DG29 - September 2015 * - Page 19

Text: Andrew Marshall Photos: Andrew Marshall (and where indicated) Ever since the 1950s when the first charter flights began to arrive in Mallorca, the largest of the Balearic Islands has continued to attract millions of visitors every year in search of its sunny climate, vibrant nightlife and some of the most beautiful stretches of sand in the Mediterranean. But there’s much more to the ‘Golden Isle’ than the beach scene. How about the historic capital of Palma, the picturesque mountain village of Deià, ancient castles, fantastic caves, the spectacular Serra de Tramuntana mountain range and a rich local gastronomy. In addition, the good news for golfers is that for its size, Mallorca is well supplied with over twenty quality courses and several are within chipping distance of Palma. The first port of call for our spring golf break, teeing it up at Son Muntaner, Alcanada and Son Gual, is the Castillo Hotel Son Vida, an oasis of luxury nestled in the heart of the exclusive villa district of Son Vida, about a 20-minute drive from the airport. Situated high above the Bay of Palma, this gorgeous 13th-century castle hotel exudes a rich Spanish grandeur with its historical architecture, exquisite antiques and collection of valuable paintings. Since opening in 1961, the hotel has attracted a long list of famous guests including the Spanish Royal Family and film stars like Brigitte Bardot, David Niven and Steve McQueen. Surrounded by fragrant lush gardens, the view from the hotel’s extensive terrace reaches far over Palma. Distant houses spill down verdant hillsides towards a bustling harbour presided over by the imposing 14th-century Gothic