A break that’s good for body and mind is just a few hours away, as managing editor Yvonne Martin discovered on a short trip to Menorca.
Lying in the warm sunshine while taking in a magnificent sea view; walking around a beautiful, historic town; relaxing into a reviving massage – a short stay on the beautiful island of Menorca is a great way to recharge your batteries.
We stayed near the capital Mahon – a beautiful historic town opening out onto a wide harbour. Four days of great food, sunshine and relaxation is the perfect recipe for a restorative break and you can fly there in just over two-and-a-half hours.
Read on to find out how a short break in the sun really can do you a power of good…
An Ocean Motion
Listening to the sound of the ocean is one of the best ways to unwind, and there is some research to say that when you listen to the waves, the same neurons light up in your brain as when you’re in deep meditation, so finding a quiet spot to enjoy the experience is a relaxing way to while away some time. Getting out onto the water is also a treat when you’re by the coast, so why not try a catamaran trip. I enjoyed getting aboard the big yellow vessel in Mahon port, which took us on a leisurely journey around the harbour – one of the biggest natural harbours in the world. It’s a great way to find out a bit more about the history of the area and halfway through the journey, the catamaran pauses so you can go down and view the sealife through the glass bottom of the vessel – delightful.
Find out more about the catamaran trips, which cost €12.50, at yellowcatamarans.com.
Unwind and Restore
With a bit of time to yourself on holiday you can add to the general relaxation with a targeted treatment at the wellbeing centre at the Barceló Hamilton. The spa at the hotel is calm and peaceful. They offer a good variety of treatments from classic massage styles to volcanic stone therapy and Hawaiian techniques, which restore energy while relaxing you. I tried a classic massage, which left me fragranced with oils and my normally aching shoulders feeling relaxed. Why not try something specifically local by sampling the Menorca Wine Experience? This uses products made with wine from the island, to give toning, firming and antioxidant effects.
Good Mood Food
Fish and seafood are great sources vitamins and minerals that are essential for the production of neurotransmitters, which influence how you think and feel. So what more reason do you need to chill out and try the great array of dishes on offer at the Mercado De Pescados – fish market to you and me – in the centre of Mahon? Walk through the metal gates and turn left to see a vast array of fresh fish for sale. It’s worth a look even if you’re not looking to buy something to cook yourself. But if you want something to snack on there and then, simply turn right into the tapas area where you can browse the stalls and select anything from paella to prawns, and much more besides – all beautifully presented. Order a chilly drink and sit back at one of the tables to eat your tasty morsels in the central courtyard and watch the world go by.
Sun, Sea and Serenity
The Barceló Hamilton in Es Castell near Mahon is a real treat from the moment you get there. Simply standing in the gleaming foyer taking in the panoramic view of the sea gets your stay off to a great start. Add to that friendly staff and great attention to detail and you’ve got a wonderful base from which to explore the area. It’s an adults only hotel, so if you would rather not encounter lively children in the pool and want a quiet retreat with a friend or partner, this place is just the thing. There are two restaurants at the hotel. The larger of the two is the setting for delicious, fresh and varied buffet-style breakfasts, while the smaller Sa Cova venue is a great place for an intimate and special dinner. A typical menu there started with scallops, followed by a honeyed seafood rice main course and a dessert of white chocolate soup with yogurt and raspberry sorbet. All were beautifully presented, light and delicious.
The rooftop terrace is a relaxing place to enjoy the sunshine while taking in the awesome sea view, but if you’re feeling more energetic and keen to keep up with your exercise there are two swimming pools to try and a gym. There’s also a floatarium that feels like you’re stepping into a cave – not for everyone, but a good place to cool down from the heat!
Rates at Barceló Hamilton in Mahon start from €96, based on two sharing on a B&B basis including taxes. To book: visit barcelohamiltonmenorca.com or call +34 971 362 050
Leisure airline, Monarch, operates flights to Mahon from Birmingham, Leeds Bradford, London Gatwick, London Luton and Manchester airports with fares, including taxes, starting from £39 one way (£68 return)
For further information or to book Monarch flights, visit monarch.co.uk