It’s easy to be impressed by the 5-star Castillo Hotel Son Vida in Palma de Mallorca: its imposing castle tower, huge terrace with spectacular elevated views across Palma to the bay, and stately interior have appealed to visitors to Mallorca since 1961, when the property first opened as a luxury hotel. Many famous people have stayed here, including Prince Rainier of Monaco and Grace Kelly, Aristotle Onassis, Maria Callas, Anthony Quinn, Pedro Almodóvar, and Claudia Schiffer.
Although I’ve not stayed overnight at the Castillo Hotel Son Vida, I’ve been to several lunch or dinner functions at the prestigious hotel at the heart of the Son Vida estate – which is dotted with architect-designed villas and look-at-me mansions. I’d also had a relaxing spa day at the hotel two years ago with a girlfriend; we went on a weekday and had the place almost to ourselves.
Easy parking, easy access
The Son Vida Spa was renovated late last year and I was curious to see the new-look version, so The Boss and I went this week to check the place out. Our first surprise was finding that the hotel has added a separate car park for spa users. Park your car, take the lift or the steps up, and you arrive up right at the spa entrance. No need to walk through the hotel itself. Check in at the spa desk and you’re off to the changing rooms armed with locker key and disposable flip-flops. The locker contains a generous sized robe for use while you’re here. Piles of fresh fluffy towels are everywhere. No need to sit wrapped in a damp towel here!
Only the indoor pool area remains unchanged. It overlooks the wooded hills of Son Vida and, on a sunny day, it’s a glorious place to swim, poach yourself (in the Jacuzzi), and relax on the thick-cushioned poolside loungers. Everything else within the spa has been renovated.
Facilities include a gym (open 24 hours a day!), where 14 state-of-the-art Techno Gym machines await the serious exerciser. The new wet area has a Finnish sauna, bio sauna, and steam room, with ice fountain and the appropriately named adventure showers for the necessary cooling off afterwards. In the anteroom to the wet area, you can help yourself to fruit and flavoured water at no additional cost.
Through another wooden door and you’re in the relaxation area, where more loungers are available for those who prefer a quieter environment.
The beauty therapy rooms at Castillo Hotel Son Vida used to be in another part of the hotel but the spa renovation has brought the facilities together. The upper floor of the Son Vida Spa is home to the beauty and therapy reception area, changing rooms, and four (two single, two double) light-filled treatment rooms, with good views. This floor also has a door into the hotel itself.
Therapist Maria showed me to one of these rooms for my pre-arranged facial – a treat while The Boss was lounging and reading by the pool. Son Vida Spa uses two product ranges: Maria Galland of Paris – based on pure essences – and Demarés. The latter is a Mallorcan brand, with products made from natural ingredients – and no nasties.
My Mosaic Modelling Treatment lasted 80 minutes. Eighty of the most relaxing minutes I’d had for a very long time. Maria has worked as a beauty therapist at the hotel for 12 years and is a great asset here. Had she ever treated any celebrities? I asked, imagining her working her magic on Hugh Laurie when he was staying here during the filming of The Night Manager. The rich and famous have nothing to worry about here: Maria wouldn’t even mention any names, let alone share any famous folk’s foibles. She could probably be trusted with state secrets…
The Mosaic Modelling Treatment is personalised for each client by the therapist, who selects the most beneficial essences to use with the various potions and lotions. These jewel-coloured essences are from caviar, black orchid, malachite, white truffle, silver, gold, and hyaluronate (no, I hadn’t heard of that either). At one point, Maria applied a mask of clay, which self-heated as it hardened on my face. It made conversation a little difficult but felt strangely pleasant. By the time Maria had finished, my skin felt dewy, soft, and smooth. I’d go as far as to say that this was probably the best facial I’ve had on Mallorca: a comfortable environment, experienced and friendly therapist, and a divine treatment that made a positive difference to the feel and look of my skin.
What does it cost to use the Son Vida Spa?
If you’re an official resident of the Balearics, you can take advantage of special day-spa rates – which are published on this website. If you’re not resident, a day pass costs 65€ (at time of writing). Son Vida Spa at Mallorca’s Castillo Hotel Son Vida also offers spa membership for 115€ a month (no registration fee).
Jan Edwards ©2019