Two years ago may as well have been a lifetime ago. Remember when face masks were a thing you did as part of your home spa routine? When we took travel for granted, and a global pandemic was something none of us would ever have dreamed of...
In 2021, of course, we’re beside ourselves with excitement at the prospect of a trip to New Zealand. But a couple of years ago, one of The Grace Tales favourite photographers, Bridget Wood, shipped her family (including a 3.5 year old and a nine month old, because she’s a brave woman) off to Mallorca. And today, she’s taking us on a virtual trip down memory lane. Her beautiful words and images will be as close as we can get for a little while, so we’re soaking them up.
Join us at Belmond La Residencia…
Go to La Residencia
Have you ever felt like you were running on a hamster wheel? Forever trying to catch your tail, get a break, always striving, never arriving….well, I can relate.
I was badly craving a slower, simpler life. In desperate need of inspiration, I organized a 12 week sojourn around France and Spain with my husband, a 3.5 year old and a 9 month old. Some called us crazy, but I was on a quest to discover new places that fuelled the soul, to meet people who inspired an intentional life, and hopefully come back with a few tales.
The lead up was of course calamity and 3 days before our departure date, I landed in hospital with another round of acute tonsillitis. My husband was madly cross-checking our travel insurance policy as the doctor advised us it probably wasn’t going to be feasible to travel due to the severity of the episode. There was no way I was not getting on that plane. It seemed foolish at the time, and probably even now, but I knew how much we needed this trip. Turns out, I was right.
Had I not gone on that flight, I would not have experienced what it was like to wake up at the Belmond La Residencia.
Set upon the dramatic Balearic backdrop of the Tramuntana mountain range, you will find perched the tiny town of Deia. A charming mix of terracotta roofs, honey buildings, and green shutters which flow from cliff to sea. And right in the middle of this spectacular beauty, the luxurious rustic oasis of Belmond La Residencia serenades you to stay.
Two 16th century manor houses form the heart of this boutique hideaway and create the perfect setting to embrace the slower pace of the citrus scented town. The original families who occupied this now significant estate produced olive oil there, and to this very day the hotel creates its own signature oil from the 30 acre grove on the property, where some trees are more than 500 years old.
With 67 individually decorated rooms, and one of Europe’s largest modern art collections in any European hotel (including a Miro sculpture on the grounds), the property somehow manages to continually impress and delight in a very understated manner.
After I melted into my massage and enjoyed a quiet moment of pamper bliss, I met the family at the spa and indoor pool (one of many) which resembles more of an ancient bathhouse. By this stage I was convinced we should move to the country when we return home. Maybe it was the luxurious swimming pools, the sheep and donkeys bleating in the distance, the candlelit dinners and live music, or or the jasmine lined cobblestoned paths, but I could feel the place imprinting on me. It is so much more than a hotel, it is a glorious feeling of coming home and discovery all at once.
Back in our luxury suite with mountain views and incredible art on every corner, my husband and I both declare in unison that we never want to leave…unless of course it is to take our daughter down to kids club. Our daughter was already in heaven swanning about in the kid-sized bathrobe and slippers provided for her, but the Smile Club blew her out of the park. Activities include pottery workshops, cooking classes, donkey riding or tennis coaching. It is no wonder really she cried for 2 solid hours after we left this beautiful place. In truth, we all wanted to cry.
Now, as I watch our three sheep graze on the hill beside the citrus and olive trees at our tree change property, I can’t help but smile at how sometimes things work out and places live on in you. While I may not be physically back at the Belmond La Residencia, I still travel there often.
Words and photos by Bridget Wood