It’s best not to stay at La Residencia in Majorca as the experience will ruin a lot of perfectly good hotels in the future. I was invited to stay at La Residencia during my holiday to the Spanish island for the bank holiday weekend and as soon as I laid eyes on the sandstone buildings that make up the hotel I realised it was going to be hard to go back to life as I knew it before La Residencia. The hotel is set in an old olive grove on the edge of the tiny hill side town of Deia. Surrounded by towering cliffs and looking out through a valley that leads to the ocean it has the most captivating view that we found in Majorca.
View of Deia from the front terrace of La Residencia
The hotel blended in effortlessly with the town as most of its 64 rooms are set in restored buildings dating back from the 16th and 17th century. MTV boyfriend and I stayed in room 20 which featured well worn terracotta flagged floors, antique furniture and contemporary art which all gave a real sense of the history of the hotel and the local area. La Residencia is part of the Orient Express group so while it very much has its own distinctive character, every luxury is also on hand. Our room sported a stylish marble bathroom kitted out with Ren toiletries, a flat screen tv, dvd player, wifi, fridge filled with complimentary bottled water and fresh fruit and flowers every day.
Bedroom of our room
The hotel is quite sprawling with extensive gardens and the original 30 acre olive grove which surrounds the hotel still in operation. This space meant it never felt crowded at one of the three swimming pools, three restaurants or two tennis courts. Of the hotel restaurants, El Olivio is the pick of the bunch set in a 16th century stone building with the aged stone olive press dominating the centre of the dining room. At night time the room is transformed with flickering candles and heavy linen clad tables.
Lobster and orange pasta at El Olivo
Chef Guillermo Méndez uses international techniques and ingredients alongside local produce including some from the hotel’s own organic garden. The bread and olive oil tasting at the start of our meal was a real highlight featuring La Residencia’s own slightly tangy and fruity olive oil. There is an a la carte menu but MTV boyfriend and I opted for the degustation menu of five courses for €93. There was also an option for matched wines for an additional €62 but fearing we would be dancing on top of the olive press by the end of five glasses we instead asked the sommelier to provide us with a glass of local white and red wine and a dessert wine to end the meal. We were really impressed with the Majorcan wines which are produced in such small quantities that they are hard to track down easily in the UK.
Basil crusted lamb at El Olivo
Majorcan ingredients featured throughout the meal including tender local lamb from the Serra de Tramuntana mountains which starred in a dish of basil crusted lamb. The lamb was perfectly cooked to an almost blush pink and teamed with creamy polenta. The menu also included local oranges in the pasta course. The pasta was made using poppy seeds and had a creamy, sweet sauce then topped with segments of fresh orange and pieces of juicy, fresh lobster. This sweet but savoury pasta course was very inventive and unusual but it worked.
Foie gras and chocolate at El Olivo
Another unusual combination of sweet and savoury was not as successful. A thick slice of foie gras was presented on an almond base and topped with a layer of dark chocolate. Looking for all the world like a cake it was beautifully presented but the sweet chocolate was simply too much on top of the rich foie gras and it felt like an ending to the meal rather than a second course. The actual finale to the meal was an apple creme brulee which needed a thicker caramel crust but otherwise impressed with the interplay of apple and berry flavours alongside the custard.
Throughout the meal service redefined the meaning of perfection. From the waiter who greeted us at the door of La Residencia’s Son Moragues restaurant and then led us to El Olivio and all the way to our table to our waiter for the night who constantly made sure our water was topped up and that we didn’t want for anything.
Part of the breakfast menu at La Residencia
The level of service continued throughout our stay at La Residencia from breakfast by the pool where tea and coffee was served from sterling silver pots and eggs were cooked to order to the turn down room service at night time during which chocolates and night cream were left on our bed. When we decided to walk to the nearby town of Soller we were given a map, detailed written instructions and even the bus time table so we could make our own way back.
View from breakfast over one of the swimming pools
Louise Davis, a spokesperson for La Residencia, told me that a large number of their guest were returning guests who came back year after year. I wasn’t surprised. La Residencia had clearly spoilt other hotels for them.
Details: La Residencia, Son Canals s/n, 07179 Deià, Majorca, Spain (Ph +34 971 63 9011)
Damage: Budget Breaking. Rooms start at €461 a night, however on this occasion I did not pay.
Gourmet Travel Tips
- We flew with Easyjet from London to Palma. Our flights were around £150 return although would be much cheaper at less busy times of year.
- La Residencia is around 40 mins drive from Palma. We hired a car (through Gold Cars) but a taxi service is available.
- Things to do include lazing by the pool, exploring the tapas bars and restaurants of Deià and walks to neighbouring villages. We tackled the two hour walk to Soller which wound its way through stunning coastal scenery and then caught the bus back to Deià after lunch in the main square.
Gourmet Chick was a guest of La Residencia.