La Residencia, Deia, Majorca.
I’ve been to Manacor, Rafael Nadal’s home town, and walked the square, drunk the espressos, and visited the tennis club (he was practising there that afternoon with his uncle Toni and had signed in, as anyone else would, with a blue scribble on the court booking sheet). I’m sure even Nadal, who seems to have no intention of ever living anywhere else, would accept that inland Manacor does not have the same charm as Deia, a village on the island’s north-western coast. The writer Robert Graves lived in Deia for most of his life, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Kingsley Amis, Anthony Burgess, Alec Guinness and D.H. Lawrence are among those who have dropped by.
Some would say that if “there’s still a vague air of bohemianism to the place, it’s of a moneyed, Notting Hill kind”, and there is no denying that you do find yourself tripping over rock stars’ daughters in the only late-night bar. But go to Deia for the tennis. To all those looking for a tennis fix on their holiday, I can recommend a stay in La Residencia, set in 30 acres of olive and citrus groves on a hilltop.
The hotel, known for its low-key luxury, has two tennis courts. The hotel rightly boasts of the view from the courts, which are “surrounded by the spectacular Tramuntana Mountains overlooking the Mediterranean Sea”. Sir Richard Branson used to own the property (which includes two 16th- and 17th- century manor houses), but it now belongs to Orient Express, and has a spa and a fine El Olivio restaurant. Also recommended are pre-dinner cocktails looking out over the village. Just a short walk away is a swimming cove, where there is an excellent fish restaurant for your lunch. If you really want to visit Manacor, it’s only a short drive away. But you’ll soon be back in Deia.
In addition to the two courts (laid with Greenset cushion), there is a resident coach, a practice hitting wall and a shop. The hotel offers complimentary ‘social tennis’ twice a week, and can also provide private lessons or group tennis clinics. Video analysis and ball machine work-outs are also available, as are coaching sessions for high performance junior squads, and more relaxed children’s activities. The wall, incidentally, is free.
The spa has an indoor pool, a jacuzzi, sauna, steam room, a gym and six treatment rooms, three of which have outdoor massage areas. The hotel can also assist with cultural visits around Majorca, walking tours, privata yoga classes, donkey trails, ballooning and helicopter rides. The village has some excellent restaurants – in July and August, you should book ahead.
As well as 67 rooms and suites, they offer The Villa, a short walk from the hotel, which has three double bedrooms.
Rooms start from around 250 euros a night. La Residencia offer a three-day tennis break, which includes accommodation, breakfast, one dinner, three hours of private tennis lessons (including one hour of video lessons and Dartfish analysis) and a tennis-themed gift. Note, however, that this is not available between 1 July and 15 September.