This was our second holiday with Villa Parade, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel each year when searching for the best villa holiday for your family. It might sound clichéd, but clichés exist from real experiences and Villa Parade really does tick all the boxes; top of the range quality properties, fantastic locations, cleanliness and exceptional attention to detail.
We arrived at Can Fuster in the middle of the night (12.30 am), having followed some very precise directions. We had, as previously, booked a welcome hamper of basic food and drinks, which was very welcome at that time of night. As it was dark we missed the initial wow factor of this villa until we awoke on our first morning. Opening the shutters on the windows was a truly breath-taking experience with fantastic views of the Tramuntana Mountains.
Can Fuster exceeded all our expectations of a high quality, spacious family villa. The bedrooms are large, comfortable and air-conditioned; this includes the more than ample bed area on the mezzanine. With three indoor bathrooms this offers fantastic comfort for the larger family.
As we had holidayed in Mallorca last year we did not feel the need to rush out and explore allowing ourselves to spend our first day relaxing by the pool, followed by a scrumptious BBQ in the evening.
If you haven’t visited Mallorca before you really must try to wonder round one of the markets. You need to allow a good half day for this experience as there is so much to see and you can only amble at a slow pace due to the sheer numbers of people there. This year we went to the one at Pollenca old town, with the stalls splayed out through the small alleys. There is plenty of variety with stalls ranging from local crafts, jewellery, clothes and food. The central square in Pollenca is where you will find the food stalls and here you will find queues of local Mallorca’s at the cheese and meat stalls. Many of the stall holders will offer samples without any obligation to buy; not to be missed are the olives and the anchovies. Once you’ve tired of shopping search out La Bendita cafe and boutique where you can sit outside or inside and enjoy an exquisite snack. This place doesn’t look exceptional from the outside but the shop itself is affordable and very chic. A small beer costs a mere 1 euro 20, which is ridiculously cheap. But you really must get there early enough to sample a picodillo; a small baguette with a range of fillings including chicken, cheese or duck. These really are superb and worth the 3 euro price tag.
The villa is ideally situated to explore the various beaches; San Vincente, Peurto Pollenca, Formentor and Alcudia. Each has a different attraction and we spent a day or two at each of these. Peurto Pollenca has a fairly open bay and the sea is warm and often lively. Our teenage boys particularly like this beach as they can snorkel safely and see a wide variety of fish. Cala San Vicente has two very small secluded beaches with soft sand and rocks. The sea can be quite rough here and you need to watch out for jelly fish, but a flag usually warns you if there are jelly fish present.
Drinks can be very expensive here, so be prepared to pay or take a picnic.
Although Alcudia has a long, sweeping beach it is very sheltered at the west end due to the shape of the bay. The sand is soft and the water temperature seems to remain warmer than other beaches.
However, my personal favourite is Formentor beach, a haven of the rich and famous; Robbie Williams, Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas to name drop a few. The beach can be reach either by an adrenaline drive through the mountain road (my husband did this and said the views were breath-taking) or very reasonably by ferry for 11 euro return (5 euro 50 for children). This was my preferred option being a nervous car passenger. Both journeys take about 30 minutes and it is well worth the effort.
Formentor has a narrow, beautifully curved beach with a spectacular mountainous backdrop. It is a real sun trap although this makes the sea seem slightly colder than elsewhere.
Villa Parade does not do justice to the sheer beauty of the properties they let out; the landscaping and outside areas are impeccable and offer an interesting selection of plants, trees and shrubs. Can Fuster has a huge array of Geraniums, which are lovingly tended by the gardener who is in attendance every other day.
Villa Parade provides ideal locations and villas for family holidays, and caters for families with young children. However, don’t be put off if you family is slightly older, our children are 15, 16, 18 and 20 and we opted for a countryside villa, which although seems counterintuitive with teenagers and young adults gave us the ideal base for getting together and embracing family values whilst having a relaxing and enjoyable break from the hustle and bustle of daily routine. Even teenagers enjoy messing about in the pool and the hot tub was an added attraction, despite the temperature.
Can Fuster is an ideal villa for simply relaxing, whether by the pool or on the beautiful sun terraces, but particularly in the evening around the BBQ. This was our favourite activity of the holiday; being able just to relax and enjoy good food outdoors.
We decided to go all out on the relaxation element of our holiday and decided to book a massage each at the villa. Katie arrived at 11am and set up all her apparatus on the mezzanine and we each enjoyed an individually tailored massage in a calm and tranquil environment. We did this at the beginning of our holiday and it really helped to slow the pace and ease us into the holiday mood.
As we enjoy cooking and relaxing we only ate out on four occasions, each time in Peurto Pollenca. To celebrate our anniversary we decided to venture to the picturesque Pine Walk area of Peurto Pollenca and booked a table at Illa D’Or, overlooking the bay. This was a beautiful backdrop on a balmy evening and we enjoyed not just a splendid meal with excellent service but also an amazing sunset over the harbour and sea front.
Illa D’Or offer a truly mouth watering menu and their Château Briand is reasonably priced and well executed.
If however, you are a fish lover then take a stroll along the sea front and you will find Simbad’s. Despite the rather unusual name you will not be disappointed with your meal here. This is a family run establishment who land their own fish daily, hence it is guaranteed fresh.
They do an unrivalled range of paella, with something to suit everyone. The patron is somewhat eccentric and will flirt unashamedly with all male members of your party; much to his embarrassment this included our 16 year-old son.
If you go slightly further away from the town you will find Tolo’s, a large and busy seafront restaurant specialising in made to order pizza. If you’re not a pizza fan don’t be put off as their menu is extensive with a range of pasta and rice dishes. The waiters are friendly and the service is quick.
The piece de résistance being the fantastic range of fresh breads put on the table with an oil dip. As with Simbad this is an inexpensive place to eat and although busy you do not feel rushed to give up your table.
If, like us you opt for a villa in the countryside then be prepared for the range of wildlife you will encounter. As with any European country you will probably encounter at least one stray cat. Although we know not to feed these cats they will take advantage of any rubbish left outside. ‘Our’ stray managed several fish meals with leftovers from the BBQ. You will also become familiar with the tinkling sounds of the mountain goats which roam around to control the shrub land. As the vegetation was so dense where Can Fuster is situated we never actually saw the goats this year, but always knew when they were close by. Many homeowners keep chickens and cockerels’, our neighbour was no different. However, his cockerel was slightly confused and crowed in the afternoon as well as the morning. The best wild life you will encounter are the small lizards which frequent the area and give pay to the national emblem and is called an ‘endriago’ which actual translates to ‘dragon’. These are very timid creatures that will avoid human contact where possible but come out at sunset to warm themselves on walled areas. We snapped this one in our kitchen and it is about 20cms in length, we called him Tim!
Sunset at Can Fuster is really the most enchanting time and you will never tire of the view that is cast over the mountains. These final photos show how vibrant the colours of the garden become at sunset and also the spectacular decline of the sun behind the mountains.
We plan to return to a similar area in Mallorca next year and will only consider booking with Villa Parade. As I said at the beginning, when you know something works you don’t need to reinvent the wheel each time; once you have experienced the excellence that is Villa Parade, it is difficult to settle for anything less.
We would like to give a huge thank you to Claire Barker, and her family, for being valued Villa Parade customers, and for also taking the time to provide us with this wonderful blog post – thank you!
Click here for your free copy of the Villa Parade 2012 brochure