Palma de Mallorca is one of our all-time favourite destinations; and on my last visit I enjoyed the city from a whole new perspective – relaxing in a steaming hot-tub, sipping chilled cava, looking out across Palma’s bay, from the cruise ship terminal, across old town to the gothic cathedral, and on to the Tramuntana mountains beyond, writes Andrew Forbes.
I was amongst the first guests to stay in one of the new suites of ‘The Royal’
The Royal is like a hotel-within-a-hotel; a penthouse floor of exclusive, spacious suites with striking decadent design atop the ‘urban resort’ of the GPRO Valparaiso Hotel & Spa.
The GPRO Valparaiso Hotel & Spa is an icon of Palma’s late twentieth century tourism boom. Built in the mid-1970s, this award-wining architect-designed property redefined the hotel scene in Palma in its day thanks to its innovatively designed, light-filled rooms and public spaces, and its exceptional Palma bay views.
Now after an extensive programme of renovation and modernisation, and the creation of The Royal, the Valparaiso Hotel has once again regained its prestige as a 5-star family urban resort.
The GPRO Valparaiso Hotel & Spa is to the west of Palma’s port, in an established residential area, close to the city centre – it is about 15 – 20 minutes’ drive from Mallorca’s international airport. The modernist hotel is in an elevated position, and thanks to its orientation and design, each guest is promised remarkable city views from their private room terrace.
From the hotel, one can walk to old town and the cathedral in about 30 minutes, or I recommend purchasing a Palma Pass transport card that gives you access to the city’s transport network and cultural sights.
From the hotel, the attractions of the city centre and old town are just a few minutes away by taxi or bus.
The hotel is also close to some important cultural and historic sites, including the Bellver Castle; and also the fascinating ‘La Fundació Pilar i Joan Miró’, art gallery and cultural centre celebrating the work of Joan Miró, where you also have access to his original studios where he worked since the mid-1960s until his death in 1983.
The Royal – The Suites
It was this innovative penthouse, all-suite floor that drew my attention to the Valparaiso. It’s a bold move by the GPRO Valparaiso, to create an upscale, exclusive floor with dedicated services, such as VIP check-in, private dining, and exclusive access to spa and pool services.
…exclusive, all-suite penthouse floor…
This top floor, the 7th floor is home to 7 interior-designed suites that truly raise the bar for city-centre hotel suites in Palma. The 7th floor was always home to the hotel’s largest suites, with the biggest terraces, yet now they have been totally reimagined for the 21st century.
These suites are without numbers, instead they are named after precious stones like Sapphire & Jade. My suite was spacious by any standards – bigger than most city apartments I’m sure! Décor was contemporary, and tasteful. European designer furniture, and muted tones created a tranquil and sophisticated ambiance, and touches of copper and gold added a feeling of extravagance. The floor to ceiling glass windows that slid open onto the large terrace meant the space was light-filled and welcoming.
I must say my overall impression of these new suites was overwhelming positive. They are not what you might expect from a classic family 5-star hotel – they truly create the sensation of a hotel within a hotel; and tempting option for returning guests to upgrade for a thoroughly indulgent stay.
Both the living area and bedroom of my suite opened out onto the huge glass-panelled terrace, affording exceptional views across the bay of Palma. The terrace is like having an extra room added to the suite; furnished with designer table chairs, sun loungers, and a big hot tub spa bath.
Waiting for me on arrival was a plate of artisan chocolates, and a chilled bottle of bubbles – a tempting way to start my stay, relaxing in the jacuzzi as the sun set over Palma.
The entrance to the suite, with an adjacent, luxury-appointed W.C cloakroom, led into the living room, (with bar and Nespresso) furnished with a writing desk, TV, and comfortable and elegant seating – the feeling was light, contemporary, Mediterranean.
In the bedroom, the understated interior design was lifted with a gold panelled wall, that blended with the beige, creams and taupe of the space.
The dividing wall between both spaces was cleverly designed with sliding doors allowing a feeling of open-plan living when open, or more intimate privacy when closed. The dressing area was created by a bank of wardrobes in the centre of the suite, the other side of which was another flat huge screen TV for the bedroom.
The large bathroom runs the entire length of the bedroom, with bath tub, separate shower, W.C., twin wash basins – and features such as heated towel rail, hairdryer, bathrobes, slippers – and plenty of plush new towels.
Amenities were by Chopard.
Fortunately, I had the chance to have a sneak peek at a few of the other suites on the exclusive 7th floor. There are distinctive styles and layouts to choose from, reflecting their position on the floor. For example, corner suites have wrap-around terraces; others have private dining rooms, or TVs that electrically descend from the ceiling.
The Royal as seven suites
The owner of the GPRO Valparaiso is a Chinese family business, and in some of the suites one sees Asian influences, from beautiful and delicate wallpapers, to striking use of red and gold. So guests can choose subtle or bold interior designs.
My suite of muted tones, beiges, taupe, creams and touches of gold and copper was well suited to my personal style.
The Hotel & Spa
The property has 174 rooms. The majority have classic décor, and each has a private terrace offering those Valparaiso views. If you want some of the contemporary panache of The Royal, but your budget doesn’t stretch to being on the exclusive 7th floor, then book one of the Valparaiso’s Demi Suites. These new rooms feature designer furnishings, innovative use of space, and are decorated in a modern Mediterranean style.
The hotel, with its gardens pools and family facilities is also a favourite with repeat clients because of its huge HSpa & Wellbeing centre, open to non-residents. Facilities include a dynamic heated salt water pool and hydrotherapy circuit, as well as saunas, Jacuzzis, sensation showers, outdoor pools, and of course treatment rooms offering a full range of relaxing and wellness therapies.
As a resort, the property has a choice of places to eat, from the pool bar ‘Dao’, to the fine-dining ‘Paraiso’ restaurant. ‘Mar Blau’ is the relaxed Mediterranean restaurant, with a contemporary décor that celebrate the property’s huge panoramic windows opening to sea views.
Breakfast was a surprise for me. The space is huge, and full of light, and doesn’t feel at all crowded, despite the size of this urban resort. In addition to all the expected breakfast options, there were lots of healthy options too, including fresh smoothies and various fruit juices and a dedicated section for gluten free.
My stay at the GPRO Valparaiso was a true surprise. The vision of the team at this hotel should surely be inspiration for other 1970s properties that wish to reimagine themselves for the travel trends of the 21st century. This iconic hotel has maintained its relevance and embraced the increasingly competitive hospitality sector by creating some stunning exclusive guest suites.
GPRO Valparaiso Hotel & Spa
C/ Francisco Vidal Sureda 23
07015 Palma de Mallorca
Tel: +34 971 400 300