There is a saying in Mallorca – ‘Cristo en pel, taronges navel’ – which literally translates to ‘Naked Jesus Christ, navel oranges.’ It’s used as an expression of extreme surprise. And it’s a worthy reaction when, after an hour’s drive from Palma airport, among dilapidated farmhouses, orange groves and almond trees – the Carrossa appears. Rising out of the Llevant mountains like a five-star mirage of modern country-club living. This former farmhouse is now a striking luxury escape tucked away in rural Mallorca, ideal for those seeking respite from the clang of the city.
The area 8/10
The Carrossa sits quietly in the Llevant National Park: a deluge of rugged mountains, serene towns, and striking coastline.
The location is remote enough to feel lost, but close enough to civilisation to not feel completely isolated. The nearest town is the quaint Arta and can be reached in fifteen minutes by car. While within a few minutes more you can get to the Bay of Alcudia for a swim in its turquoise waters or bask on the blue-flag beach of Cala Millor.
Sitting on the veranda at night, listening to the crickets hidden among rosemary bushes and watching the stars through the clean country air, it’s hard not to feel a genuine sense of tranquillity here. One that’s wholly detached from the mass-tourism often associated with this island.
The hotel is also well set up for golf lovers and offers premium packages for those wanting to practice their swing in lush surroundings. The Capdepera, Canyamel and Son Servera courses are all within 10-15 minutes’ drive.
The digs 8/10
The Carrossa is centred around the manor house. A 30-room, considerately-converted farm house. The sandstone exterior brings a touch of old-world Mallorquin charm, while inside you’ll find a mix of contemporary rooms and suites furnished with oak-wood and velvet.
A minute’s walk from the main building are a series of newly-built suites that offer calming views of the surrounding Llevant mountains. Each suite comes with its own private terrace hidden behind herb gardens, and offers an idyllic spot to while away the evenings with a good book and glass of local wine. Every room has a natural-stone bathroom with walk-in rain shower, Nespresso machine and minibar.
Style, staff & stuff 9/10
The Carrossa is a proper spa hotel. All guests get access to the opulent, natural-stone spa, which features three saunas (steam, Finnish and bio), ice showers, gym and an indoor pool. It offers full treatment packages.
But the jewel in the Carrossa’s Balearic crown is its 20 metre infinity pool overlooking the mesmerising fortress of Arta and the Bay of Alcudia, which sparkles on a clear day. It’s propped up by a pool-side bar serving classic cocktails alongside local beer and wine. And comes with comfortable day beds which you can hire for a fair €29 including a bottle of local cava or two cocktails.
Staff were relentlessly lovely during our stay. From the maître-d to the reception staff, no ask was too much.
Food and drink 9/10
The hotel has two restaurants as well as a separate bar and offers half and full-board packages. The food and drink was universally brilliant.
Their namesake and fine dining option, Restaurant Carrossa, focuses on original Mediterranean cuisine with international influences, and was a highlight. A polenta gratin with fried vegetables and buffalo stracciatella was a sumptuous dish of cream and crunch. While the pistachio panna cotta could hold its own against the best of London restaurants. An indulgent breakfast is also served on its terrace, which provides a breath-taking mountain sunrise to compliment your morning coffee.
The Carrossa also has the more informal Bistro Badia, which focuses on tapas and more locally inspired food. The Menorca mussels cooked in a saffron white-port sauce was rich and salty perfection.
A nightcap at the cavernous Bar Oro is a must, where they stock a huge array of local and international spirits and will be happy mix you up pretty much anything you desire.
Get to know the head bartender, Parisian mixologist Maus. He always carries a little black book of cocktails he’s currently perfecting and was happy to test out recipes on guests during our visit. The two we tried were exceptional.
Luke O’Driscoll was a guest of Carrossa, Mallorca, Spain. Rooms from £185 per night.