While Madrid’s majestic museums and the slabs of Tortilla Espanola dished out at dark Barcelona tapas bars always seduce me, visiting Mallorca is admittedly not high on my list of Spanish priorities. I fear it another Ibiza, with mediocre cocktails sipped on the too-white sofas of rooftops and 3 a.m. tangles of tanned, sweaty flesh in nightclubs. These hedonistic pastimes can indeed be relished in Palma, yet there is a calmer side to the island I do not know exists—hilly Cap Vermell on the east coast, near the Canyamel Valley. Luckily, this is where the Park Hyatt Mallorca, the posh brand’s first resort in Europe, is located.
A maze of villas with uplifting names like Limonero surrounded by flowing water and olive trees, the property has 142 rooms and suites with commodious terraces, where I spend much of my days writing in the company of clouds and from-scratch chocolate-chip-granola cookies sent up from the cafe. The deep-soaking tub, provocatively set underneath a window, also makes it difficult to leave the premises. When I do descend the stairs to the animated surroundings of the Plaza de la Torre, it is to eat zingy gazpacho in the restaurant Balearic, or to discover a more robust form of tranquility at Serenitas, the spa filled with the scents of Mallorca’s abundant lavender and rosemary.
When I do descend the stairs to the animated surroundings of the Plaza de la Torre, it is to discover a more robust form of tranquility at Serenitas, the spa filled with the scents of Mallorca’s abundant lavender and rosemary.
Grand gates, flowing white curtains, and lavish amounts of natural light instantly put me at ease, an apt prelude to the 110-minute Serenity on the Sand treatment that awaits. Despite its name, it does not take place alfresco, as I initially dread (I prefer my pampering to unfold in an atmosphere devoid of the glaring sun and intrusion of buzzing bees), rather indoors, on a heated sand bed. From afar it resembles a clubby pool table, but in fact, it is a wellness contraption courtesy of the German manufacturer Gharieni. Its base is cleverly comprised of alpha-quartz sand, which can be adjusted to different temperatures. Embracing the ancient Greek philosophy of psammotherapy, each one of these toasty grains is meant to aid circulation and release all-too-familiar muscle tightness. I can certainly benefit from both. “The warmth of the quartz sand provides intense relaxation. The table also helps activate the lymph flow, as well as mobilize the body,” explains Patricia Fuerte, Serenitas’ manager.
Serenity on the Sand commences with a fragrant scrub. As much as I love the velvety consequence of partaking in such a ritual, I am often eager for this portion of the treatment to end so that until I am forced to open my eyes again, I can bask solely in the pummeling of a quality massage. But this one, from Mallorca’s own organic Gaia Natural Products, is whipped up from olive oil, olive pip, and olive leaf extract. It is earthy, its savory, heady appeal far more invigorating than the fruity, floral hybrids that typically slough off my undesirable layers of withered skin.
Only a hygienic polyurethane-coated sheet separates me from the sand, but it permeates my body from underneath as the therapist digs her way into my taut shoulders and hamstrings. “Usually when on a treatment bed, there are parts of our bodies in the air, even when using tools like the roller for our knees,” points out Fuerte. “The sand allows us to modify the structure. It ergonomically positions you and creates the incredible feeling that every part of your body is set and relaxed.”
I dress, the pungent scent of olives still wafting from my now greasy ponytail. Although restored, I am also brimming with energy. Perhaps I should go dancing in Palma after all—or at least knock back a few glasses of that spicy red made from the 305-year-old, family-owned winery nearby.
Contributing Food Editor Alia Akkam is a native New Yorker living in Budapest, where she writes about food, wine, and spirits, as well as travel, design, and wellness. Her work has appeared in ArchitecturalDigest.com, Dwell.com, Vogue.com, Playboy, the Wall Street Journal, and Four Seasons Magazine. She frequently craves avocado smoothies, Hatha yoga stretches, and peaceful sound baths.