Finding the Rich & Famous in Mallorca

With over 300 days of sunshine a year, stunning scenery, chic boutiques, excellent restaurants and a luxurious, laid-back lifestyle to boot, it’s no wonder the rich and famous flock to the pretty island of Mallorca. Angela Sara West gives an insight to the island’s exclusive celebrity world. Prince Rainier and Princess Grace honeymooned here, Michael Douglas courted Catherine Zeta-Jones on the island, J-Lo experienced a wardrobe malfunction in the capital and Sharon and Kelly Osbourne were thrown off a nudist beach for refusing to strip! It’s a celebrity favourite for holidays and snapping up a property, with the Beckhams among those recently falling for its charms. As an established playground for the elite, Mallorca also appeals to the likes of Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson and Jennifer Aniston, attracted to the glamorous jet-set lifestyle, outstanding natural beauty and colourful culture. Summer sees an influx of celebs to Mallorca, where Hollywood heavyweights and illustrious icons mingle with Spanish stars. Having long been a draw for the rich and famous seeking solace in the sun, among the earliest to arrive was the composer Frédéric Chopin, famously spending a winter here in 1838. The list of high-profile stars recently spotted goes on-and-on… Goldie Hawn, Eva Longoria, Sting, Joan Collins, Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffiths to name a few. For big British names, the island’s accessibility is part of the appeal, with a short flying-time of just two hours from the UK. A separate terminal’s been built for private jets, while EasyJet opened up Mallorca to soap stars like Shane Ritchie, who jump on a plane after filming on Friday, heading back to the studio on Monday. In fact, the island itself has become increasingly popular for filming and there are excellent facilities for film production at the studio in Marratxi. The Bafta-nominated drama series ‘Mad Dogs’, starring Max Beesley, was shot here on location in Pollensa and Sóller. Hot Hangouts So where can you guarantee a glimpse of the A-list’s glitzy lifestyle? Many of the glamorous residents who’ve opted for a slice of Mallorcan magic choose to remain in the privacy of their villas and grounds, but you may spot a star soaking up the sun on the fine, white sands of protected, part-naturalist and undeveloped beach Es Trenc. To avoid the public eye, the glitterati also take to the water, cruising the dramatic coastline of crystal-clear waters in search of a secluded bay or stunning beach such as Mondrago.   bigstock-Majorca-sAmarador-beach-Amarad-85258304 The best place to spot a star’s holiday home (afloat!) is the luxury marina of Puerto Portals, where Paris Hilton goes to party and big names like Jim Carrey, Jenson Button and Bill Gates moor their gin-palaces alongside trendy VIP bars, prestigious restaurants and designer shops. Rod Stewart rocks up on his yacht here and designer Valentino often moors up with a bevy of models and actresses and once hosted Gwyneth Paltrow on his yacht The Big Blue.Julio Iglesias used to own an apartment in this exclusive postcode and, as one of the most popular haunts on the island for the elite, the chic Moorish-style Karma bar has been graced by Brad Pitt, while regulars include Julian Lennon, Alex and Callum Best, Sid Owen and Jamie and Louise Redknapp. EastEnder’ Steve McFadden (Phil Mitchell), who’s gone into partnership with the bar, says he absolutely adores Mallorca: “My love of boats and the sea is well-documented, so to have all that by day and enjoy the friendly, stylish scene we have out here in Karma by evening is, for me, the perfect combination.” Cilla Black frequently stays at a 5-star hotel nearby and Cat Deeley also loves hanging out here. The Michelin-starred restaurant, Tristán and the flash St. Regis Mardavall, favoured by The Rolling Stones and Jim Kerr from Simple Minds are hotspots, while Wellies is the place to be seen sipping a cappuccino next to the King of Spain. A-list celebs vie for the best spot for their yacht on the so-called Wellies Quay, where some of the best moorings come in at over £1million. Tara Palmer-Tompkinson’s uxury yacht probably has the top spot, while Anthea Turner’s £1million Sunseeker ‘Imagine’ also has a prime position directly alongside. Port de Mallorca and Club de Mar are also superyacht havens. Look out for ‘Limitless’, the 90-metre yacht which is the pride and joy of owners of US fashion chain Victoria’s Secret, Eddie Jordan owns £10.9million ‘The Snapper’, while ‘Lady Beatrice’ belongs to the Barclay brothers. You may also spot business mogul, Philip Green,cruising the coast on his £20million yacht ‘Lionheart’. The royal summer residence overlooking the bay of Palma, the Marivent Palace, is the scene for society parties. King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sophia welcomed US First Lady Michelle Obama and her daughter Sasha at the Palace in summer 2010. Mallorca enjoys a thriving yachting scene and the Breitling Regatta is a top-class sailing event attended by the Spanish royal family. Sea-loving Juan Carlos is often spied setting sail from the capital’s Yacht Club aboard his vessel, Fortuna and Port Adriano has recently undergone a major revamp, with a new breakwater and 82 new berths for lengths up to 60 metres. The French industrial designer, Philippe Starck was commissioned for the new commercial facilities and major superyachts have already reserved their spaces here. Fine Wining & Dining  For cool cocktails, head to one of the city’s most extravagant watering holes. Tucked away behind heavy, wooden doors in the heart of the old town lies an opulent, not-to-be-missed hidden treasure. This well-kept secret is one of the island’s most unusual, over-the-top bars and is nothing less than a lavishly-decorated spectacle, overflowing with displays of fresh fruit and flowers. Often used as a decadent film set, Bar Abaco is the perfect venue for star-spotting so make sure you sneak a peek while you’re here. For a taste of the island’s fantastic gastronomy, secure a spot at restaurants like Claudia Schiffer’s favourite, La Cuchara, try Chopin, a winner with the Douglas’s or head to the Santa Catalina area, where Rod Stewart discreetly dines. Sa Cranca is the place to head for the best paella in town. One of Spain’s most famous chefs, Marc Fosh serves the best Menú del día in the city at his pocket-friendly restaurant Simply Fosh, housed in the Refectori of the 17th-century Hotel Convent de la Missió in the old town. Andrew Lloyd-Webber describes Michelin-starred Marc’s modern, yet simple cuisine with big flavours as ‘up there with the best on the island’ and our delicious, leisurely lunch alfresco in the beautiful internal courtyard here obviously impressed my boyfriend (and now husband) so much that he was inspired to propose later that evening in front of the city’s imposing cathedral! In the mood for dancing the night away? Pacha’s the place to rub shoulders with the A-list on the VIP dancefloor, or try Tito’s or the Virtual Club. Hot Hotels Mallorca now boasts no less than 35 5-star hotels. Sophisticated Palma is home to top hotels like elegant Hotel Tres, classy Palacio Ca Sa Galesa and the magnificent Castillo Hotel Son Vida, whose past guests include David Niven, Steve McQueen and Brigitte Bardot. The Hospes Maricel is a hotspot for A-listers, Bill Clinton and his daughter, Chelsea, among them. David Schwimmer and Jade Jagger are just a couple of the numerous well-known names on the past guestlist at restored 14th-century palace, Puro Hotel, situated on the capital’s coastline. Although not quite a beach, The Puro Beach Club, the hotel’s ‘lifestyle-concept-hangout-by-the-sea’, complete with black Balinese pebble-pool, spa, yoga and sofas in an exotic setting, transformed into a candlelit nightclub by night, is the summer spot. Just down the coast, the Portofino Urban Sea Hotel in Ciudad Jardin is another hotspot. Follow in the footsteps of Chaplin and Churchill at the famous Hotel Formentor. This northern area of the island around Pollensa attracted the glitterati in the 50’s… Alec Guinness, Peter Ustinov (whose daughter now lives in the South West of the island), Ava Gardner, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. The Ivy Garden restaurant in Puerto Pollensa is frequented by the likes of Liam Gallagher.     Take the twisting roads to the hilltop village of Deià, affording stunning views of the sparkling Med, punctuated with traditional whitewashed villages to La Residencia hotel. Formerly owned by Sir Richard Branson, stars including Princess Diana, Harrison Ford, George Lucas, Patsy Kensit, Denise Van Outen and Bob Geldof have all hung out here. Robbie Williams and Ayda Field spent a week here before getting married. The singer serenaded his fiancée over dinner at the hotel’s gourmet restaurant, El Olivo which, along with the Son Moragues tapas restaurant and the S’Afareix fresh fish and salad Mediterranean restaurant, is now open to non-residents so make sure it’s on your to-do list. With the emphasis now very much on health and fitness, the hotel’s spa was recently voted the best spa in Spain in the Condé Nast Traveller reader’s poll. Hot Property Owning a property on the idyllic isle’s seen as something of a status symbol and many stars enjoy a low-profile life of luxury in secluded, hillside homes, 5-star resorts or picturesque fishing villages. Deià’s desirable due to its tranquility amid olive and orange groves. The northern and western areas are popular with those seeking solitude along rocky shorelines dotted with isolated coves and beaches, many accessible only by sea. Jan Westwood from The Property Finders says Mallorca’s continuing to go upmarket: “Big names don’t necessarily want big, exclusive properties. They often want understated or character properties, providing a complete contrast from their day-to-day lifestyle elsewhere.” Politician-turned-author, Jeffrey Archer bought a plot of land in a quiet area with sea views just south of Palma city on the coast and built a traditionally Spanish villa there in order to pen his latest novel undisturbed by paparazzi. Michael Douglas formerly owned a cultural centre here and has worked alongside the Balearic government as an ambassador promoting tourism on the island. Valldemossa has been home to his grand S’Estaca estate for decades: “Mallorca has always been a magical place for my family and myself,” he tells me. “The breathtaking landscapes, the spirit, warmth and generosity of the local people place Mallorca high on my list of places to spend time. I come to love the culture and simplicity of  the lifestyle.” A magnet for musicians, Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber worked on ‘The Woman in White’ at his coastal finca in Deià and rocker Suzi Quatro has a contemporary holiday hideaway in Bendinat and cites the island’s natural beauty, tranquility and low crime rate among her reasons for buying here: “Mallorca’s very pretty and feels safe to me. You have a choice of noise or total quiet,” she explains. When she needs time out from her hectic schedule of relentless touring, Suzi says this island’s just the ticket: “We get to relax, get the sun, go to restaurants like Koldo Royo (the best food on the island!) and Tahini, and shop in Palma. It’s a place to unwind.” Clare Sweeney purchased a property near Puerto Portals, and Pierce Brosnan is another celebrity homeowner on the island, while ex-boxerNigel Benn invested in a luxury villa in Santa Ponsa, Selina Scott’s finca is in the foothills of the Sierra Tramuntana: “Mallorca somehow retains a certain character,” she explains. Each year, it attracts the Spanish royal family and celebrities follow who fall in love with the place and stay.” Tennis star, Rafael Nadal, lives in Manacor in the east of the island while Julian Clary owns a property near Puerto d’Andratx in the South West of the island. With a unique, year-round micro climate, it’s also second home to Michael Schumacher and some of the island’s best golf courses, attracting golf fan, Claudia Schiffer: “Mallorca’s the most beautiful place,” she tells me. “It’s idyllic, romantic and peaceful with an amazing coastline, wild mountain landscapes, friendly people and excellent food. One can exercise doing numerous trekking and cycling routes between Manacor and Llucmajor and in the spring, enjoy the incredible blossoming almond trees. Every time I visit, it becomes a special memory for me.” Despite already owning a property in Andratx, to escape the intrusive lens of the ever-demanding snapper, Claudia had a £6million ‘paparazzi-proof’ luxurious hilltop estate built in Camp de Mar. But security and privacy come at a premium – Claudia bought the entire mountain!. Although she sold this property, Claudia still visits the island regularly and plays at the Andratx course at Camp de Mar, a hangout for another keen golfer, Boris Becker. In fact, Mallorca’s fairways, such as the stunningly scenic Real Golf De Mallorca Andratx Bendinat, are very much fair play when it comes to spotting a star practising their swing. Everyone from Patsy Palmer and Jasper Carrott to David Beckham to Jack Nicholson have been spotted teeing-off on the island’s championship courses. For stars seeking tranquility in an authentic Mallorcan atmosphere, like Annie Lennox, whose house is high up in the mountains near Esporles, sleepy villages nestled in verdant valleys are the answer. Boris Becker’s £10million estate Son Coll in Artà boasts a heliport, 6-car garage, stables and, of course, the tennis court with ‘Rebound Ace’, a surface used in the Australian Open (the net and supports are directly from the principal court at Wimbledon): “The most fascinating thing about Mallorca for me is the country life… the landscape, vegetation and my finca, which is in a quiet, rural location,” he tells me. “It’s just like a ranch. When I’m there I feel like a cowboy – just like John Wayne!” It’s a six-week celebrity season here in Mallorca and all goes quiet at the end of August. So, now you know where to go, you’re practically guaranteed to spot at least a C-list celeb, but you don’t always have to seek them out – sometimes the celebrities bump into you in the most unlikely of places so be sure to don your star-spotting shades at all times.. Happy star spotting! ■  

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