Going back to Mallorca was on my list for a while now… why? Because I have wonderful memories of this beautiful island, in the Balearics, Spain. I hadn’t been back for over 10 years, and my last 4-5 visits were always by boat, i.e. we slept in one, which was lovely. Back then, there weren’t many luxury hotels, so I delayed my return until now.. and I am glad I did so!
Starwood has not one, but three (currently two open, with another one reopening later this Summer) incredible hotels in this beautiful part of the world – a Luxury Collection (the Castillo Hotel Son Vida), a St. Regis and a Sheraton. On this visit, I have tried the first two, which are very different properties, offering quite different luxury experiences. Never a dull moment in Mrs. O’s life.
– Was there any pre-arrival communication by the hotel with myself via email or social media?
Everything was sorted via email months ago, and a couple of weeks before my arrival, the hotel got in touch to reconfirm everything. I have been looking forward to this trip since January!
– Did I try to engage the hotel via Twitter? Did the hotel interact with me and made me feel welcome/special?
Interestingly, the other sister properties of the Castillo Son Vida did interact with me pre, during and post stay. This specific hotel interacted during my stay and we did have a bit of fun.
– Has the hotel tried to gather any personal information (e.g. preferences) prior to my stay?
Starwood properties tend to know me very well – I am actually very easy and it is just the pillows that can make or break the experience.
– The wow factor! What was the hotel decor style?
There were some discrete wows uttered, I must confess. The whole “drop your car, get escorted to reception” is always a nice touch, and sadly doesn’t happen often enough. It did here and everyone was all smiles – we were in “España”, after all.
– How quick and efficient was the hotel check-in?
We had one of the best check-in experiences ever, with the delightful Joan looking after us. What were we doing during our stay? Had we booked dinner? What about the following day? He was so kind (and funny), seriously nice. And what I loved the most? Being escorted to our room, which is a really nice touch. In my opinion, not enough hotels do this, and they could and should (size permitting, of course).
– Was I addressed by name once reservation has been located? (it is all about the small details, some others are outstanding with this, and I love it, like I do when I board an airplane)
Yes, and after we established that English was the language of choice, everything was great.
– Did I get an upgrade from my confirmed pre-booked room type?
We were upgraded to a Deluxe Suite.
– Did I feel genuinely welcomed by the hotel staff?
We did indeed. This is Spain (those great smiles) and a hotel known for its quality and service.
– Luggage – how many people did I have to tip before the luggage made it safely to my room? This is cultural, I know
We left our luggage in the car when we arrived, and we only saw it again when we got to our room – and this is how it should be always, in my opinion (and again, depending on the size of the property and the service set up).
– Wi-fi – was I told anything about it? Was there a charge?
For the first time ever (that I can remember in a Starwood hotel), internet was free for all guests, not just SPG Gold and Platinum. It never really bothers me as I am the latter and it has never been an issue, but I am a great believer in free wi-fi for everyone. Because when you stay at a hotel like this, it seriously should be included.
– First impressions – décor, size and wow factor
Having 100 sqm is not bad at all, is it? We had a uber spacious suite, which was beautifully decorated in a very simple and classic style. This is a very special property and it wouldn’t make sense any other way.
We had our bedroom, bathroom, closet room, lounge, kitchen, cloakroom (guest bathroom) and a fabulous balcony with great views. Not too shabby for Mrs. O.
– Welcome amenity
One of the best I have ever seen! It wasn’t the cava (gracias!), the water, or the beautifully handmade chocolates. It was the plate with sultanas and peanuts that got to me. Why? They are my absolute favourite snacks and I hadn’t had the “combination” for ages. Years possibly. And as Mr. O is not so keen on sultanas, guess who was a happy girl?
– The bed
Very very very interesting indeed. Why? Not because it was incredibly comfortable, or because I loved the pillows (which I did)… I think the Castillo Son Vida may have found the secret to many happy marriages.. why? King size bed (with one mattress) and.. single duvets. What is not to like? It means no fighting.. ever… I seriously liked this touch.
– Closet/Wardrobe – proper hangers or those annoying ones where you need a PhD to get them out one by one? This is a personal pet peeve of mine. I can’t stand them.
We had a whole room, with about 10 wardrobes.. so it is fair to say that I had enough hangers ?
- – Iphone Charger/Dock
I didn’t see one, and it would be a nice addition (although interestingly most hotels who do have them, will need at some point to update to the iPhone 5 plugs, which will be a pain… ouch).
– Bathrobes and slippers
They were there, of course, looked lovely, but as you know by now, I didn’t use them.
– Coffee and Tea
We had everything we could possibly need in our kitchen, and more. I did check and obviously there was a kettle for tea and a Nespresso machine with plenty of pods. We didn’t use either.
– Free bottled water
Yes indeed. As part of our welcome amenity and every night by our bed.
– Magazine selection – had some nice surprises and doesn’t happen often enough!
We had some incredible books, seriously very nice with short stories and all. But my favourite? A specially commissioned book which told the stories of some of the flagship Luxury Collection hotels. It was so nice, I almost took it home with me (I obviously didn’t).
– Power sockets in useful places – we have more and more devices and we know where we want them! By the bed, by the working area.
Best power sockets I have ever seen – which, to be honest, I wasn’t expecting. Each bedside table had 2 sockets on its side, which was perfect for all our gadgets.
– First impressions – décor, size and wow factor
It was huge and lovely. The hotel has been recently renovated and although it remained a classic, everything is as it should be. I love when bathrooms have natural light and we were truly spoilt.
– Bath, shower and taps – I am looking for Duravits and Hansgrohes (or other fab brands) around the world. How fab was the shower? And a little pet peeve.. was I able to operate the shower without asking Mr. O for help?
A little bit of everything and what a great shower! And with a steam room which delighted Mr. O (not really for me as I am not great fan due to my blood pressure, ha!)
– Towels – yes, please! How many and how soft and lovely?
We had plenty of lovely soft towels, but I must say they weren’t huge. This actually happens in most Starwood hotels and I am not sure why, to be honest. I did find larger towels by the bath, which were great though.
– Toiletries – own brand, super brand, baby ones or proper ones? I shall find out!
I love the Cinq Mondes range and loved having it here. The products are really good and always remind me of my honeymoon in Bora Bora.
– Amenity kit – I don’t want more sewing kits thank you very much, but I will need a shower cap.
This shower cap obsession is starting to become something bigger and I am happy to report I had not one, but a few. We had everything we could possibly need, and more.
– Hairdryer – is it a human one, or just something stuck to a wall that only makes noise?
As I forgot to take my straightener, I decided to go “au naturel” for the whole trip and didn’t use any hairdryer, which was surely good for my hair. But obviously I checked and it looked.. robust and German.
– Décor of breakfast room
Breakfast takes place in the main restaurant (which was a tad too old-fashioned for me), so we (and everybody else) opted to enjoy the sun and have it alfresco. It is in a beautiful setting, with great views of the island and the pool. Seriously nice.
– The spread (inc yumminess)
One of the best I have ever seen – I must confess, there is something about breakfasts in Spain, which take me back to my childhood. There was a great local selection – both Spanish and “Mallorcan”.
– Cost (I have seen a hotel charging €75 for breakfast – a tad much, maybe?)
Breakfast is included in all room rates.
We really liked the pool area. The sun loungers were great, as were the towels (2 per person, in order to cover the whole bed). There was staff around checking if we needed or wanted anything and I must say, it was quite interesting to be in a minority. Why? 80+% of hotel guests are German and the hotel is owned by Germans, which was quite interesting. The staff was mostly Spanish (giving it a bit of local flavour and personality) and everyone spoke Spanish, English and German. Everyone was *really* quiet by the pool, which was absolutely perfect for us. No screaming children, no people talking loud… it was just what the doctor ordered.
The Castillo Hotel Son Vida doesn’t have a spa as such (in terms of size), but has what it is called a Beauty area including hairdressers and treatment rooms. The hotel kindly offered us both a 30 minute massage each, which we upgraded to a full hour (and obviously paid for it). The treatment rooms were actually incredibly modern, airy and light and I seriously enjoyed my massage, which was great value at €110 for one hour (exc. my discount).
Hum… what do you think of this little terrace? We thought it was wonderful and perfect for a pre-dinner Spanish-sized Gin & Tonic. One thing that I also loved was how quiet everyone was at the hotel, seriously relaxing and lovely. Gins were steep at €17 each, but they were incredible, as you can see…
On our second day at the property, we did something we rarely do.. not leave the hotel. And we felt so comfortable here, that we did just that. So for dinner, we tried the Spanish Tapas (with a twist, obviously) restaurant Es Vi, which we really enjoyed. Everything had a side of jamón ibérico, of course.
– How good and reliable was the wi-fi?
It was generally OK but not so good by the pool.
– Did the hotel interact with me via Twitter during my stay?
It did and was quite fun.
It was actually great – we were only 10 minutes from the centre of Palma and another 10 from Puerto Portals marina, so very easy to get to.. but also far away from other buildings, so we felt quite secluded.
– Cost – rooms starting from…
Standard room start at 240 € per night and suites from 490 € per night. Prices include VAT and breakfast for two.
– Would I recommend it to my best friend?
Absolutely, I am thinking this would be great for a girlie getaway.. or we could even take the boys…
– Would I stay again?
Yes, and I promise you, I will.
Have you visited this hotel? What were your thoughts?
Disclaimer: I was a guest of Starwood Hotels during this stay, but hopefully you will see that this has not influenced my thoughts about the property. For more information about the hotel, visit its official website.