This month we head to Mallorca for a stay with a view of the mountains, ten minutes from the thriving capital Palma
In the summertime, Mediterranean island stakes, LUX is very pro-Mallorca. There is competition from everywhere, ultra-chic individual Cyclades and party-central Mykonos to old establishment Sardinia, and even from its neighbours, vibier younger sister Ibiza, and newly arty Menorca. And dozens of others, many of which could justifiably stake a claim to be the ultimate Mediterranean island to visit.
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And yet: Mallorca has the spirituality and culture of Deia in the west, the intricate beauty and cuisine of Palma in the south, high quality local wines, some celebrated restaurants, and a huge variety of sports, including truly world-leading golf and cycling. It also has the deepest yacht harbour in the Mediterranean, in case your boat doesn’t fit in Monaco’s harbour. And it’s big enough not to bore you.
Which takes us to the Son Vida estate, in a valley and on a hillside outside the city of Palma. The Arabella Sheraton (originally an Arabella hotel, then taken over by Sheraton) is built in the style of a local finca, or farmhouse. It is surrounded by mature gardens and shrubbery; arriving felt more like walking into at a boutique hotel than an international chain, a feeling that persisted throughout our stay.
The reception and bar area lead out onto a broad terrace with a curving balustrade facing across the estate and to the mountainside across the valley; beneath are three large, curvaceous pools, all surrounded by trees, beyond which are tennis and other sports facilities. The public spaces are hung with distinctive and compelling art, much of it by local artists, all part of the private collection of the hotel’s German owners. The feeling is more of staying at a private estate than a hotel, amplified by the staff, who all seemed to be local, warm, friendly and professional.
On our first night we ate at the Bodega, a wine bar on a terrace on the lower floor; sea bream with capers and courgettes. The atmosphere was casual though the service was anything but. The wine list was broad, although perhaps could have championed wines from Mallorca and the nearest mainland area, Catalonia, a little more.
Take me to my room
Our room, with a long balcony, faced out beyond the pools and the canopy of trees, where Mallorca’s most renowned golf course, Son Vida, was on display. While the clubhouse is less than a long tee shot from the hotel, the Arabella doesn’t feel at all like a golf hotel: no groups, no taking over. Couples and families were equally in evidence.
On our second night, we had some light bites on the upper terrace, with its sunset views of the mountains: crystal bread with iberico ham and local olive oil, a very delicate gazpacho, a salad of local tomatoes of various shapes. A very attentive and thoughtful bar manager kept everything coming like clockwork; and as throughout our stay, we felt, if not alone, then certainly very much with the luxury of space.
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At night, a chorus of frogs from the lake beyond the gardens joined the cicadas.
Out and about
During the days we discovered a great advantage: the hotel’s perfect location. 15 minutes from the centre of Palma – one of the most underrated cities in Europe – 45 minutes from Deia’s beauty, 20 minutes from the beaches, and 25 minutes from the airport. (And if you play golf, that clubhouse is less than four minutes by foot).
So there you have the Arabella Sheraton: a rather nice synthesis between a boutique hideaway and a luxury hotel, and proof that, with excellent management of a very nice property, an excellent hotel can be even more than the sum of its parts.
Rates: From £300 per night (approx. €350/$385)
Book your stay: marriott.com/-sheraton-mallorca-arabella-golf-hotel