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Something about the thought of a villa holiday in Majorca made me and my husband feel ever so slightly middle-aged. It didn’t sound racy. Or intrepid. Or remotely bursting with exotica.
But it was our first summer holiday with our new(ish) son, so we got over all that very quickly and invited a few friends along to perk things up a bit. And it worked.
Maybe it was the endless, blisteringly hot days in the middle of a wet washout of a summer. Or the wafting smells of mountains of garlic prawns, chorizo and lamb kebabs.
Or perhaps it was just the anaesthetising effect of the dozens of bottles of local wine (all for less than €10) through which we motored during our week-long stay.
In short, it’s the most brilliant place I’ve been to for years. It’s barely two hours from any airport in Britain to Palma and it’s currently 30c and sunny — and will be for weeks.
While thousands peel off from Palma to Magaluf’s bright lights and beautifully photographed chicken and chips meals, it didn’t seem quite the thing with an 11-month-old baby, so we headed sedately north to the ancient market town of Pollensa.
And on to our fantastically sprawling and relaxed villa, tucked away out of town down umpteen dirt tracks and cut off from the rest of the world, other than a cockerel whose body clock was woefully wrong and nearly ended up on the barbecue — 4am is not acceptable — and barking dogs.
CV Travel is famous for fabulous villas and ours was (almost) perfect. Inside, there were loads of spare rooms for escaping screaming babies and cigar-induced snoring. Outside were endless hibiscus and bougainvillea, a huge lawn to play badminton on, a lovely pool to splash in with babies or loll like dead fish on assorted Majorcan inflatables, a vast veranda to gossip and fiddle about on iPads, an annoyingly efficient Wi-Fi connection and an overgrown orchard, tangled cactus wood, and two double annexes for those of our friends trying (largely in vain) to effect a romantic break.
It took me two days to leave the compound. Why would you? But when I finally slipped off my pink Lilo, it was worth it.
My first outing was to Puerta Pollensa, at dusk, to gaze at the craggy cliffs and pine-scented slopes of the Sierra de Tramuntana and sample one of the staggeringly strong gin and tonics served by all the waterfront bars.
Icy drink in hand, wedged into a wicker chair, is a perfect spot to admire the evening promenaders (mostly large-breasted English and German ladies) squeezed into an array of minuscule outfits. So small, in one instance, even baby Freddy did a double take. The boats are good to look at, too.
The port is also home to a couple of the most impressive tobacconists any of our group (and we boasted some veteran smokers) had ever frequented.
The fully stocked state-of-the-art walk-in humidifiers there spawned some cracking headaches, but did help keep the mosquitoes at bay. One extremely committed smoker went bonkers on recklessly cut-price Marlboro Lights.
Buoyed by our first outing, we tried another — a day trip to the beach at Cala San Vicente — a charming cove largely populated by Englishwomen flat out on hired sun loungers, engrossed in various parts of the Fifty Shades Of Grey mummy porn trilogy.
The sea was warm and great for toddlers and non-porn-reading dads, the sand boiling hot and the beach restaurants full of the usual calamari, fresh fish, ensalada mixta, cheap rosé and (particularly good) veal chops.
Food-wise, Majorca (or at least the bit we were in) seems light years ahead of its neighbour Minorca, whether eating in or out. But the markets are particularly good — you can smell the soft fruit before you see it.
The goats’ cheese was the best we’d ever had. A local sausage called sobrassada — made from the island’s tiny black pigs — came home (rather smellily) with us. We ate endless fat tomatoes, gleaming aubergines, chorizo-fried padron peppers, sweet lamb, delicate pastries and, of course, washed it all down with lashings wine and sherry. Even the supermarkets are good — especially for fish.
Though there was confusion in our local Eroski store between turbot and monkfish. And the checkout girls can be quite sharp when it comes to trolley return. “They don’t treat you like that at Waitrose,” huffed one of our group.
But if you really want to swank it up, head to the Formentor peninsula, where the beaches are straight from a Caribbean catalogue (but closer), the sun loungers more expensive than at Cala San Vicente, and where the beach bars serve champagne and pizza.
It’s expensive, but worth a day trip, if only to gaze at the beautiful people (all reading Fifty Shades, too) and their beautiful boats.
Of course, there are loads of cultural and historical outings within a stone’s throw from Pollensa.
You could have a look round the 14th-century Gothic Church of Sant Jordi, built by the Knights Templar, or visit the Roman theatre in Alcudia, just ten miles away. Or drive for an hour to the beautiful town of Valldemossa.
Naturally, we did none of these. To be honest, we didn’t even consider them. But next time we will. Unless, that is, we somehow get beached on our Lilos once again.
This is just the sort of holiday to go on with friends and extended families — and if you’ve just had a baby, but haven’t quite accepted your life has changed. There’s loads of room for lolling about in the sun, gossiping in the shade, crawling everywhere and splashing like maniacs in the pool.
Having always been a bit snotty about Majorca, I’d be back in shot. So take my advice, give up on the rubbish British summer, gather up a few friends and a baby or two, and go. Now. Because it is the most wonderfully relaxing, easy, varied and, most importantly, sunny place I’ve been to in years.
If You Go...
CV Travel (020 7401 1035,cvtravel.co.uk) offers a week in La Font from August 11 for £4,605(about R55 000) based on 11 guests sharing, including a maid, air conditioning and a welcome food hamper. The same holiday is £2,665 per week based on 11 guests sharing for arrivals on September 8 and 15. - Daily Mail