In rhythm with the tides, the yacht “Nixe” swayed in the waters of the Mediterranean as she approached the coast of Mallorca. On board was her owner, Duke Luis Salvador of Austria, a nature lover, adventurer and scholar. It must have been during the sunset at the end of a glorious sunny day that the Duke, from a distance, began to see the landscape of Mallora which appeared before him and would bewitch him. The year was 1867.
The inhabitants of Mallorca would have found it difficult to comprehend that this man, a nobelman, an intellectual – who walked through hundred-year old olive groves and found pleasure in gazing forlornly at the sea, at the vista of the wild, rocky and magical peninsula of Sa Foradada, and to indulge in fishing with the locals – that he would be a pioneer of tourism for the island. The Duke was so fascinated by the area that he purchased a large number of properties. Several of them are today of cultural interest.
In the mountainous regions of Deià and Valldemossa, Luis Salvador of Austria bought various mansions direct on the coast. We are turning our attention to just two of them however.
SON MARROIG, the most beautiful and heavenly acquisition that he executed and one of the most privileged vantage points on the coast of Mallorca, is found at the end of Deià. From here it is possible to appreciate the peace of the Mediterranean, the sunset and the heavenly beauty of the sun in the twinkling seawater, which the cliffs of Sa Foradada overshadow. As Luis Salvador of Austria bought this estate, it included the 68 hectars and castle and the escarpment „La Foradada“, which owed its name to the erosion which unpredictable nature has created. One of the most notable architectural features of Son Marroig is the tower, which served as defense and to protect the houses from attacks by bandits. The Duke renovated the property by installing large windows which came from a ruin and extended the whole side to the north-east. It was carried out in the style of this region of Mallorca, but with italian influence. It is of course impossible to speak of Son Marroig without mentioning it´s famous gazebo. This is a small temple made of Carrara marble. The gazebo is found at a strategic point in the estate and imparts a feeling of majestic peace.
Next to Son Marroig, at the end of the town of Valldemossa, is MIRAMAR. This residence included the Monastery of Miramar, which was built in 1276 on the orders of Ramon Llull, who wanted to teach oriental languages there. And this is where the Duke welcomed all his friends to show them the beauty of the island which he had fallen in love with. His friends and guests in Miramar can be regarded as the first tourists to Mallorca. For example, it became a custom that his friend – Queen Sissi – became one of the visitors to the island. Miramar had an authentic “tafona”, an olive press. The Lord arranged that the Library, the Hall, the Moorish Tower and the gazebo, which gave a wonderful view of the sea, would be reinstated. Further down in the direction of the port of Valldemossa, on the left, is the Palace S´Estaca where the Duke´s lover lived and today belongs to Michael Douglas and his ex-wife Diandra.
Luis Salvador of Austria was a luxury tourist to Mallorca, but a true lover of it too. As owner of the best properties, he never closed the paths and opened them also for the pleasure walkers; and he didn´t close his doors, no, he opened them for those who wanted to enjoy the tranquillity, beauty and the exquisiteness of this island.