The Hotel Formentor was once the flagship of the Mallorcan tourist industry. She featured in numerous promotion campaigns when tourism to Mallorca was in its infancy. Little now remains of the old building as the total redevelopment of the hotel, under new owners the Canadian Four Seasons Group, gets under way.

I don't think anyone can look at the site without feeling a touch of sorrow The old girl has gone or is going but most agree that she had become outdated and needed a complete overhaul. Built in an era when the Royal Navy's Mediterranean fleet would moor in the Bay with rows of battleships and cruisers filling the skyline, the Hotel Formentor will return as a modern luxury hotel. This doesn't disguise the fact that an icon in its old form has gone. I remember interviewing the late great Peter Ustinov at the hotel in the 1990s. It was his favourite and you could see why. I also remember scouting the bar area for photographs of the British fleet moored in the Bay of Pollensa in the 1930s. It was a bit of history and those photographs were displayed in the bar.

The development of the site is certainly proving controversial as you would expect. Four Seasons, probably quite rightly, have taken radical action to ensure that the Hotel Formentor remains one of the top hotels on the island, which will also be a major source of revenue for the Pollensa economy. But the total redevelopment means that a small link with the past has been lost. When you walked into the reception area, even in the 1990s, you could picture Winston Churchill wandering around the hotel cigar in mouth, or even Grace Kelly sitting on the terrace admiring the view. I sincerely hope that the new Hotel Formentor will seek to treasure these memories, because they are what made the Old Girl of Formentor so special.