The Balearic Islands are undeniably a summer destination, but it is only once the crowds and yachts have left that its true nature emerges. The mild winters make it an attractive year-round destination. The average temperature on the main island of Mallorca is 60°F in winter with far less variation than most of us are used to. With hotels offering long-term stays at competitive rates, taking a long break in the Balearics this winter could be the best decision you have ever made.
As the best of the summer sunshine disappears, so too do many of the best resorts. The demand isn’t there to justify staying open out of season. There are, however, luxury boutique hotels that remain open year-round. These not only prove popular with tourists but locals looking for a weekend escape in the hills. Mallorca’s Gran Hotel Son Net is the best example. The hotel is situated in the Tramuntana mountains on the outskirts of Puigpunuyent village. Housed in a 400-year-old country house, the hotel has been transformed into a luxury retreat with a residential feel. Rooms and suites are tastefully designed and retain the romantic charm that should come with any 17th century property. Rooms start from $220 per night in low season.
Although some cherish the hotel life, others may find the novelty of attentive service and gourmet food wearing thin after several weeks. Fortunately, Mallorca is littered with private villas that offer every comfort of a private hotel as well as limitless personal space. The pick of the bunch is Villa Infinitum, a multi-story super-villa built on the hills of Port d’Andratx. The villa is akin to a superyacht, boasting everything you need to wait out the winter in comfort, including a spa, gym, full dining facilities, swimming pool and beautiful sea views. However, with a weekly rate of around $17,750, the superyacht lifestyle comes with a superyacht price tag. If a private villa sounds more appealing but the price tag does not, Stay One Degree offers a wide range of super-luxe properties on an Airbnb-style platform.
The island’s main city, Palma, can be absurdly busy during peak season. Not only is it a prime destination for arrivals from the local airport, but it is also where many yacht charters begin and end their adventures at sea. By the time November rolls around, the cobbled streets of the old town have emptied. This pedestrian-friendly city is beautiful to walk around when it is quiet. There are also some fantastic restaurants, including the Michelin-starred Marc Fosh. As for accommodation, look no further than El Llorenç Parc de la Mar. This boutique hotel has the understated elegance required for a long-term stay. Located on a quiet promenade and boasting sea views, the property offers peace and quiet as well as doorstep access to the best amenities on the island. A roof terrace with an infinity pool is perfect for warmer days and two fantastic dining options from the renowned chef Santi Taura. Rates from $215 per night.
Empty streets in Palma, Mallorca / ©Shutterstock
Fresh air is a vital ingredient to your Mallorca staycation. Fortunately, the island is a hiker’s paradise in winter. Many of its best trails are far too long and arduous to be tackled in the heat of the summer and many locals will wait until the clocks have gone back before digging the walking sticks from the closet. The Tramuntana mountains are the most popular, offering a wide range of trails and scenic views across the island. Mallorca is also Spain’s go-to destination for golf courses, and in winter you will have your pick of tee times as the seasonal crowds dissipate. Read our guide to the best golf courses in Mallorca here. Finally, Mallorca is one of Europe’s top winter cycling destinations and is frequented by World Tour teams during the off-season. The reason is not just the mild winters, but the exceptional mountain roads. Many pro cycling teams set up camp in Puerto Pollensa and Alcudia. These towns have high-end sports hotels designed to cater for serious cyclists. While none are fit for an elite traveler, there are many private villas in the area from which you can latch onto group rides (just don’t go with the pros!).
Hiking will keep you healthy during your Mallorca staycation / ©Shutterstock