“Don’t look, don’t look,” I shouted as my boyfriend swerved onto a windy dirt road. “I can’t drive with my eyes closed.” Touché. It turns out it’s hard to take someone to a surprise location while asking them to drive themselves there.
Planing a surprise trip to Mallorca for my boyfriend’s birthday wasn’t easy for two reasons. For one, I kept worrying I’d blow my cover because I was so damn excited. But more importantly, it was my first trip since publicly making a commitment to responsible travel and I didn’t want to let you – or myself – down.
In the end it all worked out. We hiked the Serra de Tramuntana mountain range, ate at amazing vegan cafés and stayed at several beautiful eco-friendly hotels. I’m about to introduce you to Cases de Son Barbassa which was my favourite, but before I do let me say a few words about this post.
You might be surprised to see a hotel review on Girl vs Globe. I used to find them silly – something bloggers do to get a free stay, but which is ultimately of little interest or benefit to their readers. But making the switch to responsible travel has made me see them in a new light. When done properly and in keeping with your website’s focus they can be incredibly useful.
Finding green accommodation, it turns out, is not easy. It’s the staring-at-the-screen-and-frantically-scrolling-till-2-am kind of difficult. Wanting to stay in truly eco-friendly hotels forces you to change the way you travel, venturing further away from the cities and into the countryside. That’s exactly what I did on my trip to Mallorca.
When I spotted Cases de Son Barbassa in an article about the best agroturismos in Mallorca I knew I’d struck gold. “The old houses of Son Barbassa whose watchtower dates back to the 16th century are located at a few kilometres from the medieval centre of Capdepera,” the website read. “The country estate has an area of 125,000 sqm, with almond, olive and carob trees and is surrounded by the Natural Park of Llevant of Majorca.”
The reality was even better. As we rolled up the driveway in our rental car a sense of calm washed over my entire body, exhausted from four days of intense hiking.
The friendly staff quickly showed us to our room and my jaw hit the marble floor as soon as I opened the door. I felt like I’d stepped into the summer issue of Condé Nast Traveler. The suite was divided into four sections – a roomy entry hall, a light bedroom with high ceilings, a spacious bathroom and an outdoor terrace looking over an almond orchard. It was idyllic not to mention very romantic.
As for amenities, they’ve got all bases covered. There are the standard offerings of air conditioning, TV, radio, safe, free WI-FI or ADSL and hair dryer. Every room also has a bath or shower with hydro massage, bathrobes, slippers and pool towels. Ours was the junior suite but all the other rooms are just as beautiful. There are sixteen altogether, which makes the hotel feel like your private little hideaway.
The hotel’s interior itself is equally charming. It’s all about reflection and relaxation at Cases de Son Barbassa – think books and nooks. I picked a copy of The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson from their library, which was the funniest thing I’d read in a long time. Not that marketing e-books and Spanish textbooks (I just started learning!) are tough competition.
The hotel is built around a converted 16th century watchtower, so you are surrounded by history at every step – from exposed stone to restored wood panelled ceilings. It was the perfect blend of Mallorcan design over the past few centuries.
Most of the fun happens outside though, as you would expect on this sunny Spanish island. There’s a jacuzzi, a large pool and plenty of space to sit among the lush greenery and read or just think about life… and how amazing it is in that moment.
Every morning my boyfriend and I would sit in the hotel’s beautiful panoramic restaurant and admire the view of Capdepera as we munched on local specialties. A traditional Mallorcan breakfast consists of white bread, cheese and tomatoes, as well as a pickled green garnish I’ve still not managed to identify.
But there’s a lot more to choose from including homemade pastries, cheeses from all over the island and freshly made smoothies. My favourite was the banana milkshake although I could only take a few tiny sips as I’m lactose intolerant. Speaking of which, non-dairy milk is provided every morning.
In the evenings the restaurant serves Mediterranean dishes made with fresh produce from their garden or the local market. They also press their own olive oil which tasted so unique I ended up buying a bottle to give to my parents.
Their menu doesn’t have a huge vegetarian selection but they were extremely flexible and willing to adjust any dish according to my preferences. The starters were the highlight of the evening though, from tangy gazpacho to my mango and avocado salad and my boyfriend’s tuna tartare with strawberries. As for drinks, you’ll also find an extensive menu of local Mallorcan wines. We tried a fruity white called Memories de Biniagual from Binissalem but you’ll be spoilt for choice no matter what you like.
The hotel’s green efforts are visible at every turn and they go way beyond not washing your towels every day. You can walk through the surrounding land and admire their statuesque olive trees, patches of lettuce and other delicious vegetables. This helps reduce their carbon footprint by minimising the need for imported food. They also use solar panels for generating energy in order to keep the whole operation as sustainable as possible.
Staying in agroturismos is a great choice if you’re looking to go green. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, it is usually an independently-owned farm that the owners have opened up to travellers as an accommodation option. These can range from basic lodgings to luxurious hideaways like this one.
These farm stays can be difficult to get to – in the case of Cases de Son Barbassa I’d definitely recommend hiring a car. But it is oh so worth it! Just looking at these photos is making me wonder when I’ll get to visit again.
Have you ever heard of Cases de Son Barbassa? Do you have any favourite eco-friendly hotels or destinations where you’d like me to find them? Let me know in a comment below, I love hearing from you!
Disclaimer: Many thanks to Cases de Son Barbassa for hosting us. As always all opinions are my own, I reached out to them and we mutually agreed this review would be a great fit for my audience. They do not typically work with press of any kind so I am very grateful they took a chance on me. Another ‘thank you’ goes to my wonderful boyfriend who took many of the lovely photos in this post. What a keeper!