Through my open window, fingers of pink dawn light crept in, pregnant with the promise of a beautiful day ahead. Looking down, a cluster of marble-topped tables sat forlorn and silent with no one around to sit and enjoy the views over the bay. And what a view it was. Rose-tipped waves stretching out in all directions, apart from one – a beach where the waters lapped gently on the golden sand backdropped by a small town and towering scrub-topped massif. If I could see this view every morning, I thought to myself, I would be a very happy woman indeed.
Unfortunately for me, I can’t because I live in London and this was a quintessentially Mallorcan view. To be specific, it was the view from my room at the Hotel Illa d’Or, an octogenarian white stucco pile, perched neatly on the beach just outside of Pollença; a quaint little town in the far north of the island. From my room, a quietly spacious affair decked out in soothing neutrals and dominated by a vast squashy bed, I could see it all.
Later, after a shower in my en-suite bathroom, which came complete with all the mod cons, I sauntered out to those once-forlorn tables and discovered a bevy of waiters ready to bring me coffee and an ensaimada; a local bun cooked in lard and dusted with icing sugar. From my perch, I could see the waves, now bright blue in the morning sun, and the craggy little islets, topped with bushes and thronged with birds, dotted around the bay. Behind me, the white walls of the Illa d’Or gleamed serenely golden, belying the bustle below.
The Illa d’Or is something of an institution in Pollença and celebrates its 85th birthday this year. That’s not to say it’s a crumbling monument to the 1930s – far from it. All of its 120 rooms have been given a contemporary makeover, although some things, such as the parquet-floored lobby and the gin and tonics that appear come sunset remain. What also remains is a jetty; a vast stone edifice that jags out into the bay attracting swimmers and yachts alike.
But it’s not all beaches and boozing. The staff – all of whom seem to be the sort who magically seem to know what you want before you know you want it – are on hand to organise everything from wine tasting tours to tennis lessons and there’s a fully equipped spa, so boredom is unlikely. Better still; the hotel is also home to a pretty little restaurant, decked out in Mediterranean blue, where fine food is very much at the top of the agenda.
I ate like a proverbial queen while there, tucking into ridiculously fresh seafood and washing it all down with excellent local wines. By the end of one five-course supper, I was so full; I could barely make it up the stairs and instead turned to the rickety lift to reach my third-floor abode. Luckily for me, the sea was there to sing me a lullaby through my open window: one of the many (and there really are many) lovely things about a trip to the Illa d’Or.
IN THE AREA…
Perched on a bay in the rugged north of Mallorca, Pollença escaped much of the building free-for-all that blighted the south in the 1970s and is all the better for it. Founded by the Catalans in the 13th century and named after the Roman burgh of Pollentia – the remains of which can be seen a few miles up the coast – the town is a dream of honey-coloured stone, tiny boutiques and sunny cafes. For the energetic, there’s the 365-step walk up to the Cavalry chapel on a peak above the town as well as three beaches, all of which offer watersports.
But there’s more to the area than cafes and sunbathing, and we spent a happy afternoon touring the vineyard and sampling the wares (including an excellent Syrah) at Can Vidalet. Equally lovely is Finca Es Guinyent, a charming farm surrounded by olive groves where you can get to grips with the pressing process and taste an oil or two while fending off the friendly farm cats. Elsewhere, the coast to the north of Pollença is blessed with dramatic cliffs and hidden sea caves, all of which can be reached by boat. Our yacht, cheerfully captained by Amador Magraner, once belonged to Marylin Monroe and proved well up to the job of ferrying us up the coast to a quiet cove where we swam and picnicked as shoals of rainbow-coloured fish flickered through the clear blue waters below.
NEED TO KNOW…
Classic Collection Holidays offers three nights at the Hotel Illa D’Or from £540 (or seven nights from £836 per person), based on two adults sharing a twin/double room on a half board dining basis and includes return flights and private transfers. Call 0800 294 9318 or see classic-collection.co.uk for more information and to book. For more on Pollença, see enjoypollensa.com