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April 2020 / Travel / by Becky Pomfret

Travel Review: Son Penya

An adults-only hotel in the peaceful Mallorcan village of Sant Llorenç provides the ultimate escape from everyday life, whatever the weather.

We leave a sunny London to arrive in a rain-lashed Mallorca. In fact, it is raining so hard that the airport closes temporarily and our plane is forced to circle until it can land safely. We gaze forlornly out as we do eventually touch down, willing the weather to improve. But we are en route to Son Penya Petit Hotel and Spa, an adults-only boutique hotel set just a few miles from the rural village of Sant Llorenç, and as we drive out into the countryside, even the rain can’t keep our spirits down for long.

Seeking time out from work and family commitments, we’ve been told that this hotel is the perfect place to recharge; we are very much looking forward to unpacking both our literal and metaphorical luggage. And on first impressions Son Penya does not disappoint. As we pull up in the pretty courtyard the sun comes out and we feel our hunched shoulders relaxing. It is gloriously peaceful: there are no other guests in sight as we make our way to reception to check in.

Design-wise, the hotel, which has recently been renovated, is a striking example of pared-back elegance, incorporating natural elements of wood and stone. It is contemporary, but in a soothing and comfortable way. Our room is situated just off the peaceful reception area (scented wonderfully with a fig-oil diffuser) and its simple, almost monastic design is minimalist, featuring bright white linen bedding, stone floors and Hessian mats. The bathroom is stocked with lovely, environmentally friendly amenities and a Jacuzzi bath, and there is a sunny private terrace. It is practically perfect in every way.

After an early start and a long journey we’ve worked up an appetite, so we head to the restaurant, which is situated in a beautifully converted old barn. The hotel is low-rise and set into the natural landscape, and offers incredible views of neighbouring agricultural land. The spacious estate boasts five separate buildings housing twelve unique bedrooms. As we sip our first cerveza of the trip all we can hear is the tinkling of bells on sheep grazing nearby, and we breathe in the sweet scent of the orange and lemon trees that surround us. An outdoor pool, bar and barbecue area blend seamlessly into the natural landscape, and there is plenty of al fresco restaurant seating.

The staff are both friendly and professional, offering lots of recommendations about what to eat and drink. This evening is barbecue night, although with further showers threatening, the cooking happens indoors. On offer is a fine array of locally sourced meats and fish. We order the tuna and rib eye steak and push the boat out with three different types of potato side dish (never intimidated by carbs, we valiantly finish the lot). We turn down dessert, but our rather cheeky waiter decides we should try some anyway, and a very tasty apple tart and a chocolate brownie make a not altogether unwelcome appearance on our table. There is a good selection of Mallorcan wines on the menu, too, which probably don’t help our willpower very much. The short stagger back to our room is made memorable by a spectacular thunder storm, which thankfully clears the air for some proper sunshine the next day.

We awake to the seductive scent of rosemary and lavender emanating from the rain-soaked and verdant hotel grounds. Breakfast calls: a plentiful menu of hot options alongside a cold buffet, consisting of locally-inspired patisserie and cute jars of granola and yoghurt. Some exercise is called for after all of this indulgence. We discover that there are bikes available for guests to borrow, or even electric BMWs for those less comfortable on two wheels, but we choose to set off on foot instead. Lost in the scenery and the natural surroundings, our explorations lead us to a busy road, and we begin to wish that perhaps we had opted for the wheeled options after all. We potter back and plonk ourselves down on one of the comfortable loungers by the pool for a lazy afternoon. There is pool service, so the biggest effort we need make is pressing a button to summon chilled drinks. We do take a look at the well-equipped gym, situated next to the indoor pool, but that’s pretty much the extent of our exertions. We are here to relax, after all.

More fine food awaits in the form of bowls of fish poke for lunch and then, for dinner, some incredible culinary mastery from the chef, who we decide must be a magician in his spare time. Tuna served in a box full of smoke is just one of his impressive dishes. We round off with a digestif  enjoyed under the stars – the perfect end to a much-needed break. Son Penya has been the perfect spot to recharge our batteries; a true panacea for modern life and we think we’ll make it an annual pilgrimage.

A one night stay with breakfast costs from £175 (€200) per room per night based on two sharing. Hire of the electric BMW costs €59 per day. For reservations, call 0034 971 599 751 (sonpenya.com)