Anonymous review by Dominique Afacan


The sign for Son Mas came as a welcome surprise to both of us. I had expected to get lost, having copied out only half of the instructions sent by the hotel before getting distracted.

It had been a while since I’d driven on the ‘wrong’ side of the road, so the 40-minute drive from Palma airport was slightly fraught with nervous commentary from Mr Smith, mostly a repetitive loop of ‘you’re too close to the barriers!’ This was followed by a desperate (and useless) leaning away from said barriers. My insistence on having the Spanish radio full blare and the windows down as we bombed along the motorway apparently didn’t help. To me, there’s nothing like a blast of hot air to mark the official start of the holiday.

The narrow road leading to the hotel quickly led us into rural Narnia. There were no more barriers, no other cars on the road – the island was suddenly quiet. I even agreed to switch the radio off and let Balearic birdsong take over. By the time we pulled up to the hotel 10 minutes later we’d stopped bickering and begun the obligatory ‘oohing’ and ‘aahing’. Deep into what we deemed ‘proper’ countryside, surrounded by fruit groves and rusty red farmland, it was time to relax.

The Son Mas hotel is actually an old family finca, but from the outside, with its watchtower and thick stone walls it looks more like a friendly mini castle. Inside, it’s all creams, whites, cappuccinos and dark woods; classy and confidently understated. I silently patted myself on my back for bringing an appropriate holiday wardrobe (endless kaftans, big hats).

We found lovely Inma in reception, hidden away in the watchtower, who gave us a quick tour of the grounds, (I now want my future house to have an olive press in the garden), then showed us to our room, one of only 16. Room nine is a long, airy length of clean, cream-walled luxury that I would happily swap our flat for. There's a sloping beamed ceiling that puts a lovely rustic lid on the soft and simple interiors including a four-poster bed, living area with big squishy sofa for languid lounging (of which I do lots) and a big bathroom, complete with enormous sunken tub and separate shower. A private terrace (partially covered for shady siestas) looks over gorgeous gardens and offers yet another lounging zone. I stepped outside. Somewhere in the distance I heard someone diving into the swimming pool. Beyond that, it was utterly silent.

Bags unpacked (there are pleasingly large wardrobes), new kaftan on, there was clearly no better time to start drinking. We headed down to the hotel’s restaurant, choosing to sit outside in the pretty courtyard complete with softly bubbling fountain. The size of the wine glasses smilingly delivered by our waitress suggested we weren’t going to achieve much for the rest of the day. And nor did we want to. You quickly realise that this is not a hotel for doers; it’s one for the lazy loungers, the burnt-out or the newly in love.

All three categories can be found by the vivid blue pool, the hotel’s pièce de résistance – a long, infinite slice of temptation located down a few sets of stone-cut steps among fig trees and overlooking mountains. Not bad. A shaded pergola runs along one side with more loungers in the sun for tan fans. I did 30 long lengths, dodging thirsty wasps at each edge, then slept off the wine next to Mr Smith under dappled sunlight. Heaven.

With no WiFi poolside, we couldn’t check the Wimbledon score, but we were now so relaxed that even the idea of heading back to the room (they all have WiFi) seemed obscenely taxing. This pool is not the sort you feel compelled to leave unless there’s a serious emergency. There’s even an honesty bar for rehydrating (or dehydrating). Oh, and if you’re here in winter, there’s an indoor pool, too. The hotel has got swimming covered, basically. A whole afternoon of reading lay ahead, uninterrupted by my usual shuffles between Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Over dinner, back in the restaurant – now lit with little lanterns suspended from the trees (evoking the wedding scene in Mamma Mia), we devoured stuffed peppers followed by steamed fish with vegetable tempura. The menu is small and very local, with lots of the ingredients sourced on site, but still, making a decision between two options was the most taxing part of our day, which tells you a lot about the hotel. I still wonder how the rabbit tasted.

Fellow guests told us that another night we must try a restaurant in Porto Cristo, the nearest town five minutes away on the eastern coast, but we never found the time or the inclination to leave Son Mas. Next time (and there will be one) I’ll drag myself away and explore the east coast’s many beaches too – Cala Anguila is apparently one of the best and is just a short drive away.

More red Rioja was swallowed, then Hierbas (that dangerous 52 per cent proof Balearic liqueur), so hangovers were definitely on the cards the next day, but miraculously they never arrived. With our clever blackout shutters all closed for us by the time we stumbled to bed, we both slept longer and better than ever before – waking up just in time for brekkie (try the ensaïmada pastries if you’re looking for instant weight gain) and without even a hint of headache.

We were winning at mini-breaking, basically. I felt so well rested that I even popped into the tiny gym and considered jumping on an exercise bike for a short minute. Most out of character. A massage seemed more bearable – and there is a little spa – but that delicious pool was waiting, and we didn’t like to be late.


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