When I was a lot younger, I came to Mallorca for the first time and had a holiday romance with a local guy. It was all quite innocent, because the friend I’d gone on the holiday with was always around. But I had also fallen in love with the island and had the urge to return to live and work here.
Confession time. My Spanish then was almost non-existent, but it didn’t stop me writing to the majestic Castillo Hotel Son Vida (in English!) to offer my services as a secretary. What was I thinking? Needless to say, I didn’t get a job.
Castle (nearly) in the sky
I was aiming high: Castillo Hotel Son Vida is the grande dame of Palma’s hotels, boasting five stars and an impressive history and guest list. Hugh Laurie stayed here during the filming of the series The Night Manager.
It’s not called Castillo for nothing: it was a 13th-century castle, located high amongst the hills of Son Vida – now a decidedly upmarket residential area on the outskirts of Palma. The hotel’s huge terrace offers unbeatable panoramic views over Palma and right around the Bay of Palma. Although I’ve never stayed overnight, I’ve attended quite a few functions here and the view always takes my breath away.
Tapas restaurant at Castillo Hotel Son Vida
Es Ví – one of the hotel’s restaurants – is open for dinner only and serves innovative tapas from chef Rafael Dengra, who has worked his way up the ladder over his 18 years at the hotel. The smart restaurant has a mix of seating (we sat on tall chairs at a high table) and a lovely terrace for alfresco dining.
As well as the à la carte tapas menu, Rafael offers a tasting menu of five innovative tapas of his selection (47€ including VAT). If you love the surprise of tasting menus, I’d recommend this. The à la carte menu includes a couple of vegetarian dishes.
Rafael’s new menu for this season includes some very tasty dishes, of which these are a few:
The Castillo Hotel Son Vida is also the venue for the series of summer Son Vida Café Concerts. You can enjoy these musical evenings free of charge and drinks are at a discounted price. Keep an eye on their website for details of this year’s concerts, expected to begin mid-June. If you’ve never ventured up to the Castillo, it’s a great opportunity to discover the place … and maybe enjoy a tapas supper too at Es Ví.