Only a 40 minute drive from Palma airport, yet a world away is LA RESIDENCIA. Set on a hillside in 30 acres of olives and citrus groves, the twin historic manor houses make up LA RESIDENCIA are surrounded by gardens and a flower-filled town of 800 inhabitants that has an aura of relaxation and creativity. Beyond the hotel’s outdoor pools are individual villas with private terraces and a sensational spa.
Worthwhile excursions are the nearby town of Valdemossa, where Chopin spent a much written about winter in 1839, or the secluded harbor and marina of Soller, where the choice and standard of restaurants we found is exceptional. Soller can be reached by car or as we did, a delightful easy 2-hour hike through verdant hills with the Mediterranean sea in constant sight.
After traversing Palma's surprisingly large and very busy airport, we boarded a flight on Air Berlin for the non-stop flight to Lisbon. New, clean and efficient airplanes now make Air Berlin one of Europe's largest low cost carriers. Fees for extra baggage apply; courtesy meal is a hot dog with a bun.
On to the HOTEL LAPA PALACE, set in a green oasis in the middle of the diplomatic zone of Portugals capital. The LAPA is a stately mansion that has been sensitively restored as an exceptional hotel. The hotel’s spa with La Prairie treatments is complimented by two swimming pools, one inside and one outdoors shaded by ancient trees. Despite its grandeur the LAPA has a fresh, modern feel. Most rooms open to balconies and terraces with fabuous views of the Talgus river and Lisbon’s Golden Gate bridge. We enjoyed a day trip to the turreted castle of Sintra and the beach resort of Cascais before returning to town for some very good shopping and the very late and vibrant nightlife, ending with a Fado show and a nightcap of, what else, Port.