How do you impress a family staying in a villa? “I’d send round a nanny and face painter to take care of the kids, a chef to cook up a storm, and a masseuse to work on the parents,” says Victoria Cooper-Evans of Balearic-based concierge service Deliciously Sorted. The Majorca branch can organise nights under the stars in a national park and private scuba diving lessons. “For families in Puerto Pollensa, I’d also recommend a trip to Formentor. The water is so calm and shallow — perfect for babies. We’d also arrange for an organic picnic lunch to be delivered, as well as a bunch of watersports.” Some requests, however, are just a little too bizarre. “We once had a client who requested a bearded pool boy to move furniture around in front of her with his shirt off while she sat by the pool.”
Turn a blind eye to the usual resort rubbish and you’ll discover fantastically fresh seafood, quality tapas and cracking local wine. And the best news? The Spanish love kids and will not only welcome them, but attend to them as if they were the bill payer. Start with a coffee at Cappuccino, the town’s prime people-watching spot — even at 7am. For breakfast, head to El Pozo for tostadas — tomatoes, olive oil and salt rubbed on toast. For lunch, escape the heat and wolf down artfully constructed pintxos at Norai Pintxos & Wine Bar (Paseo Saralegui, 6). Cocktails by the beach is the order of choice at Hotel Miramar, while the seafood paired with modern Mediterranean flair at Na Ruixa (Mendez Nunez, 3) is hard to beat.
From five-ish each evening, there’s a whirlwind of baby dinner, bath and bedtime. That’s the thing about a villa — the kids can be tucked up, while the parents can while away an evening on the terrace. My tip? Rather than cooking every night, order in from Al Fresco Deli (Calle Mendez Nunez, 10) with its Spanish-style dishes such as suckling pig and salt cod. Alternatively, make the most of having grandparents on tap and head out without the babies.
Where to stay: Villas Boquer
When you drive up to a villa as plush as this, you know you’re on to a good thing. Contemporary cool, this pad is set back from the town. You wouldn’t stumble across it unless you were staying in one of the neighbouring piles — this island, after all, was the fictional villian’s hideout featured in TV’s The Night Manager. Our neighbours are a couple of WAGs and their kids, who invite us over to help drink all their Veuve Clicquot.
When we aren’t drinking Champagne with our neighbours, we idle by the pool in the suntrap front garden, or on the upstairs terrace, where there’s more sunbeds, sofas and a dining table. It’s here we eat most nights with superb views of Puerto Pollensa, the sea and the mountains beyond. It’s a great spot for the babies to crawl around while we prepare meals in a kitchen full of gadgets. Elsewhere, the four bedrooms are all stark white walls and minimalist furnishings — a good thing with babies who usually grab anything and everything. Each room is paired with a swish bathroom — think geometric tiles and walk-in rain showers. With travel cots and highchairs for the babies, we are all set. For a family break in dapper surroundings, I really can’t fault it.
Who: Helen, Adam and Charlie (nine months). Cathy, Will, Mateo (10), Amelie (12 months), plus grandparents, Jane and Gordon.
Best for: Family escapes — the villa was baby-friendly and large enough to give each other space. It was easy to stay in the villa all day, but beach lovers will relish the calm waters within the bay.
How to do it: Villas Boquer is based in Puerto Pollensa, Boquer, Majorca. Rent the four-bedroom villa from £2,933 for seven nights.
Published in the 2017 issue of National Geographic Traveller Family (UK)