Become Mall content in a tourism hotspot

IT'S apparently the most popular holiday destination for Britons - but the reputation which precedes it is not altogether accurate.

Mention Mallorca and most people will think you mean Majorca. However, the island is not one great big package tour.

Now, there’s probably nothing wrong with Club 18-30-style stuff, or the wild nightlife of Magaluf or Arenal. But as you start getting a bit more mature you begin to crave a bit of calmness. There is a lot of it if you know where to look.

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The madding - or even maddening - crowds aren’t that far away. They never are on an island which has a reputation as a centre of tourism. But you can avoid them and relax in style, thanks to a hotel group which aims to offer character and sophisticated spots.

There may only be one letter changed, but according to this firm there is a world of difference between what we know as Majorca, and what they call Mallorca.

The tourist boar, meanwhile want to draw your attention to the landscape, cultural and leisure activities. There is more than beaches and beer.

One day, we visited the village of Valldemossa, best known for its ancient monastery and also being a bolthole for composer Chopin. You’re unlikely to get that sort of stuff in a ‘British’ bar near the beach.

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The hotel group is Reis De Mallorca, which translates into Kings Of Mallorca. It’s probably pushing it a bit far to say they treat you like a monarch, but there is a right royal welcome in most places.

They have teamed up with British-based Classic Collection Holidays to offer a selection across the island

I’ve been to some of these hotels a couple of years ago, and was surprised to be remembered, and greeted fondly, by several staff. But they pride themselves on having a personal touch.

One of those is bon viveur and president of the association Angel Fernandez, who says: “Our hotels appeal to guests seeking quiet comfortable surroundings with fine restaurants..”

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The accommodation is not particularly cheap - the hotels have at least four stars - but it is cheerful, They’re all over the place. From the centre of Palma to the middle of nowhere.

Our first overnight stop was the Amia hotel in the north of the island, near Port de Soller, described as the area’s main trading port. The boy band Blue apparently once stayed there and filmed a video.

After an evening there, welcome to the Hotel Cala d’Or. It’s such a lovely place, in the cove of the same name, about 60km from Palma. The front is on a quiet road, while behind is the secluded, beautiful beach.

We stayed there for two nights and saw a few of the group’s other hotels . The nearest was the Hotel Melia Cala d’Or, in the same district, but with more modern Mallorcan decor.

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Not far from the Valldemossa, and run by the aforementioned Angel, is the Hotel Es Moli, dating back to the 17th century and halfway up a hill with spectacular views of the Deia district. At the right time of the year the hotel runs organised walks.

If you really want to get away from it all, you can try the aptly-named Hotel Rural Sa Galera - one of seven Hotel Rurals in the group - on the south-east coast. The landscape in this area hasn’t changed for a very long time. The hotel is a restored 13th century manor house, and you can easily imagine yourself in ancient Spain, but with air-con, satellite TV, mini-bars...

If you’d prefer to be closer to the centre of things, there are several places in Palma run by the same group, all with their own character . The hotel Palacio Ca Sa Galesa is in the historical centre of the city, with panoramic views.

Hotel Tres, meanwhile, is hidden away up an alleyway in Palma’s ‘old quarter.’ It only has six bedrooms so you are assured of individual treatment. And last but not least is the Hotel Ciuatat Jardi, which was the second hotel to be built on the island, and run by the same family for many years. It has been declared a Monument of National Tourist Interest and is next to the beach, with botanic gardens surrounding it.

So that’s Mallorca, as opposed to Majorca. There’s more than one ‘L’ of a difference.

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