A Gentleman’s guide to the Balearics

They are the holiday isles of Spain, a place to sunbathe and chill, to discover delicious cuisine and the finest fiestas. From luxe hotels to citadel palaces, chic beach clubs and hidden retreats, Mallorca, Ibiza and Menorca have plenty to offer gentlemen in need of a break.

MALLORCA

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The largest of the Balearics, Mallorca is easily accessible. You’ve probably heard of ‘Shagaluf’ but a gentleman can easily swerve such places by booking one of the finer hotels, and allowing their limo (or a taxi) to whisk you away from the airport before you can even say ‘package tour hell’.

Surrounded by olive and citrus groves, with a backdrop of the Tramuntana Mountains, La Residencia, in Deià, set the tone for luxury accommodation. It has been followed by Cap Rocat,  a converted cliff-top fortress, Son Brull,  a former 12-century monastery, and the Gran Hotel Son Net.

For those wanting to stay in Palma, Hotel Can Alomar, The Calatrava and Hotel San Francesc,  offer boutique chic walking distance from the gothic cathedral and the shops and bars of Paseo del Borne. New places here include GP Cafe and the Simply Fosh Art Bar.

IBIZA

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Best known as a party isle, Ibiza is also the coolest place to chill. There are still superclubs like Pacha, but supper clubs, such as Heart, a new dining and club concept by Cirque du Soleil and former El Bulli founders Ferran and Albert Adrià, offer a more creative variety of hedonism.

The White Isle is also developing a reputation for wellness retreats. From extreme fitness to Pilates, yoga, nutrition or even stand up paddle boarding camps, there is something for every gentleman in need of a bit of TLC. 38 Degrees North run a large selection of courses at Aguas de Ibiza hotel.

It goes without saying that gentlemen will wish to avoid the concrete sprawl of places like San Antonio, although sunsets on this side of the isle are legendary for a reason. Instead check into a luxury agroturismo hotel, like The Giri, or Cas Gasi, where you can wake up to croissants and almond blossoms, take a leisurely dip in the pool, and then head off for a late beach club lunch.

MENORCA

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Popular with sailors and those who like nature, if you enjoy unspoilt coves, gorgeous countryside, and authentic culture, Menorca is the island for you. It’s much quieter than Ibiza or Mallorca, so is probably a better place to holiday with family or girlfriend.

Horses play a big part in Menorcan culture and there are fiestas across the island each summer. The most important is Sant Joan, in Ciutadella. Crowds fill the ancient plaza as dozens of caballeros on gleaming black horses charge through narrow streets. It’s traditional for young men to try to touch the horses’ hearts for luck, and later that night, for riders to parade into courtyards, and even into people’s houses.

Mahon has one of the largest natural harbours in the world and the island was used as a British naval base during the early 18th century. Mahon gin dates back to this period, along with fortifications of the architectural variety.

Gentlemen may enjoy staying in Can Faustino,  a restored noble palace in the centre of Ciutadella, or Torralbenc,  a converted farm in a rural location in the south of the island.

By JULIA HUNT

Further Reading