After an emergency landing in Ibiza when her plane was struck by lightning, SLH’s Senior Content Editor Chloe Frost-Smith enjoyed some much needed relaxation in Mallorca at 13th century farmhouse Finca Serena – a back-to-nature Balearic bolthole which soothes the mind, body and soul.
Even if we had not gone through the journey from hell to get here, Finca Serena would have felt like heaven. Arriving nine hours later than planned, the sky was turning a dusky pink and strings of fairy lights twinkled against a bucolic backdrop of patchwork fields, old stone windmills, and olive groves.
From its hilltop position, this converted farmhouse commands sweeping views across the countryside, with the peak of Puig de Randa mountain looming in the distance – best enjoyed from the terrace in front of the hotel, where we put our feet up with welcome mojitos before finding our room.
‘Find’ is the key word here, because accommodation is discretely spread across several stone outhouses, hidden behind flowering pergolas and towering trees. Rooms are stripped back and minimalist yet feel effortless and comfortable, with breezy linens and wicker baskets softening the carbon black framing around the shuttered windows and French doors which open directly out onto private terraces. Ours was shaded by an olive tree and overlooked an orchard and the hotel’s vineyards – from which they are harvesting and making their own wine alongside other homegrown produce available to purchase at the on-site boutique.
The pace is wonderfully slow here. I had to consciously stop myself from striding across the main cobbled courtyard – Finca Serena guests saunter up stone steps and drift from one sun-soaked spot to another. This is not a place to see or be seen, this is a truly tucked away retreat where you can simply let the sights, scents and sounds of nature wash over you.
Interiors have been carefully curated and furniture sourced from flea markets by Pilar Garcia-Nieto, the Spanish interior designer who also happens to be the wife of Único Hotels owner Pau Guardans, in a Pinterest-worthy assortment of clean lines, neutral hues, earthy ceramics, and industrial touches creating what can only be described as a soul soothing atmosphere.
An oasis of calm flooded with natural light, jute rugs, rattan chairs, wooden milk maid stools, sink-into sofas, and oversized concrete vases filled with fragrant olive branches from the estate quite literally bring the outside in – it is a serene space by both name and nature.
In the morning, a generous buffet breakfast is beautifully presented on wooden chopping boards and spilling out from farm baskets in a moodily lit alcove with an ancient fireplace just off reception, with a spread of seasonal produce, fresh fruits including watermelon grown in the kitchen garden, home baked bread, and locally sourced meats and cheeses. As a nod to the hotel’s agricultural origins, Restaurant Jacaranda has a strong farm-to-table focus, serving simple, rustic recipes made with produce sourced from the surrounding land elevated to an unpretentious yet undeniably delicious standard on a daily changing menu. The farmer who once ran the 40-hectare estate still lives a stone’s throw from the main building – you can hear the distant sounds of his chickens clucking and the farm dog Tigre barking from the main pool.
If you fancy a dip in a different yet equally relaxed setting, the Único Spa is just an electric golf-buggy ride away down the hill. Housed in the former cow shed, you’ll find an extensive wellness menu of treatments using Natura Bissé products and complimentary yoga classes on selected days of the week. I have on good authority (from my mother) that the 90 minute relaxing massage is “heavenly.”
Should you manage to tear yourself away from the back-to-nature bliss of Finca Serena, the surrounding spartan countryside of unkempt farmlands and the sleepy rural town of Montuïri are within easy reach on the hotel’s e-bicycles. Meanwhile, the hillside town of Deià on the northwest coast of the island – the final resting place of English poet Robert Graves – is within an hour’s scenic drive, where a pretty pebbled cove sits at the bottom of a winding, single-track road from the honey-hued village. Originally a tiny fishing port, this idyllic cala is now home to a couple of laid-back chiringuitos where freshly caught seafood is grilled and served alongside simple rice dishes to a soundtrack of waves lapping the stony shore.
Venturing back inland to the bleached-blonde village of Valldemossa in the midst of the Tramuntana mountains, we sat down to a selection of seasonal tapas at Es Taller, a converted mechanical garage with a bohemian feel and its own eco garden where island figs, halloumi salads, and homemade Camaiot croquettes are dished up on brightly coloured ceramics made by local artisans.
Personally recommended to us by Christian, a charismatic young member of Finca Serena’s reservation team, the restaurant was perfectly in keeping with the hotel’s own sustainable food focus and easy-going atmosphere.
Born on Mallorca to French and German parents, polyglot Christian graduated in World Tourism & Business this week while organising our visit to and from Deià, securing one of two taxis operating in the area that day to take us wherever we wanted to go.
The entire Finca Serena team is brimming with local knowledge as many of the staff members were born and raised on Mallorca – from identifying island birds flitting above the alfresco breakfast tables (like the Mallorcan robin which has become the hotel’s motif) to telling you the names of the Mediterranean herbs sprinkled over the signature cocktails. A special thank you to Juan, Adrian, Christian, Gaspar, Roberto, Ivan, Alicia and all those who made our long-awaited trip abroad so memorable. We are already dreaming of our return to the arboreal grounds and whitewashed walls of this pastorally peaceful finca.
Words and photographs by Chloe Frost-Smith