Luxury Explorer Review

5-Star Hotel Review

Son Julia

Spain

Supremely stylish, beautifully proportioned, with suites reminiscent of a palace

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Son Julia
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Son Julia

Location

Outside Palma, Mallorca

Travel Information

15 minutes from Palma airport

Top Tips

The idyllic white sand beach and turquoise waters of Es Trenc

5-Star X-Factors

The majestic 300-year-old gardens, filled with hidden terraces, winding paths, orchards and vineyards

Deliciously Moorish

In the year 798AD, the Moors conquered Mallorca and a cultural boom followed. Al Hawani, who became the first Governor on Mallorca, incorporated the Balearics into the Caliphate of Cordoba. The Moors controlled the island for almost 500 years after this, with little interruption. Such a lengthy stay has indeed left its mark and the resultant 'design exotica' has not been forgotten at the 15th-century mansion, Son Julia.

The weekend before Easter we took the children to an oasis, and we didn't need to fly to the sands of the Sahara; we simply drove 15 minutes south east from Palma airport to a small, relatively unknown area to visitors, Llucmajor. The long palm-lined drive up to the mansion has a putting course, tennis courts and a pool the size of a lake.

15th century stunner

On arrival, this mansion is deeply impressive and beautifully proportioned, with a sweeping staircase leading up to another pool and an alfresco dining area. Inside the hotel, the influences of Mallorca's eclectic past are truly inspiriting; a Moorish-Andalucian-Mallorcan blend, housing palm trees, Persian rugs, grand antiques and original honey-coloured polished marble floors glowing with the patina of age.

A beautiful little chapel with pews, stain glass windows and centuries-old icons, is candlelit to the right. Welcome drinks, smiles and strawberries fill our gob-smacked faces and, after a stroll up the grand staircase, we are led to our wing. Yes, an entire wing comprising our suite and two other enormous bedrooms. Tiredness borne of an early start was soon eclipsed by elation.

The feeling of space here is quite liberating. The finishes and furnishings are extremely expensive and tasteful: huge gilt baroque mirrors hang over 10-foot wide dressers and Ziegler's sprawl the wonderful flooring. The children are made to feel at home (some home!) and they do.

The bathrooms are the size of most people's sitting rooms, with power Jacuzzis, lavish showers, separate loos, twin basins and all the trimmings you could dream of from thread repair equipment to dry skin buffers. Quirky displays of truly magnificent floral specimens are placed lavishly on coffers and in corners.

Our beds were too wide for definition and supremely comfortable with beautiful linen, silk covers, and mohair throws. Massive flat-screen TVs (they need to be this size because the bedrooms are so enormous) stand aloof in all the rooms, including our suite's sitting room. The terrace has sturdy wicker loungers with deep cushions and a cast iron table and chairs overlooking the oasis-style terrain: windmills, palm trees, southern Mediterranean shrub-land and a wide, flat, horizon. Babylon for bronzing.

Shimmering spa

The Spa and Wellness Centre downstairs is perfect. A glistening pool shimmers under the original vaulted sandstone ceiling with loungers surrounding the pool, a large separate power Jacuzzi, saunas, fresh water on tap and great lighting. Treatments are carried out in side rooms and the high-tech gym is up some steps behind sheets of glass overlooking an inner courtyard.

The problem with going somewhere so indulgent on impact is that you immediately wonder if it can possibly get any better. Well, it can; you just need to know how. Simply staying in and around the hotel can certainly satisfy the most insatiable of hedonistic appetites for several days.

Las Bovedas restaurant is already producing some extremely good food and some of the very best Jabuga ham in Mallorca. You can eat under an awning on a terrace or sit in the vaulted dining room with floating roses and flickering candles. The wine list is interesting (great Albarino and white Crozes Hermitage from Jean Luc Columbo, for instance) and the service is excellent.

The bar area is pretty cool as well: plump leather sofas and stools surround the walls and a large grand piano is waiting patiently for the right fingers. More to the point, the cocktails are large, fancy and expertly mixed, shaken or stirred.

Going out

Mallorca is a glorious island to explore. It is impressively grand geographically and so diverse atmospherically that you can explore the four corners and feel you have visited several countries. Use the Via Cintura as your main artery and from there take off to places such as Valdamossa, Deija, Andraxt, and many adorable sand-coloured villages with bottle green shutters such as Esporles and Puigpuignyent.

The Mediterranean is only 15 minutes away and so is, arguably, the best beach on Mallorca, if not the Balearics: Ezstrench. Palma is a wonderful city: park your car near Jaime 111 and, after some incredible shopping, fork off for a little culture. For the very best tapas in Palma, ask the hotel to reserve a table at La Taberna de la Bóveda, also known as the 'Barrel Bar'.

Son Julia has 24 rooms and suites, all immaculate, tasteful, spacious, private and appointed to perfection. This sort of standard is hard to find anywhere, so what are you waiting for?

Sophie Marchant
Sophie Marchant


Luxury Explorer
Luxury Explorer

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