It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the choice of boutique hotels in Palma. Five new ones have already opened in the city this year; two more are scheduled to open by the end of 2018 – by which time Mallorca’s capital will have 28 boutique hotels.
The largest of the new boutique hotels is in the Sa Calatrava district of Palma’s Old Town – a mainly residential area. The independently owned 5-star hotel Es Princep has 68 rooms and suites and opened on February 1st. It’s Palma’s closest boutique hotel to the Mediterranean Sea, with a privileged elevated position alongside the restored ancient city wall known as the Baluard del Princep. And it’s the only Palma hotel that’s a member of the prestigious collection The Leading Hotels of the World.
We stayed for one night – our 14th anniversary of moving to Mallorca – in a ‘double premium’ room on the third floor. Our first impression of the place was the reception team’s warm greeting on arrival. This impression of warm hospitality was reinforced by every other member of the hotel’s enthusiastic young team during our one-night stay.
The staff member who checked us in offered us a welcome drink and we accepted a glass of cava. Sitting in the elegant lounge area – where there are velvet-covered chairs, leather Chesterfields, and shelves of gorgeous coffee table books – we sipped and took in the details around us.
Flowers. Abundant floral arrangements grace Es Princep, bringing a touch of nature into the building. The hotel décor is elegant but not fussy; natural materials – wood, leather, and stone – are key elements of the interior and are typically used in Mallorcan country properties. This largely residential area of Palma was once the location of leather workers and there’s evidence of that within the hotel. I’m not going to reveal in this post what it is, but I can tell you I was absolutely fascinated when I saw it.
Welcome to room 310
Our room was everything we’d hoped for and would expect in a 5-star hotel: high-quality stylish furnishings and fittings; all the conveniences that you need when staying away from home; Bluetooth connection if you want to play music from your own device through the room’s speaker; bathroom scales (I left those untouched), and a super-duper rain-style shower. The bed was huge and exceptionally comfortable, but what made the greatest initial impression was the astonishing view.
The full-length window provides a panoramic view of the Bay of Palma and the pleasant area between hotel and the seafront road. Although we’d expected to experience some traffic noise from the latter, we were pleasantly surprised. With the window closed we couldn’t hear the traffic and, even when we opened the window, the sound was muted by the trees down in front of the building.
Up on the roof
We then explored the ‘Amaq’ roof terrace, which must surely be the largest in Palma (apparently 800 sqm) – with a bar for snacks and drinks, plenty of places to sunbathe, parasols, tables and chairs, and a pool for refreshing dips. The entire terrace has a wrap-around glass barrier which ensures that the view is uninterrupted and reduces sound from below. The view from here is breathtaking and we sat for some time gazing out over the Bay, along the seafront itself, and at the higgledy piggledy patchwork of rooftops in the old town. It almost feels as though you’re floating above Palma…
Eats and drinks
Es Princep has two restaurants: Mura and Bala Roja. The latter is destined to become a dining-out hotspot in Palma because the culinary maestro behind it is the Mallorcan chef Andreu Genestra (whose eponymous one-Michelin star restaurant is in Capdepera). Unfortunately Bala Roja wasn’t due to open for a few days so we missed the opportunity to try it, but we did have dinner in Mura – and enjoyed it (particularly the chocolate dessert!).
After dinner, we visited Gremium – the hotel’s smart but comfortable cocktail bar – where the mixologist whipped up an alcohol-free version of ‘Red love’, one of the signature cocktails by mixologist Andreu Genestar (not a spelling error – the two maestros have almost identical names!).
Breakfast the next morning was a generous and varied buffet, with visual appeal. A freshly cooked breakfast was also available. I particularly liked the variety of breads and preserves on offer, the table of tempting sweet pastries, and the individual portions of breakfast cereals in cellophane bags. Fresh local orange juice flowed generously too.
During our visit we didn’t visit the Coco spa or, of course, Bala Roja, but now we have the perfect excuse to return. Not that we need one.
What is a boutique hotel?
Out of interest, I researched a definition of ’boutique hotel’ and, according to Xotel, the international hotel management specialists, the following are a few of the characteristics – quoted from their website:
- 10 to 100 rooms, with a sense of privacy and intimacy.
- Architecture and interior design are unique and upscale, with décor, aesthetics, and attention to detail typical of these properties.
- True to their heritage, they celebrate the local flavour.
- Exceptional and highly personalized service is crucial.
- High-quality, locally sourced, authentic cuisine.
- Clientele as individual as the hotels themselves: from Baby Boomers to Millenials – smart, fashionable, and chic.
All of the above apply to Es Princep – the ‘new kid on the block’ that satisfies all my requirements of a perfect boutique hotel.
Hear Ilka Karl, general manager of the hotel, talking to me on Mallorca Sunshine Radio here: ‘Table Talk’ edition 1.
Jan Edwards ©2018