Ibiza has the beats and Mallorca has the bars, but Menorca is where you’ll find the heart of the Balearic islands. Villages of terracotta-tiled houses stud the hills, historic cities hug the coast and the long, languorous shoreline is dotted with thriving fishing villages as well as resort-thronged beaches. Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman conquerors imported the tradition of thermal baths, hammams and herbal massages to the islands, and Menorca’s spas are still going strong today.
The Thalis Spa at S’Hotelet des Born hints at Roman and Ottoman indulgence, with a pool tucked into a stone-walled chamber and bespoke treatments based on locally cultivated rosemary, lavender, almonds, olive oil, citrus fruit and aloe vera. The interior feels more like a hacienda than a hotel, with billowing white drapes, handmade furniture and natural wood lending an organic quality to the suites and bathrooms. A prime location in the historic heart of Ciutadella only adds to the appeal.
There are hints of Menorca’s historic architecture at this stylish, five-star resort set around a half-moon pool and a terracotta-tiled lobby pavilion. Rooms have filigree bedsteads, wooden trim and balconies gazing towards the pool but the deal-clincher is the spa, with its hydrotherapy pool, hot tubs and therapy rooms full of blue mosaic tiles that are kryptonite to stress. It’s set back from the shore at Cala en Bosc – a short walk from idyllic, sand-dusted coves.
It’s the combination of wellness and nature that leaps out at Torre Vella Fontenille Menorca. Low-lying and rustic, yet indisputably refined, this innovative retreat is set on a 740-acre (300ha) country estate, surrounded by vineyards, olive trees and wild Menorcan landscapes. In place of a business-like hotel spa, you’ll find a mineral pool scented by wild herbs on the breeze, cliff-side yoga classes and massages under oak trees. It’s extremely private, extremely intimate and extremely relaxing.
At graceful Hotel Can Faustino, windows open onto the historic heart of Ciutadella, and rooms have captivating quirks including tree-shaded patios, private pools and bathtubs on the terrace. It’s steps from the Catedral de Santa Maria de Ciutadella, but it still feels private, peaceful and exclusive thanks to the secluded garden and pool. Staying here would be therapeutic even without the spa, set in a natural grotto beneath the hotel, with a stone-roofed pool, steam room and sauna.
A head-turning, blue-shuttered townhouse in the historic port city of Mahón, Jardí de ses Bruixes is full of beautiful spaces. Arches open onto a tree-filled courtyard, breakfasts are served on shady terraces, and rooms are individual and personal, with just the right mix of period details and modern luxuries. The spa is a dream, with secret pools and therapy rooms set in stone vaults beneath the hotel and a long-as-your-arm menu of treatments, massages and rituals inspired by Menorca’s herbal traditions.
Set in a handsome Mahón mansion, Casa Ládico lures couples who want a dose of luxury while they relax. The elegant rooms have soothing lighting and high ceilings, creating spaces where you can spread out and exhale. Imaginative use of Farrow & Ball colours adds to the modern-rustic mood, while the top-tier rooms have private terraces and roll-top bathtubs. The small, intimate spa is aimed at couples, with an aromatherapy pool, massage room and therapy showers designed for two.
Outdoor spaces are important at this sleek, adults-only resort facing the marina at Cala en Bosc. Rooms, suites, bungalows and villas have balconies and terraces that draw the eyes over water, palms and bobbing yachts. The rustic-chic Suites del Lago have day-beds floating in a saltwater pool, while the Casas del Lago rooms are full of soft furnishings in Balearic blue. There’s a fully-equipped hydro-spa and a cycling centre, so you can work up a sweat before checking in for a massage.
Set in a palatial country villa that could have been plucked from a Vogue cover shoot, Hotel Menorca Experimental makes a statement. Surrounded by vast grounds, this imposing, 19th-century finca (ranch) has been ravishingly updated, with fabrics and design details that transform the rooms into three-dimensional Miró paintings. Found objects fill alcoves, rounded arches reveal private spaces and the best rooms have their own stone-walled outdoor pools. The intimate, soothingly silent spa has therapies devised by French skincare specialists Biologique Recherche.
Soft, tactile surfaces and fabrics with wildlife motifs set the scene at Milan-chic Hotel Sant Roc, which spills over two mansions in the sprawling lanes behind Mahón harbour. There’s a bistro that’s great for romantic gazing and a private, peaceful spa with a sauna, steam bath, jacuzzi, Turkish baths and cold water showers hidden away in the stone vaults below the hotel. The hotel scores top marks for maximising privacy amid the thick of things in the old centre.