Rachel Oldfield grew up in Majorca. Her parents had a second home here and every holiday was spent on the island, but since she began working for award-winning British luxury villa, boutique hotel and concierge company, Mr and Mrs Smith, here on the island, she has realised just how much we take the beauty and attractions of Majorca for granted.
Having spent most of her professional life working in publishing, advertising, public relations and the media in London’s Soho, for personal reasons she decided to turn her back on the big city and move to Majorca. She arrived just in time so that her daughter could be born on the island she first came to as a baby. Full circle perhaps.
And now Rachel is the client service manager for the London-based global luxury travel club which has offices in Los Angeles, New York and Singapore and she is loving the opportunity to rediscover all her old haunts and, more importantly, hunt out and track down all the new and exciting attractions and locations the island boasts.
Having worked on luxury yachts for some time, Rachel has a wealth of experience in looking after VIP luxury clients and catering for their every need and all that she has channelled into her latest adventure. "There’s a very Balearic feel to the roots of the company, the owners spent a lot of time here before going into business and got married in Majorca so, apart from all the other glorious destinations in which we work across the world, there is a special bond with the Balearics and we are looking to expand on that. We’re well established in Ibiza, growing here in Majorca and moving into Minorca.
"We don’t consider ourselves a tour firm but more a travel club and will find and provide whatever our guests desire and here in Majorca there is so much variety. The island really is so much more than a sun and sea destination during the traditional summer months. Obviously for some families, they are restricted or rather guided by school holiday dates etc. and obviously business commitments. Our aim is ‘to inspire people to stay in amazing places with people that you love’.
"And what is great about the Balearics is that each island has something so different to offer and we are already taking bookings and sourcing new villas to meet certain requirements for this summer. Ibiza tends to sell itself to a certain market, although perhaps here in Majorca we could do with a few of the island’s super cool beach clubs, but I have a feeling, based on my feedback from our offices around the world, that this is going to be a great year for the luxury top end VIP market in Majorca.
"Obviously the new rentals rules and regulations, zoning and 60 day limits etc. are complicating matters. It’s hard to really understand because the private villa market generates a great deal of money for the local economy and creates jobs. Each of our villas, which are very carefully sourced and are part of a select collection, employ at least ten people. From the gardener and pool cleaner to house staff, cooks, chauffeurs and the like. Moreover, our clients eat out at the best restaurants, visit the island, they love going to the local markets and discovering little bays and quaint ports etc., charter yachts and helicopters, we will provide or organise whatever they want. Hiring top private chefs is extremely popular at the moment, it’s all good for local business, so curtailing or capping it does not make much sense.
"Yes, I do agree that at the peak of the summer the island is pretty hectic. The giant cruise ships coming in carrying thousands of tourists and the all-inclusive market but, instead of trying to squeeze it, these markets should be better controlled. As a leading global holiday destination, Majorca needs to have something for everyone, otherwise people will just go elsewhere to find what they want.
"I think there is a lack of someone looking at the overall, global picture of the tourist industry here. And what we want to do is promote Majorca all year round. I am always suggesting to my guests that they perhaps come back out of season, May or September or over the winter. Not only is the island quieter, there are so many things to do. Hiking, cycling, visiting the vineyards, local restaurants, the fiestas and of course Palma. Just look at Saint Sebastian, it was amazing and people would just love that.
"We specialise in amazing places and experiences that people will fall in love with and want to come back to and there are so many unique events and locations here in Majorca. Like I said, I think to a certain extent, those who live here, like me, take Majorca too much for granted and one thing I love about my job is taking people out and about and seeing their reactions.
"Be it Olivar or Santa Catalina markets, for example, with their stalls and food outlets, people are amazed and have a great time sampling the local produce and it serves to remind me just how lucky we are to live here surrounded by all these glorious things which can be enjoyed all year round. We just need to educate people more about what Majorca has to offer all through the year.
"We do get a lot of repeat clients and multigenerational family holidays - grandparents, parents, children - and they all have different needs to be catered for. And with the yacht charter business now booming again, there is so much choice for people wishing to hire a yacht and cruise the Balearics. Majorca’s coastline is magnificent. I’ve done St. Tropez and the South of France and it’s got nothing on Majorca.
"The message is getting out there, that’s why I am looking forward to this season. Last year we had clients from the States, they came all this way for a week! I advised them to come for a bit longer next time. We had guests from New Zealand, Australia and India. We even had a large group of foodies from Brazil.
"I guess 70 per cent of our guests are from the UK but we’re continually branching out to the global top end of the market and it’s working. The island has so much variety and we aim to offer as much of that as possible. If our clients just want to chill, fine, but if they want some action, there is no way of getting bored in Majorca."
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