional) for the remaining 45 minute drive to our hotel in Pollensa. Depending on how long you stay, you may want to rent a car and explore the area a little more. We stayed 2 nights, and our hotel had complimentary bikes as well as vespas available for rent so that was perfect for us.
When we arrived, we pulled up to what looked like an old Spanish estate, neatly tucked away behind vineyards and a vast display of orange trees. It's hard to believe places like this are real. The air smelled so sweet you could almost taste it, and we quickly realized it was (obviously) due to the surrounding orange trees. When we walked into Son Brull Hotel and Spa, we immediately felt at peace. The hotel is incredibly tranquil with plush, white upholstery and soft textures throughout it's ancient stone walls. The hotel, previously a monastery, is roughly 300 years old. When we were shown to our room, we were greeted with complimentary "cava" (champagne) made on site as well as freshly picked oranges from the garden (sigh).
We were so exhausted when we arrived that all we could do for the remainder of the afternoon was slip on our bathing suits and collapse out by the pool, which of course is perfectly situated facing the rolling Spanish hills and vineyards. After taking a little "siesta", we had tapas on the terrace (order the gazpacho) and a glass of rosé that was made on the property (it was so good that we purchased a bottle and took it to our room). We tried "bravas" for the first time, a Spanish potato dish that is DELICIOUS, accompanied by several other tapas that were also incredibly tasty. It was the perfect way to recharge after a long day of travel while experiencing our first afternoon at Son Brull.
Day 2! We woke up, had an amazing breakfast at the hotel (buffet breakfast was included in our rate...always a plus) and decided to take advantage of the complimentary electric bikes and go explore the village of Pollensa. If you're wondering what on earth an electric bike is, so was I. Ha! It took me a minute to figure it out, but basically, they are amazing if you feel like exploring without experiencing the most strenuous bike ride known to man (there are a lot of hills). You set it to the speed you want, and as soon as you start pedaling it will automatically give you a little "push" to maintain your speed. Brilliant! It seemed a bit lazy to me at first, but once we experienced the terrain, we were VERY grateful we had them. Ask the hotel to show you the scenic route to Pollensa. You won't regret it. It's a small road with very few cars that winds through the countryside, where you will see beautiful Spanish villas tucked away beneath the mountains. I must admit, we hit a rocky patch and I lost control of my bike at one point. I ended up with a few scratches and a good story, so it wasn't too bad in the end ;)
Once we got to Pollensa, we were immediately smitten. It reminded me of some small villages we have visited in Italy: tiny quiet streets, warm colored buildings with bright shutters, cafes and shops on every corner, and an aroma in the air that is like a mixture of newly bloomed flowers and freshly baked bread. We wondered through the narrow streets, popping in and out of shops, until we discovered a VERY long set of stairs, which we learned later are called "The Calvari Steps" and there are 365 of them. The steps are lined with cyprus trees and they lead to a beautiful chapel that sits gracefully on top, surrounded by stunning views of Pollensa. Absolutely worth the climb.
Another absolute "must" in Pollensa is a little bakery (that is so hidden that it's clearly wanting to be "discovered") called Barbara Backenkohler Bakery (who I'm assuming is the baker herself). Get the strawberry cake and prepare to be amazed. It is absolutely the best strawberry cake I've ever tasted. There are plenty of other restaurants in the village serving tapas, and it's my belief that you really can't go wrong here....it's fun to discover your own "hidden gems" and try lots of new things!
My only regret is that we were unable (due to weather on our third day) to squeeze in a trip to one of the many beautiful hidden beaches in the area. If you are able, the locals recommended a beach called Cala Figuera. It's about a 15-20 minute cab ride (or drive if you've rented a car) from the hotel and then a 15 minute walk to get to the actual beach. The locals claim it to be "pure paradise", so I imagine it is absolutely worth the trip when the weather is nice.
We decided to end on a high note and have dinner at the hotel's 365 Restaurant, which boasts of simple but elegant Mallorcan cuisine, freshly made from ingredients grown on site. They offer a tasting menu as well as a la carte. Our absolute favorite dishes were the duck cannelloni and the lamb. To die for! The local wine is an amazing accompaniment, and to top it off you can try the "Son Brull Dessert", which is inspired by a local lemon cocktail.
WHERE TO STAY:
Son Brull Hotel and Spa
Ctra. Palma -Puerto Pollença, Km. 50, 07460 Pollença, Balearic Islands
WHERE TO EAT:
Son Brull Hotel and Spa Terrace
365 Restaurant at Son Brull Hotel and Spa
Barbara Backenkohler Bakery:
Carrer de Munar, 6, 07460 Pollença, Illes Balears
*Try any of the tapas restaurants in Pollensa!
WHAT TO DO:
Visit and explore Pollensa
Climb the Calvari Steps:
Carrer del Calvari, 4, 07460 Pollença, Illes Balears
Visit Cala Figuera Beach (ask hotel for directions)
Get a spa treatment at Son Brull Hotel and Spa