Thursday, June 8, 2017

HIDDEN MALLORCA AT CASTILLO SON VIDA

The third in our series on Hidden Mallorca, the legendary Castillo Hotel Son Vida brings us closer to Palma…

Palma. the Cathedral and the bay as the sun goes down - telescopic view from the hotel 

Moments of magic on the terraces at Castillo Hotel Son Vida as the sun sets over Palma
Away from the tourist masses, the classic hotel has stunning views of the city and bay from its vast terraces. Celebrities and dignitaries have sipped cocktails and partied here since the Sixties and the hotel still has an aura of glamour and distinction.

Inside, the castle is packed with antiques, paintings and historical features that give it an authentic Mallorcan character, while outside you feel the island’s natural ease.

Palma is only some 10 to 20 mins drive, depending where you want to go – but golf is literally next door and your tee times and transfers are taken care of.

If history adds a romantic twist to your sense of place, this castle is a good spot to honeymoon or get married. Various members of the deceased Royal family adorn the walls in gigantic oil paintings to show you are in elevated company, and frescoes distinguish a room that is suggested for wedding ceremonies.


A room wrapped in history

Galleries or ante rooms are lined with antique items and velvet sofas where you imagine dowagers sat in the Sixties heyday when the hotel opened with a trumpeting of fashion reporting.  More about that later…

In a less worldly frame of mind, the dome or cupola is an amazing art work worth gazing up at from the lobby and higher floors. 

The cupola was produced by a German artist Nils Burwitz in stained glass based on the philosophical musings of a Mallorcan writer, philosopher, mystic Ramon Llull (1232-1316). In “Ars Brevis” Llull (also known as RAIMUNDUS) is seeking a way to calculate universal truth.


A lighter touch vs traditional style

The corridors between the rooms are adorned with lighter Mallorcan paintings, water colours washed with pastels and Mediterranean joie d’vivre.  

More than 60 newly renovated rooms in the Classic category have picked up that light hearted mood, with tropical lagoon coloured curtains in lightweight almost transparent fabric.


Classic room goes aquamarine and pale grey



The higher room categories remain embedded in the old sense of quality with carved and darkly lustrous hardwood furniture.  If you really want a bit of the past, try a suite in the Tower….




Round desk to match the round tower and style to match grand tradition

A medieval peep at the view through the castle turrets

Or perhaps a Grand Deluxe room peeping between a froth of palms to the sea?


Noble wood and traditional style

In a Grand Deluxe Room


And palms and sea from your balcony 

Where to dine?

There are two well respected restaurants at the hotel, both with windows where you can admire the view. We had a splendid buffet breakfast in Es Castell with everything we could dream of.

But in the evening early we began a transfixing sojourn on the terrace that changed our dinner plans. 


The mesmerizing terrace
We felt rooted to the magical spot as the sunset glow tinged the pale buildings of Palma and the sea. 
Having discovered the world’s most amenable barman, who remade my margarita three times to get it perfect, we felt this was the place to eat Mallorcan tapas. 

The tapas bars of Palma are a short ride away but it would be hard to beat the fare and the ambience at Castillo Son Vida that evening. 

If in the mood to hang all day at Castello Son Vida, you can enjoy the spa, pools and terraces but if you want a beach not far away, a good suggestion is Portals Nous (15 mins), which has nice diversions like posh restaurants and designer shopping. 

You can also indulge in some shopping at the hotel. In keeping with the glamour of the establishment you find some high quality shopping downstairs – a jewellery boutique with items up to over 40 000 euro – priced the same as their sister outlet in Palma. Most choices will be tailor made.


This sweet little piece was c. 2500 euro

Looking back


The deeper history of Castillo son Vida began in 1229 when King James of Aragon conquered Mallorca and gave this cherry-on-the-top piece of land to a loyal combatant. In 1900 the buildings were combined into a castle with inner splendor to match.

The days of news flashes and glamour began on 23 June 1961 when Steve Kusak launched the noble residence as a luxury hotel. Within a week the world’s most talked about celebs started arriving and Prince Rainer and Princess Grace hosted an extravagant society party.  The festivity bubbled over with people like Veuve Cliquot magnate Crovetto and filmstar David Niven. Prince Rainier and Onassis held a picnic in the grounds that afternoon while Princess Grace walked around photographing guests!  

Later Rainer was the first person to try out the new Son Vida Golf. Royals were also frequent visitors, including the Spanish Royal family, Belgian and Thai.

The A to Z of visiting celebrities, magnates and world leaders includes a long list from Arafat to Zamin, via Brigitte Bardot, Baron Rothschild, Christian Barnard, Sting and the 13 most important shipowners in the world.

The final Z goes to Zsa Zsa Gabor who attracted curious publicity when she made an eccentric exit without paying.  

QUICK FACTS


No. of rooms: 164
Distance from airport: 15 mins
Distance from nearest town/shops/restaurants: 10-20 mins from Palma depending which area
Dining: Es Vi modern tapas, Es Castell int. and Spanish cuisine with fine view, Pool restaurant/bar Snacks and drinks, Indoor bar serving the beautiful terrace.
Facilities: 3 outdoor pools. Spa: sauna, steam bath, indoor heated pool. Kids club for 3-12.  Gym, 3 18-hole golf courses.
Reason to stay

Golf, history, art and beautiful terraces overlooking Palma – easy access to the city

For the Select Collection web page on Castillo Hotel Son Vida FOLLOW THIS LINK.



Especially designed lamps for the newly done Classic rooms with a Mallorcan touch

Table with a view
Hanging with the Royals

Golf, spa and so on as younger companions enjoy the  kid's club



Images by Select Collection & Per-Olov Broddeson; words by Select Collection & Gillian Stanbridge

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