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TENNIS LOVER'S GUIDE TO MALLORCA


Mallorca Championships 2023

The Mallorca Championships at Mallorca Country Club, June 2023


The Mallorca Championships has been part of the grass court swing for the past three years. It's an ATP 250 Tournament, hosted at the Mallorca Country Club. Offering prize money over 900K Euros, a beautiful setting, and a short flight from London, this tournament attracts some of the highest ranking players on tour, and it's pretty great for the fans as well.


Mallorca Championships takes place between the Cinch Championships at Queens Club in London and Wimbledon. It's a perfect add-on for a trip to London and you're able to catch a big chunk of the grass court season.





Getting There: Where I Stayed and Why


Mallorca was the second stop abroad after visiting London. From London, I took a flight on Iberia Airlines from Heathrow to Palma de Mallorca. It was around two hours and a very easy flight. From the sky, the Mallorcan landscape is stunning. I was surprised to see so much agricultural land. Groves of olive, carob, almond, and citrus trees cover the landscape. It reminded me of the central coast of California- waves crashing on steep cliffs along the coast, and acres of farmland. It's serene.


The airport was very easy to navigate. The signs are posted in Spanish and English. There were lots of British and German tourists at the airport, and surprisingly, lots of babies. It must be a great family summer vacation spot. Picking up a taxi outside the airport was also very easy and reasonable.



I spent some time researching hotels in the Santa Ponsa area in the southwestern region of the island, because that is where the tournament is held. The Kimpton Aysla is a brand new hotel (less than two years old), chic, and modern, and most importantly, right across from the Mallorca Country Club where the Championships are held. It's definitely more expensive than other hotels in the area, but after much contemplation, I decided it was the best choice. It's beautiful! When we arrived at the hotel, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and his coaches were walking from the parking lot to the tennis venue and I thought, "This is going to be awesome!"



The hotel gave crazy White Lotus vibes, which we loved. It was surprisingly quiet. The only other patrons seemed to be players and coaches. We were all pretty hungry after our flight so we had dinner on the outdoor patio of the hotel restaurant. While we were eating, Feliciano Lopez, his wife, and a photographer came out on the patio for a little impromptu photo shoot. I'm always so conflicted when I see players. Part of me wants to be crazy fan girl, but I also try to respect that they're just trying to live their lives. When I later saw mobs of people flipping out as he walked into the venue, I thought, I could've at least said hello. Opportunity lost!


The hotel staff is so great, especially the guys in the bar. Davíd from Italy took care of us several times throughout our stay and he was so patient with my bad Spanish. We loved joking with him and the other guys. They made the best Moscow Mule, with soft chewy ice, I had a few of them after long days of watching tennis.




The hotel is very close to Santa Ponsa Beach. I'd wake up early each morning, walk the 1.5 miles down the hill to the beach and back. Then I'd walk up to the fitness center which is beautifully equipped with anything you would need to get a good workout in. The Peloton bikes, free weights, and yoga studio are all brand new. They also have a beautiful indoor pool.



The hotel breakfast is pretty incredible with local Mallorcan specialties, English breakfast options, and pastries. One of my favorite local specialties is called ensaimada. They're a warm, yeast-based cake, they are delicious!



First Impressions: Modest and Magical


Like lots of island communities, Mallorca's beauty lies in the land itself, and its people. Although I personally didn't get to explore the islands picturesque beaches, they're the main attraction. Unlike resort destinations in Mexico or the Caribbean where the local communities are somewhat impoverished, the Mallorcan communities (at least the ones I observed), are modest, but not unpleasant. From what I've learned from various sources, Spain is a wonderful place to be if you have money, it's not a great place to be if you need to make money. Mallorca is a very popular destination for Europeans to own vacation homes. This influx of outside wealth can raise housing prices and make it difficult for locals to purchase homes. I also learned from a local that Mallorca is a popular place for large outside business endeavors. For example, Hyatt Hotels started a large project on the island, that was later abandoned, leaving a big box eyesore. The government doesn't have proper regulations preventing this type of economic disruption. Like many resort destinations, it seems to be mismanaged as the expense of the local communities; however, it seems like a beautiful, simple life. You won't find excessive signs of wealth like expensive cars, clothes etc. from the local community. What you do see of the lavish nature is all from visitors.


I found the local community beautiful, kind, hardworking, and so proud of their beautiful home.


Who Would Love This Tournament?


TENNIS LOVERS. What I've realized over the past couple of years that I've been attending more tournaments, is that the smaller tournaments are so much better from a fan perspective. You're able to get up close and personal with some of the most accomplished tennis players in the world. As an American in Spain, it was especially fun to see how casually the American players walk around, don't get bombarded by fans like they would at larger tournaments. I followed Ben Shelton and his dad to the venue one day, walked past Chris Eubanks and his girlfriend another day. I thought it was quite cool. Paula Badosa and Stefanos Tsisipas were everywhere, as was Feli Lopez, and Rafa made a special appearance to watch Feli play one of the final matches of his career.


Mallorca is a tennis lovers dream. Mild weather year round and myriad tennis facilities make Mallorca a great spot for tennis training. The island's most notable player, Rafael Nadal grew up in Manacor, a town on the eastern side of the island. The Club Tenis Manacor, where Rafa grew up playing is still operating. It's a modest tennis facility that looks as though it's never been upgraded. The chainlink fencing is worn and weathered. I was surprised by its shabbiness. Perhaps it's because the Rafa Nadal Tennis Academy is sleek, modern, and state of the art. The contrast was actually quite impactful to see. One of the most accomplished tennis players in the world came from such humble beginnings. His tennis facility is very impressive. I'd love to spend some time there! In the summer, during the peak season, there is a minimum stay requirement, so keep that in mind if you're thinking of attending a camp there.


FOOD LOVERS. One of the most incredible parts about visiting Spain is the food. Fresh seafood, paella, tapas, and wine are plentiful. We picked up bottles of wine from the local market and were surprised that most of them were under 5 Euros, and were delicious! If you're a foodie, you'll love Mallorca. Fresh food markets, great restaurants, and lots of options for wine tasting are all over the island.


BEACH LOVERS. If you love the beach, it goes without saying, you'll love Mallorca. It's picturesque beach towns are Instagram worthy, and most are accompanied by small shops, restaurants, and beach excursion options.



PARTY ANIMALS. Although I didn't get wild and crazy, the nightlife is super popular. Big tourist beaches like Magaluf are full of day and night clubs that are packed with visitors celebrating summer break, bachelor and bachelorette parties, and enjoying the scenery.



ART & HISTORY LOVERS. Mallorca has an incredibly rich history dating back centuries. The Catederal de Mallorca is one of the largest tourist attractions on the island. We walked through the narrow cobblestone streets from Mercat de Olivar to the Catederal and there are lots of churches and buildings that have been there for years. Traveling through the UK and Europe really helps you understand just how new the United States is. I would love to spend a few days just exploring old buildings and art museums.


Hits and Misses: What was awesome? What sucked?


HITS


Tennis. The Mallorca Championships was amazing! Great food, great seats, great viewing options, it was all incredible. The only thing I would recommend is splurging for VIP tickets. The VIP ticket gives you access to a restaurant overlooking Grand Stand court and offers a nice reprieve from the heat of the day. It gets very hot and humid, and it would've been nice to pop in the VIP area to grab a snack and cool off. I had stadium seats for the week, but didn't have access to the VIP area, and I was mad envious! When purchasing stadium tickets, try to get seats on the west side of the stadium. It gets shaded in the afternoon which is so nice. The seats along the north and east sides get blasted with midday sun and it's pretty brutal. Bring lots of sunscreen, a hand fan, and a refillable water bottle.


Hotel. I can't say enough about the Kimpton Aysla, it's the only place I'd consider staying if I were to go to the tournament again. Consider it White Lotus Mallorca.


MISSES

Guided Tour. I had high hopes for a guided tour that I set up months in advance. I heard an interview with the tour guide on a podcast and learned that they were originally from California, but have lived in Spain for a long time. I thought, "perfect," they'll be familiar with American expectations and can provide a local perspective. I don't like to say bad things about people or businesses, but I will say this was not a good value or experience. It cost almost 600 Euros and I left without any real local insights. It was super disappointing.


American Express. I like to use American Express exclusively when I travel internationally, because I don't have to pay foreign transaction fees, and I like to build points and use it for travel. Most of the small shops and restaurants didn't accept American Express. I didn't bring a lot of Euros, so we burned through our cash rather quickly. Be prepared to use Visa or Mastercard or cash. Fortunately, the Mallorca Championships and our hotel accepted Amex, so that was nice.



The Final Score: Mallorca is for (tennis) lovers.

I can't say enough good things about my trip to Mallorca. The island is packed with opportunities for tennis fans to play, train, and watch tennis. The beach lifestyle and fresh food makes for a very simple, lovely place to be.


If you have any questions about my trip, please send me a message! I love talking tennis and travel with you! Don't forget to save my Mallorca Guide on Instagram for future reference.


XOXO,

Val


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