Mediterranean Wonders

A Majorcan Insider Traverses The Island To Reveal The Centuries-Old Destination
Carlos Bofill, rooms division manager at Gran Meliá de Mar.
Carlos Bofill
Rooms Division Manager, Gran Meliá de Mar

What does it take to be a successful rooms division manager at the Gran Meliá de Mar hotel on the southwest coast of Majorca? Carlos Bofill, who has lived most of his life on the largest of the Balearic Islands, may know better than anyone. In addition to keen knowledge of the destination, it centers around attention to guests, many who return yearly, anticipating their needs, and exceptional service, the hallmark of a true luxury property.

Carlos, born in Barcelona, began his career in Majorca, completing his studies in hospitality and gaining experience at Meliá hotels. As the company’s first five-star hotel, the Gran Meliá de Mar represents a singular property both for the Meliá Group and Majorca. Carlos knows it intimately, as part of a team overseeing its renovation and transformation.

Gran Melia De Mar

Set on a secluded bay, along some of the most tranquil waters in the Mediterranean, the hotel attracts loyal guests, leading figures from the worlds of the arts, entertainment, science and medicine, business, entrepreneurs and aristocracy. They appreciate the privacy afforded by its particular seaside location, and a landscape of pine trees and emerald-green lawns. Within a property of 142 rooms and suites, each with its own balcony, the Gran Meliá de Mar also has Red Level service, a veritable hotel within a hotel, including a private lounge, where no guest request is considered too great.

Local Recommendations

Explore Majorca With Rooms Manager, Carlos Bofill

Majorca is steeped in history, culture, and tradition, and possesses exceptional natural beauty. As a longtime resident, Carlos enjoys the island year-round, its white sand beaches, meals at seaside restaurants, sailing its coasts, and sunsets at Sa Foradada on the northern coast. Carlos shares the guide to his beloved island—filled with places and experiences sure to leave indelible impressions.

Ancient Discoveries

Touring Palma’s Old Town

Majorca’s long history extends to a Phoenician settlement and Roman occupation. Today, Palma, a lively, modern, capital city, preserves its striking old town, or casco antiguo, a labyrinth of narrow streets and remnant of its Moorish past, including Arab baths, and old manor houses with lush garden courtyards. Here, also is the majestic Cathedral, known as La Seu (Plaza Almoina; +34-902-022-445), adjacent to the Royal Palace of the Almudaina (Carrer del Palau Reial; +34-971-21-41-34), the official summer residence of the Spanish monarchs. It incorporates the site of an Arabian fortress, rebuilt as a castle in the 14th century by Jaime II. Nearby is the magnificent gothic cloister, with citrus and palm trees, of the 13th-century Basilica de Sant Francesc (7 Plaça de Sant Francesc; +34-971-712-695).

Spanish Treasure

Picasso And Plensa In Unexpected Places

Es Baluard (10 Plaça de la Porta de Santa Catalina; +34-971-90-82-00), a museum of modern and contemporary art, strikingly set within the Renaissance walls of a bastion, has a collection that includes Joan Miró, Picasso, Antoni Tàpies, Jaume Plensa, as well as the Majorcan artist Miquel Barceló, and Rebecca Horn. Its watchtower has sweeping views of the Bay of Palma. Visiting the Juan March Foundation Museum (11 Sant Miquel; +34-971-71-35-15) is akin to entering a 17th-century residence, albeit one filled with superb 20th-century Spanish art, including works by Juan Gris and Salvador Dalí, and an extensive group of prints by Picasso.

Food Run

Island-Wide Culinary Bounty

For an introduction to the flavors and traditions of Majorcan gastronomy, with contemporary flair, one should begin with Arrels Restaurant by Marga Coll at Gran Meliá de Mar. Also at the hotel, few experiences may be as romantic—or memorable—as a private dinner overlooking the sea. Elsewhere in Majorca, Zaranda renowned for the innovative cuisine of chef Fernando P. Arellano (Castell Son Claret, Km. 1.7 Carretera Capdella; +34-680-60-25-80) is set in a castle dating back to the 15th-century, amid the foothills of the Tramuntana range. Less formal places in Palma are Es Forn de Sant Joan (4 Carrer de Sant Joan; +34-971-728-422) known for its tapas and lively bar as well as its enticing dining rooms. The recently opened Vandal (15 Plaça del Progrés; +34-871-045-174), offers a menu reflecting the flavors Asia, South and North America, as well as Spanish influences. For seafood, Ola de Mar (1 Carrer Vicario Joaquín Fuster, Portixol; +34-971-274-275) along the coast or Peix Vermell (1 Carrer Montenegro; +34-971-079-374) in the casco antiguo serve some of the best dishes in town. Lastly one cannot leave Majorca without indulging in ensaimadas, the traditional Majorcan pastry, or a tasty gató, a typical almond cake, accompanied by almond ice cream at Ca’n Joan de S’aigo (10 Carrer Can Sanc; +34-971-710-759).

Natural Escapes

Peaks And Valleys In the Tramuntana

Pack a lunch for a walk or hike along one of the three routes of the Serra de Tramuntana mountain range, a UNESCO World Heritage site. There are spectacular vistas at every turn from lookouts along a landscape defined by paths, terraces, stone walls, and watchtowers. Villages such as Valldemossa and Deià reward introspection—the former, the site of Cartoixa de Valldemossa (La Cartoixa, Plaça de la Cartoixa; +34-971-612-106; where composer, Frédéric Chopin, accompanied by the writer, George Sand and her children stayed in 1838. In Deià you’ll find La Casa de Robert Graves (Carretera Deià a Sóller, Deià; +34-971-63-61-85), the former home of the eponymous British writer. High among the mountains lies the atmospheric Lluc Sanctuary (1 Plaça dels Peregrins, Escorca; +34-971-871-525), a medieval monastery and pilgrimage site, considered the spiritual center of Tramuntana.

By Sea Or By Land

Touring The Coast And Its Roads

Each summer, the Copa del Rey takes place in the waters near the Gran Meliá, starting from the Real Club Náutico de Palma (Muelle de San Pere). The regatta of racing vessels from throughout the Mediterranean attracts 140 teams from nearly 25 countries. King Felipe VI, an avid sailor and a member of Spain’s 1992 Olympic team, and members of the Spanish royal family are among those cheering on fast-paced sailing. In September, the Mallorca Classic Week features a cavalcade of automobiles, from cabriolets to sports cars. Participants begin at Port Adriano, about 20 minutes from the hotel, and drive throughout the streets and coastal roads of the island, displaying vehicles ranging from a Rolls Royce Phantom II, 1950 Mercedes Benz Cabriolet, and 1968 Jaguar, to a Corvette Stingray, to the delight of visitors and residents alike.

Copa del Rey