With the Balearic Islands on the UK's green list, we look at what's new and what's hot this summer in Menorca, Mallorca, Ibiza and Formentera
The Balearics have barely stopped since their hippie heyday, but this summer the Spanish archipelago has transcended its own appeal with a slew of new openings and cleverly remixed classics. From bijou ceramic studios to transformative retreats, these are the spots to earmark, since all four islands have, rather conveniently, just been granted green list status.
Near enough every corner is Instagram fodder at Cristine Bedfor - an obscenely good-looking guest house concealed amid a series of cafés, bookshops and galleries in Mahon’s historic quarter. Striped pouffes sit next to pleasingly tatty wood and cane armchairs, cheery Manises ceramics sit atop decorative brackets painted cornflower-blue, and neat rows of sketches hang beside huge lacquered cabinets. Right around the corner, on the green-shuttered Carrer de Sant Jordi, ceramicist Blanca Madruga sculpts simple, one-of-a-kind planters and jugs in her light-filled studio, and down on the waterfront, just-opened Arlette turns out plates of tangy steak tartare alongside a wine list that's heavy on low-intervention labels. The launch that’s really set pulses racing though is Hauser & Wirth’s new art space - an all-singing, all-dancing creative hub, spread across a decommissioned naval hospital smack-bang in the middle of the harbour. Further north, Bambu is the spot for sundowners overlooking the Mediterranean, and if you find yourself in need of a skin reset, zip along the coast to Menorca Experimental’s small but brilliant spa, where glow-giving Biologique Recherche facials have just landed.
Rooms at Cristine Bedfor begin at €133 (approx. £114); visit cristinebedforhotel.com
Having just unbolted its doors for the season, nightclub Cova Santa is on a roll, with techno messiah Ricardo Villalobos set to unleash his signature sound next week, and funk in the offing from Purple Disco Machine. Equally enticing, though decidedly more mellow, is the mood at Jondal - a sceney spot on the island’s pebbly south west shore, where linen-clad waiters pour pet nat beside sharing plates of carpaccio de gamba. Artfully-lit Laylah, the latest in a string of launches from Olivia Fleury (of El Chiringuito fame), is well worth snagging a table at too. As far as good-for-the-soul stays are concerned, the White Isle knows what’s what, though Six Senses Ibiza which opens this month, raises the bar and then some. The views alone are enough to send spirits soaring, therapies in the cocoon-like spa veer from the science-led to the soporific, and the showstopper of a pool cries out for after dark dips. Oh, and its eco credentials are impressive, too. Elsewhere, Atzaró’s alfresco film screenings – every Thursday in the bougainvillaea-draped gardens – are an excellent bet when drinking and dancing feels too much like hard work.
Rooms at Six Senses Ibiza begin at €1,080 (approx. £920); visit sixsenses.com
There’s a slow but steady shake up under way in the evergreen Serra de Tramuntana. Sóller Tennis Club has been given a new lease of life, care of the clued up folk behind Patiki Beach, Deià’s beloved NAMA has just flung open the doors of it’s long-awaited Gastro Bar, and Katja and Kate from Dos Alquemistas are tapping into the landscape’s natural apothecary with their herb-infused line up of olive leaf tea blends, which can be sipped on RE Organic’s patio. Not far from the island’s north eastern edge, Es Racó d’Artà’s immersive new-generation retreats catapult frazzled city-dwellers into a more positive state of mind. Meanwhile, the equestrian aces at Naturacavall are levelling things up with no holds barred itineraries that lead riders through the wilds to gallop amid olive groves at full pelt, and sleep beneath the stars in hammocks. As for new stays, there’s a tonne of ineffably smart villas from The Thinking Traveller, plus Can Ferrereta, the sister hotel to Palma’s cool, clean-lined Sant Francesc; a swish jumping off point for days spent hopping between Santanyí’s gin-clear coves.
Rooms at Can Ferrereta begin at €315 (approx. £270); visit hotelcanferrereta.com
This diminutive isle’s calling card has always been its languid, lo-fi air. Though the mood of it is still largely unassuming, there’s a couple of noteworthy happenings if you pull back the curtain. Casa Pacha – the new island hideout from music mainstays Pete Tong and Nick McCabe – is luring a flock of highbrow hedonists to Playa de Migjorn’s white shores, and master yogi Yiannis Mukta Om’s sought-after Hatha Raja sessions - down on the breezy deck at Gecko Hotel & Beach Club - have finally opened up to non-residents, soundtracked by the rolling surf.
Rooms at Casa Pacha begin at €400 (approx. £343); visit casapacha.com