It's the second part of our two tier trip to Majorca and we are taking a wee trip to the Tramuntana Mountains, for a three night stay at the Gran Son Net Hotel.
The drive from Palma to Gran Son took approx thirty minutes. We arrived in the small village of Puigpunyent from where we spied the very distinctive pink exterior of this Five Star Mallorcan Finca. The driver took the winding road that leads to the top of the hill to the hotel, which is located in a hidden valley surrounded by the majestic Sierra Tramuntana Mountains, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.The entrance to the hotel is very grand; it's all high ceilings and towering doorways.
We were greeted by the vivacious Eduardo who whisked our luggage off, and directed us to the bar for a welcome drink. It's hard to believe that this was once someone's home, the place is enormous, far too big for one man and his family! You could fit an entire village in here.
The bar is very reminiscent of some of the traditional private member bars you find in New York. We were offered the Hotel's very own label bubbly, Son Net, which went down a treat, whilst the children enjoyed hot chocolate, and we were entertained by Ignacio (the bartender) who kept the children very amused.
Once we had finished our drinks we went back to reception in search of Eduardo, we were greeted with the very good news that we had been upgraded to the Presidential Suite. Again the joys of visiting during off peak, has its benefits.
Eduardo took us upstairs to the first floor. The grandeur of the suite is noticeable in the impressive entry way, the wood carvings on the ceiling and the medieval weaponry displayed inside the room. He showed us into a very spacious sitting room, which led onto the grand bedroom, in which there was not one but two queen sized four poster beds. This meant there would be no arguing over who got to sleep where!
The main bedroom led off to the bathroom, which included a Jacuzzi and a shower in which you could probably fit about fifteen people! Out to the balcony and the most stunning views of the hotel's sprawling gardens, the medieval village of Puigpunyent and the little church which also belongs to the Hotel and of course the magnificent Tramuntana Mountains.
Ten minutes later and there was a knock at the door, Eduardo showed up with a complimentary bottle of bubbly for us to enjoy at our leisure and some fruit for the children. We were beginning to like Eduardo more and more by the minute!
Gran Son Net is owned by the successful American resort developer David Stein. He originally purchased the property when it was a virtual ruin and spent six years restoring the buildings, gardens, orchards and olive groves. As the family grew, it was decided that the beauty of Son Net and its private collection that includes works of Hockney, Stella, Cristo, Longo, Estes and Chagall, should be shared with more than just family and friends. They decided to convert their home into a hotel. They began trading in 1998. Since then they have won many prestigious awards, and Royal Family members and heads of State have come to visit. As have the icons from the world of literature, music, fashion and sport. But Eduardo is far too discreet to name drop, and this is what attracts these people with high profiles, the discretion and exclusivity of the place. Although we did discover as it is common knowledge, that when the King of Spain was a guest at the hotel he had stayed in the Presidential suite. With this knowledge we turned in, and had a great night's sleep.
Breakfast at the hotel is served in the lovely restaurant, Oleum. There is a standard cold buffet of hams, cheeses etc, and there is a good variety of cereals (but be warned if you don't get down early enough the cereals tend to finish). There is also a selection of excellent breads which are baked on the premises, and they are lovely and warm, fresh out of the oven. If you prefer a cooked breakfast you can order it from the menu.
After breakfast we took a taxi to the Riding Academy, to allow the children to engage in some horse riding. The Academy is managed by Heike Rigbers. The horses were beautiful; the stables house many thoroughbreds. Heike is a fabulous instructor. This wasn't their first time riding, but they can still be termed as beginners. Heike was incredibly patient, and chose a very gentle horse for the children to take turns riding. Karam and Jeevan voted this the best part of their holiday so far.
Taxi back to Puigpunyent and we stopped off at the village for a long leisurely lunch. Back to the hotel, and we spent the rest of the day chilling on the balcony enjoying the stunning views of the Mountains. It wasn't quite sunbathing or swimming weather, so unfortunately we weren't able to sample the fabulous outdoor pool.
In the evening we opted to have dinner in the hotel. It wasn't too busy, given that it was off peak, and we more or less had the run of the place, which was great because it meant that the staff were very attentive.
The Oleum Restaurant is stylish and intimate. It features a centrepiece period olive oil press that dates back to the 17th century; it's not in complete working order but can still be used. And that's where the name Oleum comes from it is Latin for olive oil - considered to be the liquid gold of the Mediterranean.
The restaurant serves traditional Mallorcan fare, and there is absolutely nothing pretentious about it. Great food, in healthy portions, which was a relief as J.snr abhors cuisine which amounts to two lettuce leaves with a singular lone prawn as the centrepiece. The Chef Sergio Olmedo's menu has a great selection of innovative Mallorcan dishes cooked using modern techniques and locally sourced seasonal vegetables. Dishes range from courgettes stuffed with shellfish; warm salad; lamb fillet with walnut to beef entrecote with truffle risotto.
The beauty of Gran Son Net for us, was that the staff took great care of us, and really made us feel at home, especially the children, they made a great effort with them. The suites are all very spacious and beautifully laid out, we had a wee nosy around the ones that were unoccupied, despite being in the Presidential suite, we found ourselves having room envy!
Because we visited in December we were unable to make use of the fabulous pools, or to sit in the famous cabanas. Which means we will just have to revisit in the summer! The biggest bonus of visiting off season is that you get great rates, and the hotel isn't overpopulated, which means you get a lot more privacy and the staff have more time to pay greater attention to your needs. Our only complaint which was so minor we didn't even mention it was that the lighting in the bedroom is minimum and quite poor. Other than that we couldn't find a single, solitary fault.
We stayed at the hotel for three nights. And an excellent way to spend an afternoon is with a hot chocolate chilling in front of the Grand Fireplace, located next to the bar. Gran Son Net is fabulous for an escape from all the pressures and stress of modern day life.
All too soon it was time for us to leave. Palma Airport is approx thirty minutes from the Hotel and a taxi costs around 45€.
Top tip: Make sure you have a good nosy round the hotel, as the works of art on display are quite exquisite.
Low Season: 205€ B & B, based on two people sharing
Net Easter Package: 22/3/13 to 8/4/13 B & B based on two people sharing 235€
Gran Son Net Exterior
The Bedroom in the Presidential Suite
The Stunning views from the hotel