Monthly Archives: December 2019

Deia Mallorca

A Brief Guide To Deia, Mallorca

The small village of Deià, on the northwest coast of Mallorca, is one of the most beautiful villages on the island. Nestled at the foot of the Teix mountain, with views across the Mediterranean, Deià has attracted a long list of famous artists, writers and other creative luminaries through the years, including the writer Robert Graves. The critically acclaimed novel, The Lemon Grove (penned by Helen Walsh on 2014) was inspired by, and set in, this naturally inspirational location.  Mallorca’s most treasured mountain village, Deià is also part of an area awarded ‘UNESCO World Heritage Site’ in recognition of its rich blend of nature and culture.

The village’s tranquil, picturesque charm makes it easy to understand why it was chosen as a location for the TV dramatisation of John Le Carré’s novel ‘The Night Manager’.

History & Culture

Early settlers in this area lived in caves in the hillside. In the tenth century, its Arab Rulers created a sophisticated drainage and irrigation system, which is still used today. They also gave the village its name, stemming from ‘ad daia’, meaning hamlet.

Following the crusades, three Roman-Catholic monasteries were built in and around Deià in the early 1200s. One monastery, Miramar was the location of a missionary school founded by famous philosopher Ramón Llull, which aimed to convert North African Muslims to Christianity.

In 1867, the Austrian Archduke Lluis Salvador, arrived in Mallorca, with the intention of producing an encyclopedia on the Balearic islands. Taken by the tranquillity and beauty in the area of Deià and Valldemossa, he bought a large area of land, banned tree felling and hunting within his grounds and began an ongoing process of conservation.

Whilst living at Miramar, Archduke Salvador created many paths, making the area particularly wonderful for walking and hiking. The marks of Salvador and Llull can still be seen today in the remains of the philosopher’s chapel at Miramar, and the palace of Son Marroig, which was restored by the duke.

The English poet and novelist Robert Graves first moved to Deià in the 1930s. To recover from the psychological effects of the Great War.  He left for England at the start of the Spanish Civil War and returned after World War II. Graves kept a family home here until he died in 1985. Famous names who came to visit him include Sir Alec Guinness, Peter Ustinov and Ava Gardner.
Today Robert Graves’ home is a fascinating museum dedicated to preserving his name and his work.

Once relying on growing olives to make a living, today the village of Deià thrives on a new economy based on art, crafts and a relaxed style of tourism.

Things to Do In Deià

The walking and natural beauty in this area is exceptional, as are the striking sea views of the sea and the mountains. There is a small but equally beautiful beach which is well worth a visit.

There are some wonderful bars and restaurants including the Michelin-starred ‘Es Racó d’Es Teix’. Between the restaurants there are several fascinating boutique shops and galleries including a grocery shop that is packed from floor to ceiling with local produce.

Deia mallorca

Walking through the village streets is a sheer delight. It is worth taking some time to admire the charm of the old stone houses and charismatic narrow alleyways.

A walk up to the church will unveil Robert Graves final resting place and you can find out more about him in “La Casa De Robert Graves’ a small museum, in his former house, now dedicated to his life

In about half an hour you can walk down to Cala Deià, a small rocky cove and a fine shingle beach. The Cala has two beach restaurants which are renowned for their seafood.

Events In Deiá

The village plays host to the Deià International Music Festival every summer. The festival runs from the beginning of June right through to the end of September. With a number of concerts take place in Son Marroig, between Deià and Valldemossa. Having grown year on year since it was launched, the festival now attracts an impressive array of international classical orchestras and musicians.

Deia Mallorca Streets

In the autumn the annual Deià Art Festival really brings the village to life. This weekend event features talks and exhibitions which span a wide range of arts, including visual art, literature and music.

The Writers Walk is one of the highlights of the festival, where visitors have the opportunity to listen to ten writers across ten secret locations around the village. Enjoying the beauty of the village and its surroundings as they walk between locations.

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Ibiza Beach Sunset

Top Activities For A Family Villa Holiday In Ibiza

Contrary to popular belief, Ibiza isn’t just a party destination. During the main season, thousands of families set sail for this beautiful island to relax and enjoy the sun. With a huge list of beaches to choose from, there is something for everyone and when you need a break from the beach, there is a wide range of other activities and attractions on offer.

Here, we bring you our list of the very best activities the island has to offer for families.


Kids love a day out at the beach. It is the original family adventure. But to make sure your kids get the most out of a day at the beach. Ibiza has plenty of family friendly beaches.

Family Beach in Ibiza

Only fifteen minutes drive from San Antonio, Cala Bassa beach on west coast of Ibiza is one of the most beautiful stretches of sand on the island. Its shallow shelving water has plenty of rock pools which are ideal for exploring and the rocky coves provides fascinating snorkelling. There’s plenty to offer the adrenalin fuelled family too with kayaks and Stand Up Paddle Boards for hire, not to mention pedalos and inflatable banana rides.

On the east coast, Es Caná, just north of Santa Eulalia is a long, shallow, calm beach. The extra room make this beach feel less crowded and frantic than many of the others.

The beach of Cala Vadella is a 15-minute drive from San José. This pretty little cove has shallow waters and rocky outcrops to each side and is great for exploring on foot or in the water. There is excellent snorkelling here and for the more adventurous, there’s also a sub aqua school.

One of the best Ibiza beaches for families, is the beautiful, sandy Cala Llonga beach. One of the most impressive beaches on the island. It has a great children’s playground, along with pedalos and kayaking on offer. There are plenty of affordable places to eat too.

At the north of the island, the resort of Portinatx and its lovely beaches is ideal for families. With a total of three glorious beaches, each one complete with its own lifeguard, there’s plenty of opportunity for sunbathing, water sports, swimming and snorkelling and family fun.

Acrobosc High Ropes Course

For the more daring families, Acrobosc is a real-life adventure playground set in beautiful woodland near the resort of Es Caná. With rope swings, zip lines, nets and wooden platforms, there are a variety of ropes courses suitable for kids from the age of 3 upwards.

Safety is paramount, with helmets and harnesses carefully fitted and staff always keeping a watchful eye over the mini-adventure-seekers. The more challenging courses are suitable for adults too, so grown-ups should always feel free to join the kids on their adventures.

Water Parks

A great alternative to a day at the beach, Aguamar is an impressive water park with a range of water slides and pools, a play area and lots of green spaces. This large water park is packed with exciting water rides, ranging from slow and relaxing to fast and exciting, so there really is something for everyone.  All facilities are provided including changing rooms, toilets, lockers, showers, restaurants and snack bars. The park is open daily from mid-May to September.


If you fancy a few hours out of the sun, The Cap Blanc Aquarium is a fascinating trip.  At around 300 square meters, this underground lake is set in a natural cave and split into two parts. Between the two lakes the aquarium hosts living examples of almost all the marine life found around coastline of the island. There is also an impressive collection of other specimens including shark eggs, sea sponges, gastropods, bivalves, and other marine invertebrates.

Cana Marca Caves

In the north of the island just a few kilometres from the village of Sant Miquel de Balansat, this atmospheric cave is well worth a visit. Rich in history with stories of smugglers and pirates, these caves have many exciting tales to tell.

Cana Marca Caves

But Aside from the history, the truly breath-taking geological display of stalactites and stalactites is worth the trip on its own.

Horse Valley

Horse Valley is a well-equipped stables, situated in beautiful countryside in the North of the island. Accompanied by qualified guides, you can enjoy a half day trek on horseback or a full day’s adventure trekking on horseback through the mountains as part of a group of 6-8 riders. At certain times of the year it is even possible to take the horses for a swim in the sea.

Tourist Trains

Enjoy a relaxing trip through the Ibiza countryside on board one of the tourist trains. Ideal for younger children, the trains offer a range of trips, with scheduled stops for you to enjoy attractions or simply to cool off with a dip in the sea. To help you get the most out of the journey, there is usually an informative ‘tour guide’ style commentary.

Pop Up Cinema At Your Villa

Why not make one evening particularly special by arranging a pop up cinema at your villa.

Once booked, the ‘pop up team’ arrive and set up a complete outdoor cinema in your villa’s garden or poolside.  With a screen over three and a half metres wide!

The staff then create a relaxed atmosphere for your party with giant bean bags, candles, side tables, blankets and even serve fresh popcorn while you watch the film of your choice. You can enjoy anything from a fun sing-along to a hilarious family classic on the big screen.

Split between a large group, this can be an affordable and exceptionally unique evening’s entertainment. One for the kids to remember.


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The perfect villa for your holiday

Simple Steps to Find the Perfect Luxury Retreat for Friends and Family

Choosing the perfect villa for a relaxing break should be an enjoyable and fulfilling experience. Yet for many who find themselves in the organisers role it can quickly turn in to a major frustration. Trying to please everyone yet pleasing few, and in the end feeling unappreciated.
Simon Rowland - Villa Hire ExpertManaging Director of Villa Retreats, Simon Rowland has been searching out perfect villas for almost 30 years. Here, he has distilled his lifetime of experience into few simple steps which can significantly reduce hassle, confusion and frustration when choosing a villa for your next relaxing holiday.

So before you start work on your family’s villa wish list, read these tips and use them to structure your planning process.

Think Family/Party Members

Consider the people you are inviting. What are their interests? Do they have any special needs? Are there any babies, toddlers, teenagers, elderly, infirm or people with mobility issues within the group?

Write down specific requirements for each person. Be sure to list things that relate to the property and to the area around the property.

For example, a choosing a hilly location if you are taking grandparents who have mobility issues may cause them difficulties, leading to a far from relaxing trip for them, and the group.

Think Location

Put the destination to one side for the time being (unless it is absolutely written in stone) and think about where your ideal villa would be in relation to facilities, amenities and terrain. The location of your villa is far more important than the actual destination.

Again, run through the list of people in the group and consider their individual interests and requirements.

Consider the distance to the beach, restaurants, bars, a golf course, gym, playground and pool.

Would you like a sea view? Do you need to ensure certain facilities are within walking distance so that driving and vehicle rental is not essential? Are there teenagers in the party who will appreciate bars and nightclubs being only a short walk away?

Do you also need to be far enough away to not be disturbed by the hustle and bustle of the nighlife?

Think Duration & Dates

With the party and their interests and requirements now mapped out, the next thing to consider is the time of the year.

Chances are your group have a date, or at least a rough date, for the trip in mind. Study the climate and temperature of possible destinations carefully. Not only during the day but also consider night time temperatures and how they may affect your group.

Think through all the implications and their effect on those joining you on the villa holiday.

If your trip is off-peak season, the pool temperature be kept low by plummeting night time temperatures, so you may decide that you need a heated pool?

Temperature can be an issue for the very young and the very old as well. August temperatures in the Algarve could potentially be too hot for a new born baby. The same intense heat may be uncomfortable for elderly relatives.

When considering the Caribbean or even further afield, be careful to look into natural weather patterns. Is there a typhoon month, hurricane season or a period where rain is recognised as a major factor? Unless you already know a location well, research is everything. Google away and gather as much information as you can.

Think Change Over Days

You will need to decide on the precise range of dates you are available to travel within.  Most properties insist on a particular arrival day. This is likely to be a Saturday. Seven and Fourteen nights are the norm in peak season but owners are sometimes more flexible when considering off-peak season bookings.

Think Villa Specification

Now you have all the groundwork in place, it is time to think carefully about the villa and the facilities your party will need.

Go back to your list of people and run down it, listing any particular facilities they will need.

How many bedrooms will you need?  One often-overlooked consideration is the kind of beds (double or twin) your party will need in each room.  Make a careful note of these next to the list of rooms you require.

If you have children (or adults) who enjoy games, would a games room, pool table or table tennis table come in handy?

Is a tennis court essential?  If you have an enthusiastic chef travelling with you, you may want a fully equipped kitchen and certainly a BBQ.

Style and standard are also worthy of great thought. Would you rather stay in a  contemporary villa or one with a more classical feel. Or perhaps an informal, beach style property.

Think Budget

Write down your ideal budget and your maximum budget. Make sure that all paying members in your party are comfortable with their commitment.

Don’t be afraid to share this information when looking for a villa. The more specific you can be, the more focused and useful the results of your enquiries will become.

Think ‘Must Haves’ & ‘Nice to Haves’

Split your list of requirements into two distinct lists.  A ‘Must Have’ and a  ‘Nice To Have’ list. Once prepared, share the lists with the other decision makers in the family or party, to make sure you have covered everything – and that they are on the correct lists.

At this point you are nearly there and the important part of the process is almost complete.

Who Should I Send My Brief To?

Now that you know what you want, where, when and for how much, it’s time to select the appropriate villa companies to send your brief to.

Always choose prospective Villa specialists very carefully. You must make sure you are sending your brief to experienced and established villa specialists.

Here are a few tips to help you select the right shortlist:

  1. Ensure that those you deal with are members of ABTA and ATOL registered to assure you of the consumer protection. Do not underestimate what can go wrong if you either deal with an owner direct or deal with a so called specialist, if they cannot offer financial security.
    Buyer beware and seek proof of important credentials. You need accountable parties to deal with in case anything goes wrong. This accountability is lost if you deal with anyone or any company who is based overseas. Be warned. We have spoken to many clients who have been hoodwinked in the past and been swindled out of thousands by unscrupulous villa operators.
  2. Once you are sure the correct protection is covered, be prepared to ask a few cheeky questions that may unsettle less-professional villa providers. For example, how often they visit the properties they rent and are you able to speak to a member of the team who has either stayed at the property in question or who has visited it in the last 12 months. This is essential.

Once you have your final list of three or four villa specialists, send your brief to them all, in an easy to understand format with the ‘Must Haves’ and the ‘Nice To Haves’ all clearly listed. Don’t forget to share your budget figures – the ideal price and the maximum price.

Think Service

The response you receive from your enquiry directly reflects the service and support you can expect from your villa specialist.

The replies you receive should be prompt, precise and easy to understand. They should also include up to date availability otherwise the information has little or no purpose.

As soon as you see a potentially perfect villa, you must ask for it to be put on hold at all costs. Even if it is just for 48 hours. Any Villa specialist worth their salt will offer to do this for you without question.

Any Villa Specialist should be available to arrange a phone call or reply to an email when you need a reply, even if it’s out of office hours in the evening or weekend.

You should expect help and assistance all the way up to arriving at the property and returning back home. Remember, a professional and experienced Villa Specialist will aim to build long term relationships with customers by offering the best possible service and support at all times.

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