Thursday, 25 August 2016

Travel: Rustic Airbnb apartment in Santa Maria del Cami, Mallorca

Have you ever been somewhere that's so idyllic it's almost untrue? Where you have to repeatedly point out how amazing it all is for fear that if you don't it may all just vanish? If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram you'll have been on the receiving end of a deluge of increasingly overexcited pictures of THE MOST PERFECT AIRBNB APARTMENT EVER!

But it really was. Here's why.

After years and years of family holidays that weren't terribly relaxing spending a week doing absolutely nothing felt like the holy grail of holidays. And to do this in an incredibly picturesque location with a pool of our very own? Well, beyond amazing.

So, what made us book this particular Airbnb, a rustic apartment in Mallorca?

Amanda and Eduardo live on an almond farm on the outskirts of a town called Santa Maria del Cami, a 20 minute drive inland from Palma. The property belonged to Amanda's family (it's always lovely to imagine the same family inhabiting a property for decades, isn't it?) and now she runs the farm. The couple has diversified into tourism by virtue of a conversion of the farm's stables. Not the most glamorous sounding building, I know, but these two have vision and impeccable style.

The apartment feels private (it faces the opposite direction to the rest of the farm and is surrounded by trees and lush planting) while the infinity pool looks across over open land towards the town, prettily lit up at night. Inside, the stone walls make for a cool few rooms – just one large living area/bedroom, a bathroom and a kitchen. There are two ways to access the apartment, with one door to the kitchen and one to the living area both leading out to the covered lounge area.

Now, I don't really know how to describe this. Overlooking the pool is a covered area (above is a balcony accessible by the farmhouse only, so I guess it's kind of a porch) and it features the most ingenious built-in sofa. Large enough for two to stretch out, it's almost like two single beds laid end to end, with a stereo, lamps and candles all around. We made so much use of this space, both in the evenings when the sun went down, cuddled up under blankets watching a film on the laptop, and when the heat of the midday sun got too much. When we weren't enjoying the shade from here, we relaxed on the loungers to the left of the pool (this is also where the barbecue lives).

Much of our time was spent lying around reading in one of these lovely spots, diving into the deep pool to cool off (thank goodness for a proper deep end! I love to dive and so many pools don't allow it – this one was about 6' 6" deep I think, plus there are loads of inflatables to borrow), and eating our meals at the little wire table outside.

The living area features a double bed, sofa, desk, and small table & chairs, all beautifully simple in design and well-chosen for comfort, too. Lampshades are handmade by Amanda and Eduardo – a lovely personal touch, plus there are books on the island to flick through, sun hats to borrow, and a TV that remained off the entire time. Through to the bathroom decorated in simple whites and greys. A large waterfall shower in one corner was essential to wash off the day, while the marble basin area felt luxurious. The wardrobe is built into the short corridor between living room and kitchen, with a couple of soft blankets stowed in the bottom drawer for cooler evenings.

The kitchen is very simply set up. There's a fridge with ice compartment, hob and extractor fan (note: no oven!), gorgeous double sink with Moroccan tiles, large table and a couple of chairs, plus loads of storage for food, crockery and cutlery.

I made a short video walking you through the apartment which you can watch below.

Amanda and Eduardo's dogs came to visit every day. I'm not usually a fan of dogs whatsoever, but one of their pooches had the sweetest little face and gentle demeanour. I ended up quite taken with him. Other than that, we were pretty much left to our own devices which suited us just fine. To get groceries, we drove down to the town to the local Eroski supermarket which sold all the basics. For more tasty, fresh produce the markets are probably a better bet. We went to Inca where the largest market on the island takes place on Thursdays and is just 20 minutes northeast in the car (the island is such a manageable size that nowhere is really more than about a 45 minute drive away). Here, we bought giant apricots, figs and tomatoes, along with brightly coloured hammam towels and baskets from Africa.

Other than that? A few simple trips out where all we managed. Fornalutx is a very picturesque hillside town and a bit of a trip down memory lane as I'd been on a family holiday here years ago, the highlight of which was lunch with the artist, Paul Hogarth. No holiday in Mallorca is complete without a visit to Deia, completely overrun with tourists to the extent drinking water was being rationed three days a week and the police were on permanent patrol directing the traffic! Cala Deia is a tiny cove a couple of miles outside the town and home of Ca's Patro March, the restaurant where BBC's The Night Manager was filmed. And on our last day we spent hours on the beach at Alcudia, reading on loungers and swimming in the warm, blue sea.

Want to try this (or any other) Airbnb? Get £25 credit when you use this Airbnb discount code.

Have you visited Mallorca before? Would you go back? What did we miss? What about one of the other Balearic islands?
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