Travel: Perfect setting for music in Majorca
It's a beautiful evening in northern Majorca as the sun sets and a glamorous crowd gather in the spectacular historic island hotel setting for a very special concert.
Renowned baritone Thomas Hampson was about to perform with the Balearic Symphonic Orchestra, directed by Felipe Aguirre, as part of the popular Sunset Classics series at one of the island’s most renowned and historic hotels – the Barcelo Formentor.
Following a glass of bubbly on the hotel terrace we were treated to a programme of both classical and popular music ranging from Mozart’s The Magic Flute to songs from Cole Porter. It was a very special evening topped off by a spectacular gala dinner. These open-air concerts in July and October have featured stars such as Kiri Te Kanawa and Lang Lang and tickets are highly sought-after.
This is no surprise as the events just add to the luxury of staying in this famous hotel that has played host to the rich and famous since the 1920s. Notable guests have included Winston Churchill, Audrey Hepburn, Agatha Christie and the Spanish royal family, who still come and stay.
It’s the only hotel on the north eastern peninsular of Majorca, adding to its exclusivity. The drive there through the Sierra Tramantuna mountains is breathtaking. It’s an area now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one that you can explore during your stay.
But with just a long weekend in prospect it is hard to drag yourself away from the understated luxury of this place, set in 3,000 acres of stunning grounds running down to the sea and its sheltered bay.
Dining delights are guaranteed with seven restaurants to choose from, there are two swimming pools and active types can play tennis, go horse riding, walking, cycling or even hire a Harley Davidson motorbike to tour the area.
The short walk down to the beach is a pleasure in itself as the gardens are filled with both beautiful and fragrant plants and trees. When you reach the sand you can relax on a lounger, enjoy an excellent lunch at the hotel’s La Veranda restaurant or choose a snack from L’Espigo or try out watersports or a boat ride to while away your time.
Golf enthusiasts are also within easy reach of two of the island’s best golf courses of Alcanada and Pollença.
But take my advice and take plenty of time to soak in the view because this is truly a very special spot on an island that attracts millions of visitors every year. Such exclusivity is usually only the preserve of the mega rich.
This is an award-winning hotel, part of a family-owned Barcelo group established in Majorca in 1931 and now one of Spain’s leading tourism companies with 141 hotels.
It will be fun to discover what other delights the group has to offer, but, although I might be getting ideas above my station, I’m booking the Grace Kelly suite at the Barcelo Formentor for my next trip to the island. It’s a lifestyle I’d like to get used to!
The Barceló Formentor hotel shuts in the winter, but opens again on April 17 with prices from €204 (£151) per room per night, based on two sharing on a B&B basis. See www.barceloformentor.com
Formentor Sunset Classics: From £235 for the concert and gala dinner, www.formentorsunsetclassics.com
Monarch flies to Majorca from London Gatwick and London Luton airports from £35 one way (£72 return), www.monarch.co.uk