Want to holiday somewhere with guaranteed summer sunshine, thatís within easy reach of the UK and wonít break the bank? Then head to the enchanting Mediterranean island of Mallorca.
The Balearic isle offers a variety of holiday options such as Albufeira and Magaluf for party animals, Pollensa and Alcudia for families, Deia for hilltop charm and the capital Palma for sophisticated urban chic.
Located on the island’s southern shores, cosmopolitan Palma offers plenty of choice in terms of shops, restaurants, culture and entertainment…
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When should I go?
Mallorca is fiesta mad. One of the largest is in celebration of Sant Joan and ties in with the summer solstice in June.
The biggest party – called the Nit de Foc (Night of Fire) – takes place on the eve of the fiesta, where visitors can witness huge bonfires throughout Palma.
Watch out for the crazy fire run, where locals dress as devils and run through the streets bearing torches.
Everyone then gathers in the Parc de la Mer for concerts, more bonfires and an impressive fireworks display.
Where can I stay?
If your idea of a perfect long weekend is staying in a hip hotel with a spot of culture and shopping on the side, then base yourself at the Barceló Illetas Albatros.
The four-star contemporary hotel, which has recently undergone a complete makeover, is located in the lovely coastal village of Illetas, just 4km west of Palma.
The cliffside seafront hotel, with wonderful views of the Bay of Palma, is the perfect spot for peace and tranquillity as it’s adults-only.
The 128-room hotel offers two pools, open-air hot tub and a private rocky sandy cove.
OK! stayed in a deluxe sea-view room where we loved luxuriating in our hot tub on the terrace soaking in the sea views.For those staying on half-board basis there’s a nightly buffet at Mediterráneo, while OK! savoured the culinary delights at Lounge Blue.
Sitting on the sea-view terrace, we enjoyed courgette rolls served with pickled quails eggs and a prawn and mango risotto.
Leave room for pudding – we loved our warm chocolate brownies and wild fruits. After dinner we headed up to the Lounge Bar, the hotel’s roof top bar, to sip cocktails and listen to chill out tunes.
JLS hunk Marvin Humes and his new wife Rochelle Wiseman enjoyed a pre-wedding holiday in Mallorca in early July.
Actress Halle Berry stayed in a villa on the island last year with daughter Nahla and boyfriend Olivier Martinez while she filmed Cloud Atlas.
Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones own a cliffside mansion, S’Estaca, near Valldemossa, while the Kaiser Chiefs, Kasabian, Ed Sheeran and Tinie Tempah are just a few of the headline acts at this year’s annual Mallorca Rocks concert in Magaluf.
Barceló Illetas Albatros’s Thalasso Spa & Wellness Centre is a soothing retreat – all cream and pale stone – with an indoor salt water pool, hot tub and relaxation room with lovely sea views.
Many of the treatments use local ingredients such as salt, eucalyptus, almond oil, lavender and olive oil. OK!’s worries simply melted away after having the two-hour Rose Petal Bliss Massage Ritual For Couples.
Afterwards we were left on a bed of petals to let the rose oil soak into our skin. Then we enjoyed lavender teaand nibbled on crystallised rose petals in the relaxation room. Bliss!
What sights must I see?
The maze of narrow cobbled streets and alleyways behind the city’s commanding waterfront landmarks – the Gothic La Seu Cathedral and the imposing Almudaina Palace – are steeped in history.
You’ll find plenty of tapas bars and traditional stores tucked away in these atmospheric streets bounded by the Old City walls. If you want to see the island’s mountainous interior and the rugged coastline, hop aboard the Sóller Railway for the 17-mile scenic journey that connects Palma to the seaside resort of Sóller.
Stop here to enjoy a leisurely lunch at one of the harbourfront restaurants.Other key tourist attractions are the hilltop Bellver Castle and the Museu d’Art Espanyol Contemporani, home to works by Picasso and Salvador Dali.
Where can I shop?
If you like Spanish labels you’ll be spoiled for choice. You’ll find Loewe, Zara, Mango, Camper and all the top designers along the city’s two smartest shopping streets – Avinguda Jaume 111 and Passeig des Born. Placa Major offers more specialist fashion and jewellery stores. Mall addicts should head to Porto Pi, only ten minutes from the city, where you’ll find Calvin Klein, Massimo Dutti and Zara.
Where can I eat?
Rest your weary legs while out shopping with lunch at Born 8, a stylish modern café decorated with black and white photographs of Palma.
The charming tapas bar Bódega Gaudeix on Calle Can Sales is also a good place to refuel. For designer tapas, kebabs and cocktails, hang out with the cool crowd at one of the two Tast clubs.
For traditional tapas try La Taberna De La Boveda, near the waterfront. OK! loved the jamon Iberico, grilled squid and garlic prawns.
Get there early to nab an outside table. Seafood restaurant Casa Fernando is near the beach promenade of Ciudad Jardin.
You can even choose your fish from an amazing array displayed on ice.Those who want to see and be seen head to Puerto Portals, the marina on the outskirts of Palma.
Here you’ll find Michelin-starred chef Gerhard Schwaiger’s glitzy restaurants – Tristán Mar and Tristán Bistro – and a cool open-air lounge bar overlooking the marina.
Paris Hilton, Jim Carrey and Jenson Button have all been spotted there, while Brad Pitt has been spied at the Moorish Karma bar.
Where can I party?
Mallorca now has an outpost of the world-famous Nikki Beach Club (www.nikkibeach.com), so if you want to sip champagne, sunbathe on an oversized daybed and dance around the pool in a bikini, this is the place for you.
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Before OK! attended the club’s grand opening White Party, we enjoyed a long leisurely lunch – our Sexy Salad comprised an indulgent seafood combo of lobster, prawns and crabmeat with spicy mayonnaise – at the beach club.
Then, after glamming up in our all-white outfits, we attended the lavish season-opening party, where we spied Ollie Locke and Cheska Hull from Made In Chelsea.
For a more intimate evening, listen to Latin rhythms and classical jazz bands at Blue Jazz Club (www.bluejazz.es).
How do I get there?
Rates at Barceló Illetas Albatros (00800 4227 2356; www.barcelo.com) start from £115 per night, including breakfast, based on two sharing.
Monarch (www.monarch.co.uk) operates year-round flights to Mallorca from Gatwick and Manchester and flights during the summer from Birmingham and Luton. Fares, including taxes, starting from £59.50 return.