A hotel building with a red awning at the entrance and turrets around the roof and a palm tree

The exterior of the Castillo Hotel Son Vida, compete with turret

In the third part of our luxury travel views column from the Autumn/Winter 2022 issue, LUX’s Editor-in-Chief Darius Sanai checks in at the Castillo Hotel Son Vida, Mallorca

On any luxury visit to Mallorca to date, you might have expected to spend your time in a villa or hotel deep in the countryside or on a secluded coastline, or amid some of the most delightful and unique experiences in the world.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

As I arrived at Castillo Hotel Son Vida, it became clear that here was a different luxury experience. The hotel, originally a 13th-century castle, is on a hilltop overlooking the bay and city of Palma. Day or night, the views from its huge terraces are mesmerising and, while the hotel is located at the forest edge, with a large outdoor pool, it is only 10 minutes to Palma itself – more of which, later. The arrival is as grand as you might expect in a development of an original estate once owned by one of the great Mallorcan families. The hall leads to a dining room where paintings depict classical scenes.

A dining room with wooden walls and large glass chandeliers over the table

A grand dining space at the hotel

My room was everything you might expect in a grand Mediterranean hotel, only bigger. There are excellent hotels on Mediterranean islands where guests can feel constrained by the size of the building and rooms, dictated by a lack of space in the location. This had more of a French Riviera feel. Open the windows and there is a balcony with a view across the terrace to the city below and the bay and mountains beyond. Dinner on the terrace was sea bass baked in salt crust with local vegetables, with some floral sparkling wine from Catalonia – and that view. Almost as impressive was the breakfast, which focused on Mallorcan flatbreads and local jams.

A large terrace outside a yellow stone building

The huge main terrace, which overlooks the bay

You could spend your visit lazing by the pool, playing golf next door (this is one of the best courses in Spain) and enjoying the tranquillity (the hotel is 16+). But it would be a shame not to take advantage of the unique location and visit Palma itself. I combined a walk around the quite magnificent and recently refurbished cathedral with tapas in the old town and an after-dinner drink in the Santa Catalina area, just as it was getting lively. In revitalising Palma, the authorities are driving a far more upmarket type of tourism than is associated with some of the island’s beach resorts. Palma’s old town is all about gastronomy and sitting on terraces enjoying an Aperol spritz or a glass of Mallorcan
white wine. It felt like discovering Barcelona’s little sister.

Read more: Luxury Travel Views: Four Seasons Napa Valley, California

At evening’s end it’s just 10 minutes by taxi back to Son Vida, where you can decide whether to chill amid medieval surroundings next day, take another excursion into town or visit a beach. That, and the pleasantly high standards offered by this Luxury Collection hotel, make it very much a destination as Mallorca becomes a haven for upscale travellers.

Find out more: marriott.com/pmilc-castillo-hotel-son-vida

This article first appeared in the Autumn/Winter 2022/23 issue of LUX