The Spanish island of Mallorca may not be the obvious choice for a festive getaway, but this holiday season is looking more magical than ever at newly reopened Gran Hotel Son Net.
Off-season travel to Spain
When you think of Spain, the first things that spring to mind are probably sprawling beaches, teenie-weenie bikinis and, more often than not, blistering heat. However, with modern travelers looking to beat the crowds, while also prioritizing authentic local experiences, exploration and adventure, off-peak vacations to popular holiday spots are looking more appealing than ever.
And where better to explore Spain in the low season than Mallorca? Most famous as a sand, sea and sun destination, this Balearic paradise island has plenty to offer those who venture here in the colder months.
Winter in Mallorca
Nature lovers agree winter is the perfect time for hiking and biking in Mallorca’s Tramuntana mountain range, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With their blend of steep hills and lush, green valleys, the roads of Mallorca have become the winter training ground of choice for many of the world’s top cycling teams. Now is also the ideal time to visit the postcard-perfect medieval villages around the Tramuntana. Quieter than in summer, they are still bustling with local life, artisanal stores and farm-to-table restaurants serving authentic Mallorcan cuisine.
For culture enthusiasts, the island’s capital of Palma is brimming with festive spirit. The Christmas market in the fairy-light-filled old town is the best spot to shop for gifts, festive trinkets and interior design, while those looking to score a table at one of the city’s top restaurants will find reservations easier to come by at this time of year.
Newly reopened Gran Hotel Son Net
While many of the island’s hotels close in winter, those that remain open offer a slower, more languid version of the Balearic experience. Like Gran Hotel Son Net, a majestic, 17th-century manor-turned-luxury hotel that recently reopened following a full renovation.
Set deep in the Mallorcan countryside, in the foothills of the Tramuntana Mountains yet just a 20-minute drive from Palma, Son Net is a stylishly understated, art-filled hideaway on a private estate dating back to 1672. Having closed during the pandemic, the hotel reopened in May 2023 following a meticulous and thoughtful restoration under the management of the team behind Finca Cortesin—the award-winning Andalusian bolthole.
Three and a half centuries of history
Originally the home of the nobleman named Net (hence the name), the manor house has been passed down over the centuries through the hands of several prominent Spanish families. These days, the ultra-elegant, 31-suite hotel blends palatial architecture with tastefully transformed interiors that are relaxed, romantic, and intimate; complete with breath-taking views, citrus orchards, and lush Mediterranean gardens. Many original features have been preserved, from the rustic beams, to the stone floors and archways, carved wooden ceilings, antique fireplaces, an original 17th-century interior courtyard and spring-fed well, and a private family chapel.
While summer visitors to Son Net will probably spend most of their time lounging in a shaded cabana overlooking one of the hotel’s swimming pools, the cooler winter months lend themselves to more vigorous pursuits.
Galatzó Mountain, which provides a stunning backdrop to Gran Hotel Son Net, is the seventh-highest mountain in Mallorca. The starting point to hike Galatzó, nicknamed the magic mountain because of its peculiar energy, is only a five-minute drive from the property. For those who reach the top, a 360-degree Mediterranean sea view awaits. For something less backbreaking, the nearby Reserva Park offers picturesque forest paths, waterfalls, caves and plenty of rescued animals, making it an idyllic spot to spend a day with the family.
Sample some Mallorcan specialties, like the lobster, fried egg and potatoes at Sa Vinya in the nearby town of Puigpunyent, or the lightly smoked cod served with Mallorcan tumbet (a vegetable dish made from eggplant, red pepper, potatoes and tomato), served with honey with black garlic allioli, at the hotel’s own Mar&Duix. The latter specializes in Mallorcan haute cuisine using produce from the hotel’s vegetable garden and other local ingredients.
Christmas at Gran Hotel Son Net
This festive season, Gran Hotel Son Net has prepared a special program for its guests. It includes a four-course course dinner on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and a glittering Phantom of the Opera-inspired gala celebration, complete with a wine-pairing experience and an open bar, to ring in the New Year. There will also be a sunset tour of Son Net’s private vineyard followed by a wine tasting of the estate’s own wine made from local Malvasia grapes. Afterwards, you can cozy up by the fireplace in the Chimney Room, taking a moment to reflect on the year gone by and the one that lies ahead.