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Mallorca's Luxury Side Hidden From Plain View

Go inland to see the finer parts of Mallorca, the Spanish island known as a penny pincher's getaway.

LOS ANGELES (TheStreet) -- They call it "Mah-yor-kah" without a hint of any Ls.

Mallorca is one of Europe's top holiday destinations, a penny pincher's playground of package holidays that make some villages, such as Cala Ratjada and Magaluf, an Anglo-Germanic colony of quasi-pizzerias, schnitzel shops and all-inclusive mega-resorts booked on a two-week basis.

And then there's that other Mallorca, a sexy underworld of boutique hotels hidden in the island's interior where guests spend their day yachting to nearby Cabrera Islands or hitting a selection of organic and Michelin-star eateries.

Mallorca is an island of wild mountainous beauty. The 60-mile span across the island is regularly traveled on mopeds and three-wheelers by young couples. Taxis should be used liberally, with a rental car being a wise investment especially if traveling inland to where the most stylish hotels are located.

Currently the grand dames of Mallorca hotels include Son Brull and Orient Express' La Residencia. The latter is preferred by moneyed Americans, located in the northwest of the island near Deia village below the pine-covered Tramuntana Mountains far away from touristy madness.

La Residencia was once the private home of poet Robert Graves, now part of a 30-acre estate that includes an accompanying 17th-century villa. Today, rooms that defy the usual chain-hotel dimensions are captured in rustic spaces with beam ceilings, terracotta tile floors and airy, all-white furnishings that reflect a laid-back Mallorquin design. Days are spent by one of two swimming pools prone to preening trophy-wives or on arranged hikes with one of three "donkey guides" that accompany guests along nearby trails with well-packed gourmet picnics.

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For those looking for a more bohemian, but equally luxurious, hotel refuge, a trip to Can Simoneta is in order. The approach is nothing short of sublime. A field of coastal grasses with a hovering Mediterranean horizon is cut in half by a long, gravel driveway lined by 100-year-old olive trees.

A rambling farmhouse of century-old stone walls is enlivened by pastel shutters and cozy pergolas that frame an architectural swimming pool surrounded by long grass and white loungers. Rooms are creamy white spaces of soothing linen curtains and Venetian plaster ceilings with period wood detailing. A crowd dressed in Missoni bikinis and Hermes scarves scatters away from one another to maximize the hotel's secluded spa atmosphere, returning together for dinner at the communal terrace restaurant or a midnight dip in the cliff-top Jacuzzi.

There's a wide range of restaurants on Mallorca, from the 5-euro pizzerias crowded with families to five Michelin-star eateries that dot the island. The most-acclaimed and awarded eatery on Mallorca is Tristan Restaurant. From afar, this sophisticated harbor eatery feels a lot like the super-stylized restaurants of St. Tropez's waterfront, complete with crisp, white awning and rows of even-whiter 150-foot yachts in Palma, Mallorca's one real city.

A two- to six-course tasting menu dismisses any privy for trend, aside from the Versace plates it's served on. Instead, it constructs a meticulous formula of scampi carpaccio with passion fruit vinaigrette, homemade ravioli with curry-ginger sauce and braised blade of veal with truffle marrow dumplings.

For anyone staying at La Residencia, it would be quite easy to dine at the in-house El Olivo, which is known for its rising chefs and acclaimed tasting menu. But then you would miss the nearby villages' eateries, namely Es Raco des Teix in Deia. Helmed by the German chef Josef Sauerschell, who previously worked at Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons in Oxford, England, the menu changes every two weeks, with additional vegetarian options for dishes like sea bass in a creamy seafood risotto, locally sourced spring chicken with foie gras and truffles, and homemade desserts of almond parfait with pineapple carpaccio.

While not known for the nightlife scene of its more famously wild Balearic cousin Ibiza, the local outpost of Pacha couldn't even survive. Nightlife is geared more toward grownups. Bars and clubs worthy of a 12 a.m. outing, the starting time of most, are centered in Palma where just on the outskirts of town you'll find Puro Beach Club. Tanning scene by day and al dente dance club at night, it's a hot romp for the island's rich couples and eager singles who converge for all-day and all-night DJs. Afterwards, those who still have their dining vigor, hit El Divino and its all-white VIP room and dance floor that rages till 8 a.m.

Michael Martin is the managing editor of -- a luxury travel and lifestyle guide based in Los Angeles and London. His work has appeared in In Style, Blackbook, Elle, U.K.'s Red magazine, ITV and BBC.