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It looks set to be another stellar year for Mallorca’s capital, with a high-profile crop of hotel openings accelerating Palma’s transformation into a world-class city-break destination.
Last month I stayed at Es Princep, the capital’s only ‘Leading Hotels of the World’ property. I left convinced that few, if any of the old town boutique bolt holes can compare to the elegance, refinement, facilities and location of this impressive hotel & spa, writes Andrew Forbes.
Once you step across the threshold of Es Princep, you immediately notice you’re somewhere special – you are embraced by the warmth of welcome you’d expect from this Mediterranean island, but you also become immersed in the sophisticated vibe of a capital city hotel.
Hotel with a View
Es Princep is a full-service luxury hotel. There’s the urban flair of Gremium destination cocktail bar (where mixologist and bar manager Andreu Genestar works his magic, bringing genuine cocktail flair to Palma’s vibrant bar scene)…
..fine-dining at the hotel’s Bala Roja restaurant (named after the hotel’s historic district, overlooking the city walls)…
…and the upscale pampering of ‘Coco’, Es Princep’s luxury oasis spa.
Yet the hotel didn’t feel formal or stuffy – this is a Mediterranean island, remember – so think laid back luxury with polished attention to detail.
I loved the spacious, light-filled guest rooms with sea views; as well as the relaxed family-friendly ‘Mura’ restaurant for breakfast; and above all, the stunning roof terrace ‘Almaq’. This huge outside space with pool is surely the biggest roof terrace in old town; and it offers superb sea views over Palma Bay, and vistas across the spires and characteristic rooftops of Palma, to the mountains beyond.
What better way to relax from city sightseeing than kicking back by the plunge pool, overlooking the Mediterranean, with clear blue skies above?
Yet for me, the difference was not just in the facilities – it was the impeccable attention to detail that really defined Es Princep as an exclusive and refined destination. The check-in set the tone, with smiling staff, elegant yet relaxed in their cool designer uniforms of taupe, or crisp white shirts and signature braces.
It was also the freshly prepared welcome cocktail; the personalised ‘Princep Herald’ (a creative way to share insider island travel tips and hotel info)…
…the impressive pastry chef creations, and the fresh flowers in the room – exquisite details that made the difference.
Yet I guess that’s to be expected. Hotelier Ilka Karl is at the helm of Es Princep, bringing her people-focused approach to this flagship property, and the benefits of her track record in exclusive hospitality.
The last decade has seen Palma well and truly spruced up. Think chic boutiques, stylish bars and fancy restaurants. Historic mansion houses in the once ignored old town quarter of Palma have been transformed into designer hotels. Yet what these hotels often have in terms of old-world charm, they lack in terms of space, natural light and guest amenities and facilities.
Es Princep by contrast is a purpose-built luxury hotel that was conceived with the 21st century luxury traveller in mind. Through the creativity of architect Elías Torres, Es Princep seamlessly bridges Palma’s architectural history (through sensitive use of local materials) with the refinements of modern hospitality.
Echoing the grandeur and warmth of a family Mallorca manor house Es Princep sits comfortably within its historic surroundings. As a new landmark buildng, its height, colour and style blends with its neighbours, yet it still has a distinctive and modern appeal. Inside the locally sourced stone and wood and other natural materials soften the clean, contemporary lines and remind guests that one is staying in one of the oldest cities in the Balearics.
The hotel’s name, Es Princep reflects the hotel’s priviledged location, on the city walls of Baluard del Príncep, one of the most ancient remaining parts of Palma’s rich history.
It’s the greatest luxury to be in historic Palma yet have such capacious rooms and suites that are also full of light – and the majority have a sea view too.
Es Princep has created quality guest rooms – the materials and attention to detail is impressive.
The uncluttered, contemporary aesthetic is softened by sexy, designed armchairs, sofas, upscale linens, and fresh flowers. All the 5-star features are there, like the sumptuous King Size Bed, the thick slippers and robes, as well as unusual New York bath amenities by ‘Le Lebo’.
There’s plenty of practical thought put into the rooms too, like comfortable work desks, USB ports, and of course high-speed Wi-Fi and a smart TV.
The minibar and tea & coffee are discreetly houses in the wardrobe which is well designed and allows space for your cases too.
So, for the 2018 season the choice for an upscale hotel experience in Palma is greater than ever; but when it comes to a genuine 5-star experience, Es Princep is set to be the city’s most elegant address.
Hotel Es Princep
Barrio Calatrava, Bala Roja 1, 07001 · Palma
T: (+34) 971 72 00 00