After two nights livin’ la vida loca in the cocktail bars lining the back alleys of Palma’s Old Town, this Mr and Mrs Smith were ready for a change of scene – one that involved a strong dose of relaxation. Cases de Son Barbassa was just what the tired revellers ordered.
Set on a secluded hillside above the ancient village of Capdepera in the north-east of the island, the hotel has panoramic countryside views. It sits just inland from some of Mallorca’s least-known but loveliest coastline, and many virgin coves and beaches. Its remoteness really warrants a car, although we survived on a string of cabs.
Cases de Son Barbassa is tucked between olive trees, an immaculately restored finca with an interior of clean whites and neutrals set against original stone features, wooden beams and polished floors, offering cool sanctuary from the blazing midday heat that greeted us. A warm, Spanish-speaking welcome finally gave Mrs Smith the chance to try out the language she had been studiously learning for the past month. Her hesitant explanation that we were vegetarians must have made sense; the unfazed manager kindly assured us that we wouldn’t go hungry.
The compact size of our room - named S’Arc after its arched entrance - was more than made up for by its outdoor terrace, which gave us beautiful views of the verdant landscape. Though the terrace was not technically private in terms of the path that runs round the hotel, nobody and nothing disturbed the all-encompassing tranquility of the location.
Our room had everything we needed: flat-screen TV, minibar, and big, supremely comfortable bed. The stone-floored bathroom, like the rest of the hotel, was modern and ergonomically considered, containing a shower big enough for two, with full-body massage jets.
As regular visitors to Miami’s South Beach, we both felt at home lazing on the infinity pool’s cushioned loungers, as the soft white canopies billowed in the merciful breeze. After taking a plunge, we helped ourselves to the honesty bar before taking the short stroll back to our terrace, where we were visited by a couple of laidback local cats.
We only stopped at reception to ask for advice about where to eat in Capdepera, but the owner made it his business to drive us into town himself while enquiring about what sort of restaurant we were interested in. Opting for cheap and cheerful rather than haute cuisine and Michelin stars, we were guided to L’Orient in the village’s picturesque main square. The welcoming staff may have joked about our strange vegetarianism, but they made us feel like old friends.
The only thing that could drive Mrs Smith out of bed the next morning was the buffet breakfast spread. During another blissful day doing exactly what we wanted, ie next to nothing, we were paid a visit by the chef, who was keen to make sure our dietary desires were taken care of at that evening’s barbecue. The hotel’s dedication to decent local produce was more than evident, and left us wanting nothing but a night cap, which we enjoyed in one of the two very cosy fireplace snugs on either side of the bar.
Our final day was spent, once again, horizontal on those decadent sunbeds, before we headed over to the pretty town of Artà, dominated by the towering Moorish architecture of Santuari de Sant Salvador d’Artà. As we slothfully made our way down the central ramblas, we were intrigued to witness one long-distance runner after another zooming past. We sat and had a cold beer, watching the world race by and trying to relate to the concept of being in a hurry, as the town’s women and children stood out cheering the men dashing past.
We experienced nothing but warmth during our whole idle stay. As we ate in the lively, arty surroundings of Café Parisien, we congratulated ourselves on choosing such a wonderful and welcoming corner of Mallorca. Cases de Son Barbassa was the perfect place to hide out for a few days, and we were sad to say goodbye to our rustic, self-contained haven.