Majorca Hotel

A world-class balmy refuge

La Residencia's slogan—"your revenge on everyday life"—could have been coined by a sun-addled adman, but the Relais & Châteaux property makes good on it. Located 45 minutes from the Palma airport in the north-coast Majorcan village of Deia, the hotel's stone-clad buildings are in perfect harmony with the setting of limestone crags, ancient terraces, and citrus and olive groves.

The improvements wrought by Richard Branson since he bought the hilltop property in 1987 have made "La Res" a celebrity haven; Tom Hanks and Sting are among those who've followed the lead of Deia's expat artists and writers—most notably Robert Graves, who wrote I, Claudius here. Along with three converted manor houses dating from the 16th to 17th centuries are two simpatico additions, one a building containing guestrooms. The other—which opened last year—is a 50-foot heated pool cum sauna, steam room, gym, and spa café. The wood-beamed guest quarters (most with sleek white-marble bathrooms) are furnished with antiques, handcrafted Majorcan beds, fresh fruit, and flowers. Most lavish are the three suites that each have their own private pool. For star-caliber seclusion, choose tucked-away number 67.

La Residencia offers tennis with a resident pro on floodlit courts, golf on area courses, a cove-sheltered beach, a small salon featuring Virgin Touch spa and beauty treatments, and sumptuous food in the restaurant, El Olivo. A world-class balmy refuge, this. $243-$1,004. 07179 Deia, Spain; 800-225-4255, 34-971-639-011;