The pine-covered peninsular of Formentor is the most northerly point on Mallorca. A dramatic landscape where the Serra de Tramuntana drops into the Mediterranean, it’s long been famed for its solitude and pretty, secluded beaches. Some of the island’s most successful families own the handful of high-end villas in both contemporary and traditional style which overlook the glittering sea in the bay of Formentor.
During the summer months, many of the island’s most spectacular superyachts drop anchor off the coast of Formentor. Access for those not on boats is along 13.5km road which wriggles its way from Puerto Pollensa to Cap de Formentor. It was built by the Italian engineer Antonio Parietti who also constructed the famous snake road which runs through the mountains to Sa Calobra.
The peninsular has long attracted the rich and famous. Today, it’s home to some of the most expensive villas on the island, some of which are perched on the side of the cliffs with their own direct access to the sea below. Demand for these unique seafront houses remains strong particularly for those seeking seclusion and somewhere to enjoy the spectacular views along Mallorca’s north coast.
Once the entire peninsular was owned by the poet Miquel Costa i Llobrera who was born in Pollensa. His family summered in Formentor each year and one of his most famous works, El Pi de Formentor, was inspired by the landscape. When he died various tracts of the land were sold off. One was bought by an Argentinian named Adan Diehl who went on to construct the Hotel Formentor. It opened in 1929 quickly established itself as one of the grande dame hotels in the Mediterranean.
Set in a private estate of 3,000 acres and within beautifully-landscaped gardens it has a lustrous history of hosting celebrity guests. One of the first was Winston Churchilll who stayed in room 222; today guests can stay in the same room although his bed has been kept for posterity by the Diehl family.
All eyes turned to Formentor in April 1956 when the most famous newlyweds at that time spent their honeymoon on their yacht off the peninsular: Prince Rainier and Grace Kelly. The visit caused a stir and one local businessman, who owned a biscuit factory, fell for the Hollywood beauty during a chance meeting in a Mallorca vineyard. He even named his biscuits after Grace, calling them "Quelly", which is pronounced "Kelly" in Spanish—they are eaten all over the island today. Other famous guests include Charlie Chaplin, F Scott Fitzgerald, Sir Lawrence Olivier and Sir Peter Ustinov.
Today, one of the cultural highlights of the summer season in Mallorca is hosted in Formentor. The Formentor Sunset Classics, a series of summer concerts by some of the most famous names in the world of classical music, is held in the grounds of the Hotel Formentor. Dubbed "Glyndebourne-on-Sea", the setting is an outdoor stage within the gardens of the hotels where guests sit and listen to the music underneath the stars. In the six years since it was established, stars such as Daniel Baremboim and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa have performed in the concerts.
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