31 January 2011
The northern coast of Mallorca is a place to wind down and relax into the ancient rhythms of Mediterranean life.
If you live in a busy international city, you may not know how stressed you really are until the pressure stops. La Residencia, on the Balearic island of Mallorca, is the place to discover. Everything about this romantic hideaway is pure calm.
Arrive and you find your shoulders becoming perceptibly lighter, as the weight of modern life and attendant anxieties are lifted from them. You feel that every care has been banished, along with the mobile phones that you are discouraged from using in the public rooms. The apricot-coloured walls of what was once twin old manor houses seem to come gift-wrapped in mauve wisteria, specially for connoisseurs of good living.
Mallorca is the Mediterranean as it used to be. Yes, the island has suffered an influx of tourism around its southern beaches. But inland, and to the north, you would have no idea. By a species of miracle, the old Mallorca remains, curiously innocent: a landscape of olive groves, Cubist villages and wildflowers.
This is still the place that affluent and discriminating visitors discovered in the 19th century, creating a colony of what a guidebook of 1878 described as "strange and eccentric foreigners". Today, artists and writers from around the world continue to form a characterful community at the prettiest of all the villages: Deià, on the island's north-east coast. Nestling beside the Tramuntana Mountains that are green with pines and evergreen oaks, its ochre houses cling to a hill topped by the church tower. The best place from which to contemplate it is the terrace of La Residencia.
By Clive Aslet, Editor at Large of UK magazine Country Life
What, for you, is most relaxing about a stay in Deià?