Hotel Petit Mao

Mahón, Menorca, Spain Book from

A cool townhouse hotel with a pretty walled garden and small pool
We arrived late at night, enjoyed a warm welcome, took a stroll around Maó, then placed ourselves poolside, relaxing into the deckchairs with a bottle of white from the Smeg fridge honesty bar. Rainbow fairy lights trailed across the grass, a rusty treelike sculpture cast shadows over the terrace and the quiet night sky was lit only by a church tower beyond the rooftops. This is the quiet luxury of Petit Maó; a happy balance between being taken care of and independence. Host Nina is on-site daily but lives around the corner, so as dusk falls you’re left to make use of the pretty garden and relaxing lounge areas in utter peace. We loved the sense of freedom.

Just a 5-minute walk from the vibrant tapas bars and 18th-century architecture of Menorca’s capital, this townhouse discreetly conceals 6 airy and individual bedrooms (5 in the main house, 1 in the garden). A new curiosity waits around every turn - a vintage globe, reclaimed chairs, Formica tables, rustic original doors - and striking industrial lighting cascades down through the lofty stairwell. This is the coolest Menorcan home-from-home you could wish for - and it’s great value, too.


  • Every room combines original features with cool design pieces. First-floor rooms have towering sash windows, top floor rooms have beautiful beamed ceilings
  • Free from the formality of a traditional hotel: Nina’s around when you need her but there's no reception or hovering staff
  • A great base for the whole island, and can be combined with sister property, Hotel Ses Sucreres, in sleepy Ferreries
  • Electric bikes to hire, great fun for exploring (though you’ll need to drive to beaches)
  • Simple yet tasty breakfasts, and close to tapas bars and fancier restaurants for other meals


  • Due to the use of original doors and windows, sound-proofing can be an issue
  • Second-floor rooms lack the high ceilings of other floors
  • The Double Room has an open-plan bathroom, which won’t suit everyone
  • No TVs or twin beds

Best time to go

Menora is at its best during spring and early autumn, when their weather is fine but the summer crowds are absent. July and August can be extremely busy, although you do get balmier temperatures. Winter is quiet as airlines dramatically reduce the number of flights to this small island.

Our top tips

Drive down to stunning Cova d'en Xoroi one evening to catch the sunset from the cliffside bar, then drive a couple of minutes inland for dinner at Hotel Torralbenc's fabulous restaurant. (Book ahead and request an alfresco table.)

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 6
  • Breakfast only (walk to restaurants)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
  • Bicycles Available


A simple yet funky look transcends the 6 rooms: all-white walls, original tile floors and rustic wood doors, accented by apple-green rugs, hot-pink armchairs and reclaimed glass jars. Refreshingly, there's total freedom from technology - unless you’re in a suite, in which case you get iPod speakers.

The 3 street-facing Suites have grand proportions; we loved our first-floor version, with original wardrobes, huge sash windows (with shutters) and twin basins. The top-floor suite has a generous welcome hall and skylights which pour light through the beamed ceiling (though no views). The first-floor Family Suite overlooks the garden; along with the kingsize bedroom, there’s a second, narrower room where 2 single beds can be added (it's also the only room with a bathtub and shower). Budget-conscious visitors will love the smaller rooms. There’s a characterful second-floor Double Room with an open-plan bathroom and pool views, and a more modern Basic Room tucked at the end of the walled garden, with its own little terrace.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Central heating
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Honesty bar
  • Mosquito net
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet


In the morning, breakfast awaits on the shady garden terrace (or indoors during the cooler months). Like the décor, it’s simple yet endearing and authentic. Coffee, teas, juices, Menorca jams (fig, orange or melon and pumpkin!), fruit, pastries - we loved the chocolate-dipped croissants - and Menorca’s favourite savoury options: bread with fresh mashed tomato and sea salt, local cheese and sobrasada cured meat. You can also order fresh orange juice and eggs for a small additional charge.

For other meals, Mao has a wealth of restaurants, including buzzing tapas bars, family-friendly eateries or something more upmarket. Nina is a mine of local information.

Tea and coffee are available all day in the ground-floor lounge, as is the honesty fridge, where you can get pizzas to heat up yourself and delicious Menorcan wines (we enjoyed our award-winning and reasonably priced Binitord Blanc 2013, near Ciutadella).

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Restaurants nearby


  • Borrow Petit Maó’s electric bikes (daily charge) to explore town and the harbour, or fold the bikes up and drive to Menorca’s picturesque coastal track (also popular with walkers and horse riders)
  • Tour Maó’s architectural assets, from the magnificent Santa Maria church and the Carmelite Convent and Church, to the buzzing Mercado de Pescadoes and bustling harbour
  • Drive 20 minutes to Menorca’s pretty south-coast beaches - often hidden behind fragrant woodlands, the small coves offer powder-white sand and sheltered turquoise waters. Families will like Cala Binibequer, which has sunloungers and a snack bar, while purists may prefer the natural beauty of tiny Cala Binidali
  • Ciuatadella’s charming old town (tapas bars, gelato cafes and ancient architecture), and glossy port are not to be missed; a 45-min drive from Mao
  • Visit a vineyard: Binitord Estate (featured in the honesty bar) is recommended, or try Hort Sant Patrici, where there’s also cheese production and a modern sculpture garden

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse-riding
  • Mountain biking
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Wine tasting


Petit Maó's independent atmosphere would suit a relaxed family looking for a homely town base.

Best for:

Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

The first-floor Family Suite can sleep up to 4 (plus a baby) in one double bed and 2 single beds in an adjoining room. Suites can fit a single bed or baby cot. Note that no family-friendly rooms have a bathtub.

Families Should Know:

The pool is unfenced so you'll have to keep a close eye on little ones.

Kid Friendly:

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