On what is officially the start of Autumn I thought I’d keep the summer vibes going just a little longer by sharing a few snaps of our holiday to Palma de Mallorca. Yep, an actual fully-fledged holiday that involved lie-ins, books, sunbathing and not much else. And as someone who doesn’t relax and unwind easily, I have to admit, it was exactly what I needed.
I’d spent 3 beautiful days nearby with one of my favourite brands, Origins on a press trip which tied in perfectly to a pre-planned holiday in the local area. Palma had been on my travel radar for a while and at just a 2-hour flight away, it was far more doable than the more far-flung destinations on that list.
While Mallorca has had a bad rep over the years thanks to its draw for hen and stag parties alike, its whitewash buildings and rocky coves pulled me in in my quest for a Mediterranean summer. We spent our days exploring the gothic city, finding rustic eateries, driving along the southeast coast and finding hidden beaches (spoiler: it’s challenging!). With the exception of a few overcast days, the weather was perfect – an agreeable 27 degrees making it perfect to walk around but also stretch out on the sand in the afternoon sun.
Not surprisingly I totally fell in love with Palma’s laid-back lifestyle and simple indulgence. If we go back (which I fully intend to), I’d love to rent out a little fisherman’s cottage or authentic beach house near Portals Nous beach – somewhere we could eat outside, wake up to the sound of the waves and swim in the sea as the sun goes down.
In case you’re tempted, here’s a little Palma guide with what we did
WHERE WE STAYED
Where didn’t we stay?! This was a bit of a touring holiday as it was half for work which I feel incredibly lucky for but it’s also a bit of a ball ache packing up every few days. The plus is that we got to experience a few different areas of the city and in hindsight, I maybe would have chosen differently.
The first hotel was Castillo Son Vida – a Marriott hotel so expect traditional/dated decor and a happy-go-lucky vibe. It’s a little resort-y so don’t head here for peace and quiet or if you don’t have a car (as we discovered). The location is residential with nothing within walking distance so we felt a little imprisoned after two days.
Our second hotel may have been my favourite and not just in Palma! Convent De La Missio is, as the name suggests, a former convent, therefore, is oozing with charm and charisma. With original features re-worked and modernised, it possesses a boutique feel combined with contemporary aesthetics. Think abstract art, chunky wooden doors, bricked walls, neutral interiors (right up my street) and a paired-back luxury smack bang in the middle of the city making it perfect for restaurants and bars galore.
The nuns still have an entire floor in the hotel but guests obviously don’t see or have access to it which, I must admit, made me crazy with curiosity! Instead, we had to make do with the achingly beautiful rooms with linen furnishings, a modern stand-alone bath in our bedroom and views that made me feel like I was in my own urban apartment. The food was impeccable (it’s home to the renowned Marc Fosh restaurant) offering a mix of casual self-service with five-star cuisine and an elegant selection.
We ended the trip with 48 hours at the (very) newly opened El Llorenc hotel located on the edge of Palma, just 10 minutes walk from the insanely beautiful cathedral on the waterfront. A huge contrast to Convent, it’s brand new, shiny and very modern with touch screen everything (including in-room iPads for room service and instant messaging to staff), clean lines and chrome at every turn. Rooms are dark and atmospheric while the bathrooms include built-in lighting and magnifying options (yep, really) and super stylish Le Labo cosmetics.
But the real scene-stealer has to be their rooftop infinity pool. While it looks good for Instagram and is a little sun trap as the evening sun sets over the terracotta tiles, it’s deceptively small and may get unbearably busy in high season. But it’s a great spot to be central to everything and we loved taking a stroll through the cobbled streets, looking up at the romantic balconies imagining who lives there, listening to the music and conversations and smelling all of the family dinners taking place in the apartments above.
WHERE WE ATE
Palma is home to some amazing restaurants but it’s tricky to distinguish which ones look pleasantly rustic and just a bit rough around the edges. With tapas high on the agenda, finding an authentic menu can be tricky but these are the best places we kept going back to:
Taberna Bilbo – Simple, small and with incredibly kind staff, it was a real find on Les Ramblas
Majorca Deli – A cute and romantic wine bar and deli where you can watch the world go by over a bottle and platter
La Rosa Vermutería & Colmado – Busy, loud and expect a half-hour waitlist but the best tapas I’ve ever had
Murada – The most insane Italian restaurant that could easily be in Tuscany or Rome.
El Camino – A hidden gem in a small side street in Palma, it’s an open kitchen where you sit at the counter and have the most elegant cuisine in the city. Be sure to try to squid ink paella!
WHAT WE DID
We rented a car for €17 for the week from the airport rental a couple of days into the holiday and I’d definitely recommend. Although parking can be difficult to find in the city, taking taxis everywhere is so expensive and if you want to find some decent beaches, be prepared to venture outside of Palma.
We drove an hour to Cala Lombards – THAT heavenly cove on Instagram – only to find that it’s a good 15-minute walk from the car park (which is free), down a rocky terrain and across the cliff edge along with around 160 other people. To say it was hairy would be an understatement and I couldn’t help but wonder if anyone had gone over into the angry swells below.
By the time we got there, the tide was in and the vendor told us it wouldn’t go out again until the next day. Brilliant. But we walked around the manicured paths, cooed over the oceanside houses and made our dangerous climb back to the car. Accessed by a dusty ladder with caves aplenty, I can see why so many flock here on the daily but I wish someone had mentioned the journey there in a caption or two!
While Illeatas beach is closest to Palma and is perfectly lovely, it’s large, open and the main go-to for Palma. For something a little more special I’d recommend the 20-minute drive to Portals Nous – a smaller cove that’s immaculately well cared for and more popular with the locals. With white sand, surrounding cliffs, shady cypress trees and the clearest turquoise water, it’s a heavenly spot to spend the day.
Until next time Palma…
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