My idea of a great escape: an exquisite, boutique hotel with amazing food tucked away in a quiet, European village with nary an obnoxious tourist in site. Oh, it needs to be easily accessible — no complicated airplane connections or endless drives for my family. A tall order? Not at Gran Hotel Son Net in the mountain village of Puigpunyent just outside of Palma, Mallorca, otherwise known as my little slice of heaven.
Let's just say that Son Net had me at hola. The finca, which dates from 1672 and still has its original well and patio, is set in the Tramuntana hills and mountains a 20-minute ride from the airport. When you arrive at the 31-room villa, you feel like you're walking into a friend's house party, all warm welcomes and refreshing drinks.
The villa has been lovingly restored using local wood, stone, and Spanish tile. My kids love the rambling gardens and architecture. The decor is old-school Mediterranean but mod: Luxe fabrics and heavy furnishings mix with contemporary pieces by David Hockney and Frank Stella.
With kids, it's all about the pool, and Son Net's is spectacular. Grown-ups seeking shelter (from the sun or from their squealing children) can opt for a minimalist cabana as kids frolic in the shallow, refreshing water (warning: summer temps are a killer). Everyone will love lunch at Gazebo, a casual patio restaurant overlooking town. The ingredients are locally sourced, and kids are welcome to explore the hotel's vegetable garden. Most impressively, the chef prepares dishes that not only expand your child's palate but are also acceptable to her palate.
After a long day spent doing very little — you could borrow hotel bicycles to explore the surrounding area, or you could just have a massage — it will be time to hit the bar. I recommend booking a kind, competent sitter through the concierge (our was a young Spanish mother who spoke three languages and thoroughly entertained our niños) and repairing downstairs for a glass of local red wine (Priorato, Somontano, Ribera del Duero, Rioja are all wonderful). Vaulted stone ceilings, brocade curtains...it’s all very conquistador.
You'll then head to the hotel's insanely good — but decidedly not kid-friendly — Oleum Restaurant. Ask to be seated outside for your feast of inventive takes on Mallorcan favorites, like local lobster caldereta (stew) with sopes bread. After numerous courses, you'll sleep like a baby in your sizable four-poster bed. With those perfectly pressed linens.
The ideal stay here is three days — enough time to explore the countryside, visit the nearby Parque La Reserva Aventura, go for a sail, and hit the beach for a change of scene. Any more than that, and you could easily slip into a vacation coma. You’ve been warned.
Gran Hotel Son Net
C/ Castillo de Sonnet s/n - 07194
Puigpunyent, Mallorca, Spain
Parque La Reserva Aventura
Predio Son Net s/n
Balearic Islands, Spain