The sumptuous five star Castillo Son Vida is the jewel in the crown of hotels surrounding Illetas, the upmarket playground located on the outskirts of the Palma, the largest city on the Balearic island of Mallorca.
The hotel, which is perched high on a hill in Son Vida, with spectacular commanding views of Palma’s historic cathedral and modern bay, dates back to the 13th century, and its historic roots are visible in its castellated walls, as well as the pristine manicured gardens.
Its location is all about one aspect – tranquillity. Set back from the hustle of Illetas, which itself is removed from the bustle of Palma, there isn’t anywhere else in the vicinity offering the same level of calm. Yet despite this, it is only a ten minute drive into the heart of Palma. The perfect location then for those who like to be within an easy retreat from the thick of it.
The hotel’s location also affords it another luxury – something it has become famous for – its proximity to world class golf courses. Both Son Quint and Son Muntanyer are just minutes away, and the hotel’s concierge are always on hand to organise a few rounds for guests.
Inside the property, its sweeping vistas, staircases and chandeliers are opulent, while stained glass and historic paintings by local artists only add to the ambience – as does the handpicked selection of antiques. It is little wonder then that guests such as Grace Kelly, Maria Callas and Aristotle Onassis have stayed here.
Inside the impressive 164 rooms the feeling is very much the same; dark wood furniture and draping curtains are offset with pale coloured walls and high ceilings to keep things looking elegant while spacious and cool. The sense of outdoors is brought in with a range of huge windows and balconies that offer sweeping views of the estate’s grounds. And despite the hotel’s size, it never feels overcrowded, or even particularly busy.
Outside there are two pools (one heated, one not), which are both perfect for lounging around as the super-attentive staff remain on hand to supply cocktails.
There are also tennis courts, a futuristic wellness centre with sauna, steam, Jacuzzi and ice fountain (which looks and feels like a work of modern art) and a spa offering every treatment you could think of.
For dining options, the hotel has two restaurants. Es Castell offers classic Mediterranean dishes in glass-fronted premises that provide majestic views of Palma’s port. Es Vi, the hotel’s other restaurant, has a more laid back feel to it, and does some of the best tapas on the island. Its wine menu is also extensive and well curated.
Breakfast is a similarly lavish affair, with a mixture of freshly cooked options, as well as fresh Spanish pastries and savouries. The hotel also has Sa Font, a poolside bar and kitchen, and Bar Armans, which serves up brilliant cocktails to sip while watching the sun go down. In fact, they also stock over 70 whisky brands and 170 cigars.
The chic area of Illetas, near where the hotel is located, has a wealth of things to keep you busy. As well as the boutique shops and cocktail bars, there is the Fundació Pilar I Joan Miró – a museum located in the former studio of Mallorca’s most famous artist, and one of the 20thcentury’s most important surrealist painters.
Illetas is also home to Purobeach Illetas, an outpost of one of the best beach club chains in the business. This cosmopolitan club, located on the stunning coastline of Mallorca, is where the island's great and good gather – whether in the restaurant, at the bar, or by the water’s edge.
Open seven days a week during the summer, and with direct access to the sea to cool off, 109 sun loungers and 4 Balinese beds can be hired, all with waiter service so you can lie back and enjoy the sun and the sounds of the resident DJ. Everything is in Purobeach’s signature white aesthetic, and being built into the cliff-edge you get some of the best views across to Palma’s bay.
Guests are welcomed to loungers with fresh fruit, cold towels, and that all-important after sun, or, if you want to be in the shade you can dine under canopy on poolside favourites such as fish tacos, crispy squid and poke de salmon in the beautiful restaurant.
Purobeach’s recent arrival in Illetas confirms that it is the place to visit in Mallorca this summer. And Castillo Hotel Son Vida is the place to stay.
Words by Toby Mellors
Castillo Hotel Son Vida, Illetas, Mallorca. Rooms start from £210