5 Reasons to Book Your Holiday Early

Early Booking vs Last Minute

We get it, last minute discounts are very eye catching. Those big savings, prices in red, great value. They make you feel much wiser than those who paid full price almost a year before. But if you look a bit closer you might come to one conclusion: Late bookers don’t get to be choosers.

At Prestige Villas, we deal all the time with early booking enquiries and last minute enquiries and we can say from experience that those booking early get the ideal villa for their party and the best peace of mind.

Reason 1: What’s so great about booking early is that you get to pick from the crop. If your group are looking for something a little special, for example, a group of 10 or more, 2 weeks during peak season or something walking distance to town, then you’re more likely to find it when you put your mind to it early. Flights are still plentiful and often have good prices before the rest of folks catch on to booking.

Can Barbas
Fantastic holiday villa for the whole family. Sleeps 8 and has great entertainment – pool, jacuzzi, table tennis, PS3, Apple TV, Pizza oven and built in BBQ. Walking distance to the beach and restaurants in Puerto Pollensa.

Reason 2: The deposit for the majority of our properties is 25%, so that gives you enough time to save up bit by bit to pay off the balance two months before you arrive. Having this put away keeps the strain off in January, which is the normal booking period, but often when the purse strings are feeling the most squeezed because of Christmas.

Beautiful and tranquil villa just outside of Pollença. Great for 10 guests, such as one extended family or two families travelling together.

Reason 3: Don’t stress out trying to find the right place for you with just a few weeks notice. Do yourself a favour by getting everything booked and organised in plenty of time so you can organise the holiday that’s right for you and your party.

Walking distance into Puerto Pollensa. Recently renovated to give it a fresh and bright feel. Fantastic for eight guests.

Reason 4: And last but not least – you get to have something to look forward to! As the days tick by, you’ll be safe in the knowledge that your next holiday is already taken care of.

Ca Na Margalida
Quaint cottage in the countryside, halfway between Pollença and Puerto Pollensa.

Reason 5: Get the holiday itinerary sorted. If you book early, you’ll have plenty of time to do some research on the best places in the area to see. What restaurants are the most popular and what beaches are must visits. Reviews of restaurants, attractions, bars and shops are everywhere nowadays so go ahead and look building your ideal trip.

Mallorca has been voted third in the Telegraph’s ‘Top 10: summer holiday islands in Europe’ and is a favourite for many families as it’s ideal for children of all ages and is a well-established tourist destination, getting better and improving every year. At just two hours away from the UK and direct flights for most major airports, it’s a perfect choice. It’s not all about stag and hen parties in Magaluf, there’s so much more to Mallorca than that.

So to conclude, if you book early, you can safely save your desktop photo as the beach in Mallorca.

See the full collection of properties available to book online: take me away!

How to combat pre-flight nerves

Even the toughest amongst us can get a bit nervous when it comes to taking a flight. Regardless of if it’s a quick holiday flight, for a nervous traveller it can feel like forever. We’re not saying the following is gospel but after scouring the internet for top tips and tricks to make your flight go a little smoother, we think this ain’t a bad start.

Most likely we’ve all got a friend or family member nervous of their two hour flight to Mallorca, whether it’s the vocal worrier or the quiet and timid type, there is hope for them yet. After a good gander through various blogs and online sources, the same advice is coming up over and over again. So let’s get to it:

1. Avoid alcohol and coffee

For some reason budget airlines love the red eye, presumably to get us on holiday as fast as possible and to make our first day last, but what goes hand in hand with a bowl of cornflakes is a cup of tea or coffee. You’re best to give that a miss on the morning of your flight as the caffeine doesn’t do wonders to ones anxiety levels and can make the nerves feel a whole lot worse. As for alcohol, knocking back a few bevies right before sitting down for hours with limited leg space is not going to be your best friend either. Combining the pressure changes being up in the air and the alcohol can make you feel nauseous.

2. Sit near the front of the plane

Turbulence is a completely normal and safe experience on a plane but that doesn’t make it a pleasant feeling and the imagination mixed with nerves can quickly help your imagine play out a scene where the plane takes a nose dive or a sharp bank to the side. The best place to feel minimised effects of turbulence is at the front of the aircraft. With budget airlines now offering allocated seating, this can be a small price to pay. Another benefit of getting yourself at the front of the plane is you get to keep an eye on the flight attendants, if they’re not looking worried, you know everything is going as it should. The third and best bonus, you’ll be one of the first out of the plane and onto firm ground.

3. Breathe in, breathe out

It may sound silly, but your breathing can make a big difference to your overall peace of mind. Doctors recommend calm and deep breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth, the classic technique your school gym teachers used to tell you to do when you’d get out of breath running laps of the playing fields. If it helps keep your mind focused, you can imagine the air in your body is a coloured fluid passing right through your body. Still having trouble? Then start putting your mind to work and do the 7-4-8 breathing technique. How does it work? Well, that’s simple. Breathe in through your nose and count 4 seconds, hold it in for 7, then exhale through your mouth for 8 seconds. Repeat this three or four times and you should feel a bit more with it and zen.

4. Predict the predictable

If this isn’t your first flight, then the noises you hear on the plane will be familiar to you and they won’t be out of the ordinary. If you imagine your trajectory from beginning to end, the plane will taxi; prepare for take off, with lots of thrust to boot; it’ll wobble a bit until it gets to altitude; the landing gear will fold back into the plane; you’ll likely bank to steer the plane into the right direction. The rest should be fairly normal until landing, unless of course you stumble across some turbulence. Turbulence is just air fronts meeting, if you imagine a boat bobbing in the middle of two crossing wave sources, it’s the exact same thing, only we can’t see it, just feel it. Landing of course will introduce more noises and the landing gear engaging, then there is the final touch down, sometimes bumpy, other times smooth.

5. Light entertainment

If you are struggling to keep your mind focused, try to flick through the in-flight magazine or do a sudoku, something to keep the mind distracted without overloading it to work. If you’re struggling with how noisy the plane is, play a bit of quiet music or get yourself some ear plugs. The ear plugs help cut out the loud hum of the plane but still allow you to hear what’s going on.

For this article, we used the following sources: 1. http://twinsthattravel.com/top-5-tips-nervous-flyer/ 2. http://www.worldofwanderlust.com/tips-for-nervous-flyers/ 3. http://www.oncallinternational.com/blog/travel-cheat-sheet-month-7-stay-calm-tips-nervous-fliers/ & http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/11585755/Simple-4-7-8-breathing-trick-can-induce-sleep-in-60-seconds.html 4. http://www.womenontheirway.com/travel-talk/2014/07/the-nervous-flyers-handbook.php & http://www.airportparking.co.uk/fear-of-flying-ten-tips-for-nervous-flyers/

It’s hot, like, really hot

This year to date we’ve had some extremes in Mallorca, we had snow in February and a little heat wave in May and now here it is, the summer sun. The big light in the sky is on and it’s not cooling down anytime soon.

So far this summer we’ve reached temperatures of 30ºC during beautiful cloudless skies. What’s more, the evening temperatures are remaining high, according to the AEMET. Although we don’t necessarily need their fancy gadgets to tell us this, feeling warm enough in shorts and t-shirt at 11pm is fact enough.

We’ll be experiencing some Southerly winds blowing a coastal breeze over the next few days and according to eltiempo.es the temperatures will climb throughout this week. That makes a welcome change from last weeks rain showers and thunder storms. Roll on summer with it’s hot days and mild evenings.

Get the suntan lotion out, we’ll see you at the beach!

Kiteboarding School Chronicles – Part II

If you just tuned in, I am currently writing my first experiences on the art of Kiteboarding, you can read part one – Kiteboarding School Chronicles – Part I.

Let me get something off my chest here, I was a bit scared the first time I held the kite on my first day. The amount of security systems in my rig made me feel like a bit of an astronaut about to dive into the dangerous unknown. I also learnt in which parts of the wind window the kite would fly, and in which areas it would drag me along. There is nothing like experience and guidance to face this initial fear and there is no way that one should attempt learning this sport without supervision and educated advice from an instructor. I was taking my lessons with Mallorca Kiteboarding & SUP again.

Kite lesson
Me & Perico from Mallorca Kiteboarding & SUP
On my second day we headed out to the Port de Alcúdia beach, a beautiful wide open beach with white sand that was virtually available just for our selves and a handful of other kiters. After learning the basics about kite security and moving the kite outside of the power area, aka the neutral zone, it was time to dig into the fun stuff: being dragged about by the kite. The first exercise we practiced was body-dragging. You don’t need the board for this. What you do is you fly your kite in and out the power zone where it starts dragging you. It feels like riding a jet-ski, without the jet-ski…
 Kiting
By starting to feel the force from the wind and by knowing what I had to do to get the kite in the power area I started feeling like I had much more control of the situation. After practicing this for a while it was time to start on the board but by the time we got to that I was so tired from walking back into the water to practice body-dragging that I could hardly continue so decided to call it a day. From that day I am happy to report that I have been on a few more guided lessons to improve my water start and according to my instructor, I am almost a rider!
 Kite lessons
I have started to invest on my own rig so I can drive down to the beach and practice and it looks like I’ve got myself a new hobby! Here’s a photo of me riding in Barcarés, Alcúdia. I am the little person in focus, using my new Caibrinha 14 kite. What’s for it now is practice, practice, practice. Now that i’m kitted out with my new gear i’m happily taking to the seas to tune-up my technique.
Josep the almost rider
My new hobby is taking shape

Josep the almost rider

Getting the lines prepped and about to launch the kite – it’s a two man job

 

By the way that’s me in the featured photo, doing some of my first proper rides!

 

Josep Sebastián
Director of Prestige Villas

Land Regulation Changes on Countryside Properties

In Mallorca, it is well known that it has become more and more difficult to be granted planning permission. Our current situation is that despite these strict laws, many people would go ahead and build anyway, regardless that they could be fined or have said construction removed. With this in mind it comes as a surprise that the local Government have brought a new law to legalise these constructions.
Despite the rules, Mallorca has many properties and therefore many illegal properties. It could be said that the main reasons for building without planning permission in our opinion occurred because:
  1. Planning restrictions were too strict and fines from the town hall were never implemented, so there was never a threat to the construction
  2. In 1997 the minimum plot size granted planning permission had to be 7000 m², increased to 14,000 m² throughout Mallorca. In Pollença the plot always had to be 14,000 m² but many plots were smaller than this.
  3. Increased demand in rental properties which included extensions, terraces and swimming pools on properties which were originally small farmhouses.
  4. Cost of renovating a rustic finca were more favourable than buying a plot in a residential area
As a result:
The paradox of having a community being built up and employment created for the building trade and the development of this villa holiday tourism (in a society that employment was very seasonal), which was bringing wealth to the towns despite, the building regulations did not allow this constructions.
The land and building laws and regulations in Mallorca are complex and to be honest don’t work well. With a vast amount of different regulations there is no blanket answer to whether a property has been built with or out-with the law. For this reason each property in our sales portfolio must be carefully evaluated before offering to our clients. The core market investing in property in Mallorca are those from the UK and Germany, for this reason buying an illegal property or a property with some element of illegal construction is certainly flashing warning signs. What would happen to my property? Will I get a fine? Will it involve a lengthy court case with lawyers? These are perhaps just a few questions running through someone’s mind and a common concern. The new land law allows for some illegal constructions to be legalised so long as they follow a few key requirements.
From the standpoint of the town hall, the development boom did good things for the town and boosted the economy. Now it is taking action to rectify problems caused by it’s strict regulations. The new law states that properties built in the countryside can be legalised providing no legal action is currently taking place or has taken place in the last 8 years. Properties constructed on protected countryside that have evidence of construction prior to 1991 may also be legalised. Other requirements include:
  1. Plans of the existing construction must be drawn up by an architect
  2. Payment of licences and taxes paid to the town hall declaring the property as a new construction
  3. A percentage of the construction cost to be paid based on m²
  • 15% during the first year
  • 20% during the second year
  • 25% during the third year
Of course there are a few loopholes, the basic structure of the property should be respected and no substantial changes or extensions have been carried out. (this is for ilegal properties)
However, in general this is good news to some home owners wishing to invest in legalising their property, either to avoid possible fines or to make it more appealing to buyers. Although this investment doesn’t come cheap as it could cost an estimated 50,000 € to legalise a 200m² construction. On the hole it is an encouraging sign that new laws are being passed and that changes are being put though.

Move along Saint Valentine, here comes Sant Jordi

Tradition has it that on 23rd April, la Diada de Sant Jordi, people in the areas of Catalunya and the Balearic islands do something special for their loved ones. Unlike the hyped up Valentines day, Sant Jordi is a much more modest affair. Men across the region will buy a rose for their ladies in their life and woman will buy a book for the men.

The rose, symbolising passion, is usually accompanied by corn to symbolise fertility. This isn’t a new thing, this tradition has been on the go since the 15th Century. What’s great about this day is that it goes fairly unknown throughout the World so is a fantastic opportunity to catch on to the festivities and buy your loved ones a rose or a book, regardless of where you are. Nobody is going to be upset about receiving a gift on Sant Jordi, are they?

So, give it a shot, ladies go out and find the perfect book (preferably not an e-book) for the men in your life and you guys go out and get a rose. There’s no restrictions here, it can be your other half, your mum, dad, brother, friend or neighbour. They won’t expect it and one thing that’s guaranteed – they’ll love it.

The Balearics flourishes from the harsh winter weather

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Image from @MiquelSalamanca

The image of the Balearics above on the left hand side showed our islands in August, the right hand photo is the very same photo but in April. Despite residents complaining of a harsh, cold winter this year the land has welcome such wet conditions and is flourishing as best it can. Let’s hope this green spell lasts for as long as possible!

Trail Running

We’re Mallorca-bound for Advanced Week 2015. All trails have been Tòfol-tested!Stay tuned & follow every step from the 29th March until the 4th April. #AdvancedWeek2015

Posted by Salomon Running on Friday, 13 March 2015

The flavour of this month is, not only panades, but it’s Trail Running. Seeing growing popularity over the past few years, Mallorca has been an increasingly popular destination to go running in.

In this video you can see Salomon runner Tòfol Castanyer during the #AdvancedWeek2015 running through the beautiful Serra Tramuntana.

Buying a Property in Mallorca

Buying process in Spain 
Once you have found the property you love, it is time for the paperwork. The property is selected and the terms agreed on. The property must then be secured. This can be done through private contracts between the two parties. It is customary that 10% of the purchase price is paid at this time. On completion a deed of conveyance ‘Escritura Pública’ must be signed by both parties under notary’s supervision in Spain.

Legal Advice in Spain 
It is advisable to appoint a local lawyer, who speaks the purchaser’s language who will carry out a title search, and advise the purchaser on all aspects of the investment.

NIE Numbers
All non-Spanish citizens require a personal identification and tax number to buy a property, referred to here in Spain as an NIE number. This can take some time (estimated between 3 and 6 weeks) so we recommend you apply early. Please note this does not affect your status in your home country. You can either apply for an NIE yourself at the Department of Extranjeros (Foreigners Department) ensuring you take your passport, or through your chosen legal advisor. Non EU applicants should contact their embassy for details of application.

Taxation in Spain
As a simple rule, when buying a property in Spain if you allow approximately 10%-12% on top of the asking price you will normally end up with some change in your pocket.  This will include Property Transfer Tax or VAT*, Notary and Land Registry fees, solicitor fees as well as any possible mortgage costs.

Property transfer tax & Stamp duty
On re-sales there is a property transfer tax set at on the following sliding scale:

Purchase price up to 400.000 € is 8%
Purchase price from 400.001€ to 600.000 € is 9%
Purchase price from 600.001€ and more is 10%

*Vat & Stamp duty
For first sale of newly built properties VAT is 10% and 1.2% Stamp duty.
For commercial property and first sale of a building plot, or a plot sold from a company Vat is 21% plus 1.2% Stamp duty

Registration 
The registration of the property is done by entering the deed of conveyance “Escritura Publica” at the land register office.

Completion
Completion can take place on whatever date you and the seller agree upon, from as little as one week (as long as you get the mortgage company to agree) up to one year if desired, from the date of signing the Option Contract. This date will be detailed in the Option Contract.

If the purchase is financed by a mortgage, the bank representatives will be present in order to authorise the new mortgage and pay the seller. If you are not able to attend on the specified date you are able to grant your solicitor/lawyer power of attorney so he or she can complete on your behalf.

Completion will take place between the relevant parties in front of the Notary who will witness the signing and transfer of the title deed or Escritura de Compraventa. The Notary acts for neither party specifically, but is a government official responsible for the execution of public documents; He/she will confirm the identity of both parties, and will check the Land Registry to verify legal ownership and that there are no out-standing debts or orders against the property.

The balance of the purchase price will be paid to the seller at this time, and any remaining purchase tax and fees will also be paid if going through a mortgage provider (if paying in full these taxes need only be paid within the month). The Escritura will then be registered by the lawyer in the corresponding Property Register. Once the Deed is signed you will be given the keys to your new property and a copy of the title deed, until the formal deed comes to you from the land registry (or via your Mortgage provider if they have acted on your behalf).

Congratulations! – it’s yours…home sweet home. Sit back and raise a glass of bubbly or two in celebration!

If you are interested in buying property in Mallorca and would like to speak to one of our sales team then we are happy to give any assistance you may require. Contact us

Palma de Mallorca comes up trumps

If you’ve been keeping an eye on the Sunday Times list of “best places to live” then you’ll have spotted Mallorca’s capital city Palma right at the number one spot. The city is filled with history and is a marvel to walk around the narrow streets taking in the beautiful architecture and shop in the boutiques. The city was voted top for it’s great restaurants, living standards and is just a short drive from the airport where there are regular flights to the UK. Mallorca is doing it’s best to shake off the party animal reputation is has due to the popularity of stag and hen parties going to Magaluf. The island has much more to offer from sports, art and culture, whatever your bag you’re sure to find it in Mallorca.

 

If that wasn’t reason enough, here are six reasons summarised by El Pais: Six reasons Palma is the best place to live (Spanish)