Holiday Destinations - Menorca
PUBLISHED: 18:06 21 September 2011 | UPDATED: 20:02 20 February 2013
No wonder Menorca is known as The Jewel of the Balearics WORDS BY LOUISE ALLEN-TAYLOR
My trip, flying from Manchester Airport, was arranged by Menorca Tourism. For information about Menorca visit www.menorca.es.
I stayed at Hotel Capri in Mahon: Capri@rtmhotels.com. Hotel Audax details email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.artiemhotels.com.
My four-day break on the little island of Menorca was one of the warmest Ive ever enjoyed: warm in all meanings of that word. The weather as I arrived at the Hotel Capri in lively Mahon was sunny and stayed that way, apart from one brief dramatic yet welcome downpour.
But its the warmth of the people and their enthusiasm for their homeland that is memorable. Menorca is small, a chunk of Mediterranean land covering 702 square kilometres, so the locals cant help but embrace the tourists. As you criss-cross the island seeking out the beaches, cliffs, ruins of the past, historic churches and lush woodlands you find yourself involved in the customs and every day life of the residents. There are so many welcoming smiles.
Their bustling markets are stacked with fantastic fresh fruit, vegetables and fish. The restaurants apart from one or two well-known fast-food chains offer authentic regional menus. In June the flower festival was everywhere in Mahon.
The event is created with tourists in mind, but nonetheless its charming. So many shops, bars and streets showed off amazing fresh flower displays: some were quirky like the cobbled street with red umbrellas and matching flowers hanging from lampposts and shop doorways; some were touching like the foyer of a grand government building filled floor to ceiling with deep red roses and flickering candles as a tribute to love and romance.
But where was everybody? It felt like just a handful of British and French tourists had Menorca all to ourselves. This is no complaint. How lucky to find yourself able to savour a foreign experience without the sound of too many familiar British accents diluting it. Clearly this is why the tourist people in Menorca are inviting journalists like me to visit and spread the word.
They are developing their facilities but what I saw is in keeping with the character of the island. There are few tower blocks here, Im glad to say. The Hotel Capri in the centre of Mahon, a ten-minute walk from the Port de Mao and the gin factory (there are plenty of gin samples to be enjoyed!) has a good buffet-style restaurant and its new spa boasts a small rooftop pool perfect for a cooling dip while gazing at the stunning view below.
The same hotel group, Artiem, has invested considerably in the splendid Hotel Audax at pretty Cala Santa Galdana near Ferreries on the other end of the island. You can expect good food and accommodation here but Audaxs USP is the Blue Spa and Wellness Centre facility.
As well as high-end beauty treatments for him and her like facials, massages, manicures and reflexology, the huge spa has a gym, saunas, hot tubs and plunge pools for those requiring every aid to relaxation. Highly trained physios and therapists are on hand with advice. Audax wants to encourage bookings from couples ready to be pampered and cocooned for a while. I enjoyed a deeply relaxing massage one afternoon.
Sadly its not Mr Taylors idea of fun so Im hoping to persuade a friend to join me there on a short break. Who needs gin when you can have a massage?