I’m not the kind of person who wants to be trapped in a hotel, however nice, for a whole week, on a sun-lounger whilst the kids play in the pool or sea. And equally, I’d probably prefer a trip to Beirut over staying in a resort consisting solely of high rise hotels with a smattering of phallic-souvenir shops and, at least Beirut does good flat breads.
But don’t get me wrong – I have done my time at such places. Despite my usual penchant for nice crockery plus all things beautifully cultural, I sometimes get a hankering for Cava in a plastic beaker and to people-watch the variety of homosapians a hotel pool can attract. It gives me great amusement to spectate the 7 year old boy with the whole bottle of Nivea, lathering up at 5pm as if preparing for an English Channel swim. I can’t get my kids to lotion up just the once! Or the Anglo-Caribbean couple that have made their own private ghetto in the corner – beat box blaring a reggae-rap to drown out the hotels Euro-pop, rum cocktails lined up & waiting. Or the lobster-like Essex hen-brigade : foundation slipping, neon bikini wearing, attention seeking 20-somethings all with their eye on the lifeguard. I love it!
But I also love markets too. And old towns, and coffees in squares, and walks to secret beaches, and drinks in the harbour, and hiring boats for the day, and taking photo’s of locals, and exploring old ruins.
So, after spending a fair amount of time over the years in Mallorca, and now that you know what I would consider the perfect holiday combination, I will endeavour to bring you a comprehensive guide of the best places to stay with families on this beautiful island. A break-down of areas and a list of recommended hotels and towns.
With Palma being one of the busiest airports in Europe you can well imagine how many resorts are on offer. Most Brits have heard of Magaluf, with probably Cala D’or and Alcudia a close 2nd and 3rd. But there are many more nicer spots, so where are the best beach hotels for families in Mallorca?
1. Puerto Pollensa.
A 50 minute drive to the top of the island drops you in my favourite area. The beach resort itself is low key and classy – a mixture of a residential town and low rise hotels and villas. There are a few expats living out their days in rented apartments and it’s easy to see why they chose this spot : some of the best beaches in Mallorca, no ugly high rise hotels, restaurants good enough for Mallorcans and the picturesque ‘pine walk’ : a row of colonial style homes right on the beach, lined with pine trees – the perfect evening stroll.
Where to stay :
Self Catering : if you get in early enough, a luxury villa on the Pine Walk would be the ultimate choice – straight onto your own little patch of beach with seaview balconies and nearby restaurants. Alternatively, Hoposa Apart-hotel is a couple of minutes walk from the beach and sleeps up to 4 people and is a perfectly compact and bijou apart-hotel. Great pool.
All inclusive :
Although not ‘Pollensa’ per se, Port Blue Club is classed as Alcudia but it’s actually situated on the bay of Pollensa. Lovely rooms and good food.
Things to do:
– Cap de Formentor – the most northerly point of the island with very dramatic scenery and excellent views. Climbing crags and the obligatory light house are two things which make it worth a visit but if you do go be sure to slip down to the exclusive resort of Hotel Formentor– a luxury hotel that has been serving the rich and famous for decades and is situated on one of the prettiest beaches of Mallorca.
– It’s a lovely 45 minute walk to Cala Sant Vicence, a village over the hill with a small beach and a lovely beach bar, and less people.
– Pollensa old town and Alcudia old town both make for a half-day excursion, full of history and cute squares and regular markets too.
2. Cala Mesquida
A 60 minute drive north-east drops you on a secluded rocky outcrop with only one beach and one hotel.
The main pro’s of this resort are the type of crowds it pulls. Well behaved families, mostly German, and middle class Brits. There are a handful of mini supermarkets and boutique style gift shops but the only place to eat out is the hotel. And you don’t have to be a guest there to make a booking.
The beach is of perfect proportions and super clean, a real wholesome spot where families snorkel together or hire pedallos or play volleyball. Incidentally, it’s possible to pedal quite far out in the space of the hours hire and it’s definitely worth taking your snorkels to see the shoals of fish in these deeper waters.
One downside of this beach is that its a climb down a hundred steps or so, they’re not steep though and they put no one off.
Where To Stay :
Self Catering : There are plenty of villas and apartments but this is a little sleepy beach town, not a resort so they get booked up rather quickly.
All Inclusive : Viva Cala Mesquida Hotelis the only hotel on this particular beach and it’s a spa hotel too. Fantastic views over the bay. Amazing food.
Things to do:
– Take walks to secluded beaches north of the resort.
– Enjoy Mesquida beach to the max – it’s not too crowded and there’s not a stag-do in sight.
– Arta is only 15 minutes away, a cute little town with an excellent market every Tuesday.
3. Es Camp De Mar
A 30 minute drive west from Palma, Camp de Mar is a tiny resort protected by high cliffs with the prettiest views, including that Pinterest-famous picture of the restaurant Illeta at the end of the pier where Claudia Schiffer has been spotted a few times.
There are several hotels but not too many that the beach is crowded. Children play and fish off the picturesque wooden pier and the beach is small – the perfect size to keep your eyes on the kids but give them a bit of freedom too, they can’t go far! As far as location goes this resort ticks a lot of boxes – predominantly families, sooo aesthetically pleasing (every good view deserves a wooden pier), enough amenities to cater for everything and near to several other lovely resorts, harbours and towns.
Where To Stay :
Self Catering : Again, lots of choice of villas and apartments covering many budgets. Eating out isn’t a problem here too as there are several restaurants of very high quality, including the famous Flor de Sal that serves you traditional tapas to the backdrop of some breath taking views.
All Inclusive : I can’t recommend Hotel Gran Camp de Mar (Orimarotel) highly enough. Predominantly German guests so you can expect great quality, both of the hotel and the food. You may have to put up with naked guys in the spa but it’s a small price to pay for a champagne breakfast and well behaved kids. Plus, Germans like to queue for their food too!
The hotel does family adjoining rooms too so your teenagers can get a bit of privacy and you don’t have to listen to them snoring at night.
Things To Do :
– Go people watching at the nearby harbour of Port D’Andraxt, those hills are owned by footballers and models aplenty so you may spot George Clooney in a kaftan.
– Take a walk across the hill to a secret beach Cala Don Monjo, it’s a steep-ish climb but only for 20 minutes and the reward is well worth it!
– Go snorkelling – the crystal clear waters are teaming with sea-life and you don’t have to swim that far out.
– Take a boat trip to Dragonera Island, a 20 minute ride to an old pirate hangout with Roman ruins and all sorts of birds to watch, so take your binoculars.
– If you’ve hired a car then this is the prefect location from which to take day trips to the west of the island – Banyalbufar, Valldemossa Deia and Soller for example. An area of stunning mountain villages and towns where more famous people lurk because, when you see it, why wouldn’t you buy a house there? It’s not an area I would recommend taking children to actually stay as there are no beaches as such, or if there are they’re at the bottom of a cliff face, and, hotels tend to be very exclusive and expensive but day trips are well worth it – there’s a reason it attracted Richard Branson.
4. Colonia Sant Jordi
This place came on my radar only the last time we visited Mallorca and as of yet we haven’t stayed here but it’s next on my list and I have been researching this area to the n’th degree. We drove there on our way back to Palma airport as it boasts the longest beach on the Island, Playa Es Trenc, (just over 2km long) and we wanted to see it! At one end is the sleepy little village of Sa Rapita and other than a few well designed beach bars and coffee stops it doesn’t look like much. More residential buildings with a handful of restaurants. However, at the other end of Playa Es Trenc is the resort of Colonia de Sant Jordi. Plenty of hotels and self-catering places to stay at but so far I’ve not found a hotel that is both lovely and family friendly. There are 2 hotels I would consider if we were just travelling as a couple but if we were taking the family I think I would opt for a villa or apartment.
So the reason I have included this resort on my list is for what it has to offer. Primarily the beaches. If they’re good enough for the Spanish Royal Family then they’re good enough for me! Es Carbo and Ses Roquets are two of the most secluded beaches on the island and you’d be forgiven for thinking you were in the Caribbean.
Things To Do :
– The local market is on a Wednesday
– Rent a kayak and explore the calm waters and all the nearby coves
-On Thursday evenings from 7pm – 11.30, the town holds their Ruta de Tapas where restaurants and bars offer tapas and a glass of beer or wine for €2.
– The waters in this area are very still which lends itself to a lot of snorkelling and no need to worry about the kids in the shallow waters, and as you can expect – the colours of the sea are stunning, clear turquoise.
– Visit the old town of Santanyi and the nearby Natural Park, Mondrego
– Take a boat trip to some of the nearby islands
– Take gentle walks around the peninsulas on easy to navigate rocks (not always a given in Mallorca)
So, there you have it, my four favourite spots to take the family, and plenty of options whatever your budget. Have you been? Do you know of any great hotels or resorts in Mallorca that would tick my long list of requirements for a perfectly classy, yet family oriented holiday? Do let me know, I’d love to hear. And if you’re wanting more travelling tips or just pure enthusiasm to inspire your next holiday, be sure to subscribe below.