The Serra de Tramuntana is Spain’s nomination to become a UNESCO Heritage Site, in the category of “cultural landscape”. The 90km long mountain range – stretching majestically from Andratx to Cap de Formentor – is home to an abundance of flora and fauna, and is an example of Mallorca’s fascinating heritage. Islamic and Western cultures have provided the ancient irrigation systems dating back to the period of Arab occupation, and the distinctive hillside stone terraces facilitating agricultural cultivation in otherwise challenging terrain.
Spain’s Crown Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia of Asturias have given their support to this important nomination – calling a special meeting in the summer with Council of Mallorca officials to find out more about the project. Among the thousands who have signed up to back the bid is Hollywood actor Michael Douglas. Find out more and add your support by visiting www.serradetramuntana.net
Mallorca has hotels for every taste and budget, from cosy rustic agroturismos to sleek five-star palaces. In summer 2011, the island’s portfolio of more than 200 four and five-star hotels will be boosted by the opening of the new five-star Jumeirah Port Sóller, boasting 120 contemporary guestrooms and suites – all with gorgeous views. The five-star St Regis Mardavall won several awards last year in abcMallorca’s Best of the Best Awards 2009 – including Best Luxury Hotel, Best Luxury Spa, and Best Restaurant (Es Fum).
Hollywood came to Mallorca this summer, when Adam Sandler, Kevin James, David Spade and Chris Rock – stars of the new film ‘Grown Ups’ – attended the Spanish premiere of the movie at the beautiful five-star Hospes Maricel. And singer Robbie Williams chose the romantic setting of La Residencia in Deià for a pre-wedding holiday with his actress bride-to-be Ayda Field.
The first international “Spa World” congress in Spain took place here in Mallorca last month at the Hilton Sa Torre. The Balearics region has Spain’s “largest number of fitness and wellbeing spas,” according to congress director Javier Suarez. Across the Balearics there are some 156 hotel centres for rest and relaxation – around a fifth of the hotels have spa facilities. Suarez reports that the spa industry across the islands generates 444 million euros a year: 243 million from tourism, the rest from Balearic residents. Support Mallorca – book a spa treatment today!
Excellent local produce, talented international and local chefs and an increasingly exciting modern Mallorcan cuisine guarantee a treat for gourmets eating out on the island.
This October, Mallorca’s Castillo Son Vida Hotel hosts the first Grand Prix Gourmet Dinner, prepared by the island’s top seven chefs. Among these is British chef Marc Fosh, who recently became the global brand chef for Braun’s hand-held blenders – preparing recipe books, doing demonstrations, videos and helping to promote the product worldwide.
Mallorca once boasted more vineyards than Spain’s La Rioja region, until the devastation caused by phylloxera in the late 19th century – when vines were replaced by almond trees. Today, the wine industry is thriving, with 66 bodegas on the island and two Designation of Origin wine-producing areas. Mallorca’s distinctive wines are exported and enjoyed in a number of countries around the world and several bodegas are regularly winning awards in prestigious annual international wine competitions such as the Concours Mondial Bruxelles, Decanter World UK, and Madrid’s Bacchus.
Mallorca is clearly an inspiring island for writers. Sóller resident Anna Nicholas has had a busy year, with two books published in 2010: in June, the fourth of her series about her life in Mallorca, entitled ‘Donkeys on My Doorstep’ and, in September, ‘Strictly Off The Record’ (Summersdale) – recalling the adventures Anna had in a former career, judging records around the world with Norris McWhirter, founder of The Guinness Book of Records.
Internationally renowned British writer Jeffrey Archer told abcMallorca that the island “is a lovely place where I’m glad to write and live.” He wrote his first novel (34 years ago) and most recent five or six books while staying on the island and although he used to rent a property for his writing sojourns, he now has his own home here. Hailed by The Washington Post as “a storyteller in the class of Alexandre Dumas”, Archer’s most recent book is a collection of short stories entitled ‘And Thereby Hangs A Tale’ (Macmillan).
A Miscellany of Music
The island boasts a wealth of talented local singers and musicians, including Liam Live (who sang at the abcMallorca Christmas lunch last year) and Michelle Mae, whose cool jazz vocals entertained the July abcBusiness Club lunch guests at the Marriott Son Antem Resort & Spa. This year some huge international stars have also performed in Mallorca: Elton John and Andrea Bocelli took to a spectacular stage in a double concert at Son Moix stadium in September; Lionel Richie was here for the recording of the hugely popular German TV show ‘Wetten das . . . ?’ and bands China Crisis, Pendulum and Placebo have brought their sounds to the island.
If you’ve never been to see one of the Balearic Symphony Orchestra’s concerts, but were impressed by their performance with Andrea Bocelli and his guest performers, be sure to check out their upcoming season of concerts in Palma.
Twenty-four-year-old Rafael Nadal must be Mallorca’s greatest ambassador, with huge numbers of fans around the world (many of them, not surprisingly, young and female). This summer the charmingly modest Manacor-born tennis superstar became only the seventh man to complete the career Grand Slam, when he won the US Open in New York City. He joined tennis greats Rod Laver, Pete Sampras and Roger Federer as the fourth man to win three consecutive Grand Slams. Rafa’s US Open win means he’s not only one of history’s greatest tennis players, he’ll also finish 2010 as the world’s number one. He’ll be officially crowned 2010 ATP World Tour Champion in London at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in November. ¡Vamos Rafa!
MotoGP fans on Mallorca will be hoping that 23-year-old Palma-born Jorge Lorenzo can maintain his lead and take the MotoGP championship title this year, after he ended last year’s season as runner-up. The Yahama rider has some stiff competition for the title, but his competitive spirit should serve him well.
Mallorca is home to some amazing people achieving incredible things. Indefatigable Portals Nous GP Dr Michael Stoma and his wife started the successful Mediterranea charitable organisation in 1999: their work – and that of the organisation’s hard-working supporters – has made a tremendous different to the lives of vulnerable people in Africa, Cuba, South America, China and here in Mallorca. In 1991, Allen Graham set about replacing all the bikes stolen from a local children’s home – an initiative which eventually led to the formation of The Allen Graham Charity 4 Kidz, which has now supported the island’s abused and disadvantaged children for almost two decades.
Next April, British island resident Ben Miles will be cycling 5,769 kilometres across Europe (in just six weeks), departing from Gibraltar and ending at Nordkapp in Norway – not bad for a formerly unfit man with an artificial hip! Father-of-two Ben, aged 29, is undertaking the epic bike ride to raise money for the UK’s National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and The Allen Graham Charity 4 Kidz. All power to your pedals, Ben!
¡ Viva Mallorca!