Thursday, June 01, 2006

And the Decision Is...Mallorca

To celebrate the end of Andrew’s term as well as his upcoming birthday, we’ve booked a flight to Mallorca for a weekend in mid-June. We debated for days whether we should go to Pisa, Dublin, Sardinia, or Mallorca, just a few places on our long list of places we want to visit, feeling smug about how obnoxious we’d sound to anyone listening in on our discussions. We read guidebooks, looked at websites, and even did a complex, multi-round, blind-selection process with crumpled-up Post-It notes. Mallorca won.

After booking the flight today, we began looking for a hotel, trying to find some possibilities in our TimeOut guide to Mallorca. It’s not the most useful guidebook; what it has going for it, however, is honesty. Mallorca is a huge holiday destination, particularly for Northern Europeans—so much so that one area, according to TimeOut, is called “Blackpool with sun”—and Andrew and I have no interest in spending our weekend amidst large crowds of families and young children. Many of the hotels we looked at prominently featured pictures of activity-crazed children on their websites, an instant indication that those were not hotels for us.

TimeOut, with its sometimes brutal honesty, helped us eliminate even more hotels—and even whole chunks of the island. Santa Ponca, in the western part of the island, is apparently “dominated by a number of characterless hotels, mostly block-booked by tour operators, and some truly hideous places to eat.” Palma is full of hotels that are “all much of a muchness; vast sprawling monsters.” In the south is a “largely flat, hypnotically desolate, sparsely populated swathe of country that is edged by a smattering of unconvincing little resorts.” One hotel in the south is “a sad example of how to blight a beauty spot.” In the east, TimeOut warns, “the coastline, once marked by pristine coves and speckled fishing villages, has now largely been swallowed up by white holiday complexes, low-rise but land-hungry.” Also in the eastern part is a “sprawling holiday villa horror.”

We have been amply warned, and we’ll choose our hotel location very, very carefully. Mallorca looks absolutely stunning in pictures. It’ll be an excellent place for us to unwind for a few days in the sun.

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