Popping along on a “jolly” to Mallorca, for us Brits, always played a big part in our middle class childhoods. Tagging along with our yuppie parents, reveling in the brief escape from their soul-crushing jobs for two weeks in the sun, Mallorca always seemed a land of endless hotel swimming pools, bar-side ice creams and overly confident foreign kids. And like that, rather unfairly, it remained. Compartmentalized and stored away. There for the day when it would be our turn to be parents. Our turn to search for our own package holiday escape.
Returning to Mallorca, a little wiser, older, and with the capacity to get drunk freely in the eyeshot of adults, it’s a lot more enjoyable than I remember. Staying at the Lindner Golf & Wellness Resort Portals Nous, I get all the luxury a weary backpacker could want without any of the pomposity. Gone are the crass “family entertainment shows” and water aerobics that haunted my Mallorca holidays as a child. Out are the stale breakfast buffets and curmudgeonly Spanish staff too.
Instead what I get is a resort stay that lives up to its promise. Two days of spa treatments (like every real metrosexual should), good food, countryside discoveries and a colonial African atmosphere (yes, in the heart of Mallorca) that actually succeeds in making me feel relaxed. Rather than wearing me down like the many resorts – and the ubiquitous pack of screaming snotty-nosed kids that accompanies every one of them – I’ve visited before.
But how else did a stay here manage to pacify this particularly pernicious travel writer? Well, letting me see Mallorca at my own pace was a good move (I was free to check out the nearby yacht harbor of Puerto Portals and the capital Las Palmas if I wanted). Then I was spared all the listless Spanish stereotypes that usually come with this kind of tourist territory (think Flamenco dances, paella tastings and tapas tours), so that I actually felt like I was on a separate island and far from mainland Spain (always refreshing after more than a year there).
Oh and I did I mention the free cava on arrival and an the all over body massage I received in an African hut? Nice touches those. If not for the lovely German masseuse then certainly for me.
Yet, aside from these twisted details of luxury that are likely to incense young independent travelers rather than inspire them, what’s so special about the Lindner experience that means it’s worthy of a mention here at Vagabundo?
The answer lies in the way it unmasks Mallorca to be more than simply beaches, pools and generic resorts. Reliable on local resources (resort restaurants source from the island and the spa uses Mallorqui natural products), Lindner Portals Nous, thanks to its location, also gives you full access to the hills and mountain sides of Western Mallorca, including activities like hiking, mountain biking and, perhaps most importantly for drunkards like me, wine tasting.
In fact the experience offered to visitors to Mallorca by bodega’s like Santa Caterina up near the little village of Andratx, is so far from the stereotypical image of the island cast down through 1980s holidays that you wonder how much of Mallorca people actually see. Sitting out in the courtyard overlooking vine groves, picnic spots and groups of people feasting on cheese and regional wines, I cursed my parents for not introducing me to the nectar of the Mallorcan gods back in the day.
Thanks to Lindner I discovered there’s much more to Mallorca then German’s in tight speedos. There’s wine, beautiful countryside and downright fine resorts too.
Unlike before, I certainly won’t be storing those images away for decades to come.