The Mar Calma Hotel is a comfortable, stylish and extremely friendly boutique hotel in the centre of Puerto Pollensa town - Mallorca walkers couldn't ask for a better positioned place to stay for walking holidays on the island.
We arrived back at the hotel early evening, just in time, as the sun was setting behind the mountains and the air had started to cool.
It's September and Mallorca is beginning to cool down a little in the daytime. It can be sun burningly sunny at noon, but once the light goes, it's fresh and cool and you will want a hot shower when you get in, and an evening drink followed by a big supper.
We have walked to Cape Formentor, at the very northernmost point of Mallorca, at the end of the Formentor peninsula which juts out from Puerto Pollensa. It is a 45 kilometre walk there and back, it has taken us the entire day, 10 hours, and we are beat. Carlos at Mar Calma Hotel, a mountain runner himself, suggested the hike for day one as it requires no planning whatsoever, as long as you set off early morning, which we did.
The walk though long and arduous at times, because of the climbs, was everything you want from a walking excursion; wonderful landscapes, varied terrain and truly breath taking sea views. We stopped for a mid-morning snack high up on the edge of a hill looking down over a turquoise sea and at around 1:30 we made it to the cape and the lighthouse of Formentor. A small and overpriced cafe sells coffees and snacks. We, of course, had brought our own. And then after soaking in the sights and stretching our legs, we walked back to Puerto Pollensa.
Some walking hotels are just a place to dump your rucksack and rest your tired bones, but not here. This is a small walking hotel in an unlikely location. Not in a city, but in the middle of a resort town, near the main square and one block from the beach, an unassumingly elegant and welcoming, urban boutique hotel.
Our dinner reservation is not until 8:30, so we have a couple of hours to shower and lounge, have a snooze or enjoy a pre-dinner aperitif at Mar Calma Hotel's downstairs bar.
We have dinner in the square, on recommendation, at the Restaurant Centric, but a quick glimpse around reveals other enticing eateries, which we will have to check out over the following days.
The choice is varied and delicious, with pasta, curry and Asian dishes, fresh seafood and excellent desserts at a reasonable price and the service is impeccable and friendly. We loved it. However, after a 10 hour walk and 45 kilometres, we were ravenous would have fallen in love with anyone with a smile and a plate of food. And anyway, we had earnt it.
On day two we set off towards the Lluc monastery. From here we will walk to Tossals Verds refuge and stay the night. The walk in craggy and raw, with pine forests and wild goats. Towards the end we pass the reservoirs of Gorg Blau and Cuber, squeezed between majestic mountains of Massanella and Puig Mayor, Mallorca's highest.
And then following a dreamless sleep in one of the bunkbeds in the dormitory and a crisp awakening in one of the most virgin landscapes I have ever encountered on the island, we set off towards Soller, where we will be collected by taxi and driven back to Puerto Pollensa.
We could have continued on to Valldemossa, or looped back on an alternative walk, but this time, this is all the time we have and so we head back to Mar Calma walking hotel in Puerto Pollensa for a celebratory drink at the bar and a well-deserved meal out.
On an island like Mallorca, with so many millions of tourists every year, its crowded August beaches and tacky souvenir shops, it comes as a surprise to find a place like the Tramuntana Mountains. We did it in September, but I suspect you could fly in on a peak summer weekend and still see next to no one up on the high mountain passes.
The mountain refuges are reformed country estates, monasteries and ancient farms, positioned at intervals along the mountain range that crosses Mallorca from south west to north east. The Balearic government has restored the old smuggler's route between the high mountain villages and set about providing a place to stay at each of the stages.
The idea was to provide hikers with comfortable and affordable accommodation along the Old Dry Way and promote a more sustainable and outdoorsy out of season tourism. In reality, it is enjoyed as much or more by local mountain walkers and fell runners. Sadly however, not all the refuges are open yet.
You could stay in the mountain refuges in the Tramuntana, it is true. And you would be much closer to the hiking trails. It is a worthwhile thing to do: to stay a night in a refuge, but maybe not for the whole trip.
Start and end your holiday in a walking hotel in Puerto Pollensa. It makes it easier to plan for the hike when you are in town, with everything you need within reach, and it is a welcome end of trek base camp for comfort and a good dinner out.
We propose you have a comfortable base, like at the Mar Calma Hotel, where you can dine out in town and stay at one of the mountain refuges for a night mid hike. This gives you the freedom to extend the walk much further and cover much greater distances, perhaps the entire Tramuntana range if you do two nights in a refuge on route.