Son Gener

Son Servera, Eastern Mallorca, Spain Book from Eur295

Charming-chic finca and spa set within peaceful organic gardens and rolling hills, close to unspoilt beaches and Arta
Leave Palma in search of peace, space and natural serenity and you need look no further than Son Gener. Just an hour away on the eastern side of the island, this elegant 18th-century finca with 15 suites lies on the brow of a hill, not far from the ancient town of Arta. Set in beautiful Mediterranean gardens beside orchards and olive groves, with views to the distant sea, its tranquility extends inside and out thanks to the imagination of its Mallorcan architect-owner, Toni Esteva, and it is popular with older German and English couples.

Walk inside and grooved limestone floors sweep underfoot giving the impression of cool drifting snow. Expect large, light rooms, soothing creamy colours, modern minimalist artworks, a Baby Grand and furnishings mixed with occasional antiques and scatterings of fascinating coffee-table books. Walk out to their spa and pool and you'll pass their organic gardens. No prizes for guessing where the food comes from. Up in the hills, peace at last save for occasional goat bells jingling. You won't beat Son Gener for its uncluttered understated charm and calm. Delightful.

Highs

  • Excellent breakfasts served on the lovely terrace in warm weather, and available until 12pm so great for sleepyheads
  • Exceptional interiors - soothing, subtle, spacious - and gorgeous, bedrooms with antique furniture, private terraces and huge bathrooms
  • Excellent staff led by charming manager Aina. Everyone was friendly, efficient and kind
  • Small, stylish spa with indoor and outdoor swimming pools
  • Just a short drive to unspoilt beaches and several golf courses

Lows

  • It's not a cheap place to stay and we felt dinner was overpriced. However it's a place worth splurging on for its elegance, ultra-peaceful setting and the 'at home' feel
  • Some rooms are open-plan, with their bathroom integrated into the bedroom, separated by a low wall. Some won't like this, though your toilet is in a walled cubicle
  • Slightly off-the-beaten-track location - you'll need a hire car, especially to dine out on Tuesdays when the restaurant is closed
  • Staff are charming but don't expect them to be running around you like in some big hotels - you get more of a relaxed homely feel here
  • Not the place for hectic nightlife - you're in the coutryside and there's no bar, though you can order drinks

Best time to go

April, May June and September and October are the best months for sunny weather without it being too hot. In winter, the countryside is lush and green and with an average temperature of 60-65F it's perfect for walking and visiting cultural sights. Mallorca is famous for February’s spectacular display of almond blossom.

Our top tips

  • Son Gener has a little boutique, Rosa, run by the owner's daughter, who is a designer and has shops in Madrid and Barcelona. I loved the beaded flipflops.
  • If it's a clear night, be sure to stargaze from your terrace
  • Great for...

    Eco
    Family
    Great Outdoors
    Spa
    Wedding
    • = Recommended
    • = Best in region
    • = World favourite
    • Boutique Hotel
    • 15
    • Breakfast (+ dinners on request)
    • All ages welcome
    • Open all year
    • Pools
    • Spa
    • WiFi
    • Pet Friendly
    • Disabled Access
    • Beach Nearby
    • Off-street Parking
    • Restaurants Nearby
    • Air Conditioning
    • Guest Lounge
    • Terrace
    • Garden
    • Gym
    • Yoga classes
    Room:

    Rooms

    The 15 suites are 'junior' by name but not by nature; there are no duff rooms here. Most have 4-poster beds wrapped in gauzy curtains and all have a private terrace. We revelled in our suite's space and understated quality design: a vast kingsized bed with crisp linen, linen-covered armchairs and high wooden rafters. Double doors opened out to our stone-walled terrace with sun loungers and views to the distant sea.

    One of the suites even has its own roof solarium with 360-degree views of the countryside (you reach this by going out of the room to an external staircase). Most are in the main finca, but the 5 newest suites are in a separate, modern wing which flanks one of the pools; we can't wait to see them.

    Bathrooms have limestone interiors but share the same ceiling as your bedroom giving additional sense of space and light. All have baths and walk-in showers. You get large fluffy towels, bathrobes, slippers and a selection of delicious-smelling Bulgari toiletries.

    All rooms have satellite TV, CD/DVD player, air conditioning (although it still gets quite warm at the height of summer), heating (for winter), minibars, a safe and hairdryer.

    Features include:

    • Air conditioning
    • Bathrobes
    • Cd player
    • Central heating
    • Cots Available
    • Dvd player
    • Hairdryer
    • Internet access
    • Minibar/fridge
    • Phone
    • Safe box
    • Satellite tv
    • Toiletries
    • Tv
    • WiFi

    Eating

    It's easy to see the restaurant's use of fresh local ingredients for yourself. Baskets of organic vegetables are carried from the gardens to the kitchen each day. Fresh flowers from the garden are on every table.

    You can take your breakfast inside or out on the terrace with the garden and orchard before you: when the weather's fine and the bougainvillea flowering, there are few spots as nice to start your morning. Orange juice is fresh as can be. There's an excellent buffet to fill you up: cakes and croissants, luscious homemade plum and apricot jams, ensaimada (a feather-light but wickedly fattening Mallorquin pastry), sobrasada (a local red sausage), as well as bowls of fruit yogurts, interesting cheeses and slithers of succulent Serrano ham. If this isn't enough, they will cook you egg dishes if you ask; we tried the Mallorquin omelette and it was very good (although very rich!). If you need a snack at lunch, they can whip up a sandwich or salad.

    For dinner the restaurant (only open to guests) serves a selection of classic Mallorquin recipes. Don't expect the haute cuisine standards of sister hotel Convent de la Missio in Palma - this is simple, country fare prepared by local matriarchs. You need to book in earlier in the day, and it's a daily set 4-course menu with an option of fish or meat for the main (they're not focused on vegetarians). We loved the lubina (sea bass) and turbot served with a huge dish of delicious tumbet (a local speciality made with sliced aubergines, courgettes, tomatoes and potatoes - all fresh from the garden).

    When we revisited in 2012, we found the food good but certainly not gourmet, so it felt rather overpriced compared with other Mallorquin hotels we visited, but we still enjoyed it. We started with a lovely tasty vegetable lasagna, and then tender rabbit. Vegetables came in a tomato sauce, and the wine list was very reasonable. Our dessert was stewed pears with vanilla ice cream.

    If you're staying for several nights, you can ask for just a main and dessert, for a reduced cost, but note the restaurant is closed on Tuesdays. For fine local cuisine with a modern twist (and a Michelin star) try, Es Molí d'en Bou, housed in a former windmill, 10 minutes' drive away. The funky Cafe Parisien in Artà (Calle Ciutat, 18) with its lovely courtyard garden is a good spot for a coffee, light lunch (the pasta is excellent) or evening drinks.

    Features include:

    • Bar
    • Dinner by arrangement
    • Lunch by arrangement
    • Minibar/fridge
    • Organic produce
    Eating:
    Activity:

    Activities

    • Stroll around the gardens, orchard and grounds or simply relax on a sun lounger and enjoy the views. In winter cosy up next to one of the open fires inside and flick through the fascinating coffee-table books and glossy mags
    • The spa is small but perfectly formed, with indoor and outdoor pool, sauna, steam room, Jacuzzi and exercise studio used for gym and yoga classes. Massages are available in the mornings
    • There are 4 golf courses within a few km and the hotel can arrange tee times
    • Visit Arta (15-minute drive), a charming historical town set in the rolling Serres de Llevant mountains. Wander up its honey-hued maze of alleyways to the hill top chapel of Santuari de Sant Salvador
    • The Coves d’Arta, 5km southeast of Arta on the coast, is a dramatic series of caves reaching 450m in depth
    • Explore some of Mallorca's east coast beaches: Cala Agulla or Cala Mesquida - both quite large with white sand and turquoise water and easily accessible by car, or remoter Calas Torta and Mitjana - smaller sandy coves found at the end of a winding country track
    • Visit the pretty medieval fortress town of Capdepera with its fine views over the east coast

    Activities on site or nearby include:

    • Boat trips
    • Golf
    • Hiking
    • Historical sites
    • Horse-riding
    • Sailing
    • Swimming
    • Well being
    • Yoga

    Kids

    Children are welcome - cots and babysitting can be provided on request, but extra beds are not possible. The pool and gardens will keep kids amused for a while and there are sandy coves nearby but there are no special facilities and this is definitely a quiet spot (teenagers would not thank you for bringing them here!). For those with toddlers please note the pool is not fenced off.

    Family friendly accommodation:

    Cots Available

    Babysitting:

    Babysitting available by arrangement

    Baby equipment:

    Baby cots available on request

    Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

    Kid Friendly:

    Our guests' ratings...

    10/
    Rooms
    10/
    Food
    10/
    Service
    10/
    Value
    10/
    Overall

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