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The Insider Guide: Palma de Mallorca
The Hotel Sant Francesc with a view of the old town. :: SUR
Hotel Sant Francesc
Expect a generous dose of Balearic bliss at this chic and elegant 42-room hotel, within a converted 19th century Mallorcan mansion. Contemporary art, commissioned photography and understated luxury furnishings bring a stylish edge to this posh 1880s manor house, now creatively reimagined as a design hotel. The rooftop pool terrace is the smart place to enjoy evening cocktails overlooking the old town and the cathedral, whilst for Mediterranean cuisine with an Asian twist, try the ‘Quadrat’ restaurant by Simon Andreas Petutsching.
Hotel Sa Torre Resort
This beautiful Mallorcan estate, dating back to the 14th century, with charming gardens and even its own neo-gothic chapel (ideal for private events and weddings) is an elegant hotel resort close to Palma. Contemporary styled rooms bring modern comforts to the historic surroundings; the Arxiduc Restaurant offers international dishes; whilst the spa with indoor pool; fitness and sporting facilities; and two outdoor pools all add up to a comprehensive island retreat. Don’t let the fact that this is a Hilton mislead you; this beautiful property has buckets loads of charm, and individuality.
Toy Museum
Just around the corner from the hotel Sant Francesc, is this charming private museum showing a toy collection that can’t help but make you feel nostalgic.
The capital has five blue flag beaches (Cala Estància, Platja de Palma, Ciutat Jardí, Can Pere Antoni and Cala Major) within easy reach of the old town. So pack your beach bag and spend a day in the sun.
Art, culture & architecture
Offset any possible guilt for an indulgent luxury break of beaches and gastronomy with a visit to some of the city’s cultural sights. The beautiful Mallorca Museum will take you back centuries into the islands history, whilst the city’s contemporary art museum, Es Baluard will seduce with its collection of Joan Miró, Picasso, Gauguin and Magritte.
Santa Catalina Market
A morning coffee with brandy is a long held tradition on the Spanish peninsula, known as a ‘carajillo’. Head to the market early in the morning and you can enjoy a ‘Café Amazona’, the Palma version – your daily caffeine fix loaded with a local rum called Amazona. Then suitably fortified, immerse yourself in local colours, sounds and flavours of the market and maybe pick up a few gourmet treats like the classic thin cured sausage ‘Fuet de Vic’, or the spicy ‘Sobrassada’ sausage with paprika.
Simply Fosh
Enjoy gourmet cuisine from the kitchen of Michelin-starred Marc Fosh, at his chic urban restaurant. Flawlessly presented dishes, like strawberry salmorejo with marinated mackerel, or tender pork fillet with cranberries, orange and rose water, deliver memorable flavours and are served with friendly, welcoming and unpretentious service. Book at lunchtime for the great value set menu (three courses for around 25 euro) or make an occasion of it and reserve for dinner and enjoy one of the tasting menus.
Ca’n Joan Frau
To experience homemade dishes typical of the ‘cocina mallorquina’ island kitchen, head to a traditional local bar. A favourite remains the Bar Joan Frau - Can Frau in Palma’s Santa Catalina market (Mercat de Santa Catalina). Pedro, Biel and Mario serve Catalan rice dishes, vegetable stews, soups, roast lamb, empanadas and more – with a daily specials reflecting market produce.
Tast Club
A classy insider secret for those in the know in Palma, this chic mansion building is home to a sophisticated restaurant and bars, known locally as the Tast Club. There’s no sign outside – just an elegantly presented courtyard setback from C/ San Jaime that leads into classic interiors where you can enjoy fine wines, and glorious Mediterranean cuisine like gourmet Jamón Ibérico de Bellota to signature dishes like Alcachofas con Parmesano, a tasty plate of crispy artichokes with parmesan.
Bar España
Increasingly popular amongst visitors (short walk from the Plaza Mayor) this established bar offers a traditional, authentic feel. Great place for small plates, tapas and pintxos. Decent selection of wines and craft beers. Live music some nights.
La Sifoneria
The opening times of this quirky bar are scribbled in chalk on the exterior wooden doors, setting the scene for a truly informal, unique experience. Once inside, wine barrels are one side and cases of vintage colourful siphons the others. Grab a crate ‘seat’ and before long you will lose all sense of time as you full under the spell of Carlos’ welcome and his surprising selection of local wines. It will probably be one of your most memorable evenings in Palma and the least expensive!
Rialto Living
This luxury lifestyle store, set within a magnificent, historic building offers interiors, decoration, fashion, gifts, books etc. and has an art gallery and a café. The store has recently doubled in size with a new restaurant.