Balearic bliss

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Palma de Mallorca, a major port city on the island of Mallorca and the capital of Spain’s Balearic Islands, displays an architectural blend of African and European heritage. Home to around 400,000 people, Julia Brandon discovered it to be the largest city on Mallorca and increasingly a Mediterranean destination for ultra high net worth individuals

img5145Located on the south-west coast of the island, it is the charm of the old town blended with the allure of the yacht harbour that has seen Palma transform in recent years into a playground for the elite. The lack of tides and strong currents make Palma a haven for yachting, not to mention the many protective coves and moorings.

Its buildings are a pluricultural mix of Gothic, Moorish and Renaissance styles, but it is the grand La Seu – or the Cathedral of Santa Maria de Palma – that the city is best known for. A Gothic Roman Catholic cathedral, it took almost 400 years to complete, and between 1901 and 1914 benefited from the discerning eye of iconic Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi. Although his involvement was relatively short-lived, his influence can be witnessed throughout Palma by way of several other minor projects that he completed, including the restoration of the Chapel of San Bernardo, the design for the floor tiling in the parish church of Pollença and reform work on the Episcopal Palace.

The winding streets behind the cathedral give way to grand churches, beaches, fountains and Bellver Castle. While the Plaça Major is the largest of the city’s squares, it is the striking, ancient olive tree with its thick, twisted trunk located in the Plaça de Cort that makes the biggest impression.

Come evening time, Palma offers a variety of entertainment from live jazz to bustling DJ bars. Lambada dancing takes place at the club Made in Brasil, while Tito’s is a must for the chic or eccentric. It is claimed that Ray Charles and Marlene Dietrich used to dance there.

MINIMALIST HAVEN

img5149Housed in a restored 18th century town palace in Palma old town‘s neighbourhood of La Lonja, Puro Hotel is a minimalist haven in the heart of the city. Combining contemporary luxury with Spanish influence, this boutique urban oasis offers a no-compromise setting with a refreshing and funky feel. A South Beach, Miami, meets Marrakech experience was the original design vision of Swedish owner Mats Wahlstrom and interior designer Gabrielle Jangeby back in 2004, and this theme has evolved as both Wahlstrom and Puro’s clientele have moved with the times.

img5147Having opened a private wing in late 2011, the retreat now comprises 51 rooms and suites, complete with daybed patios, roof deck jacuzzis, and private terraces. The new wing also offers a 24-hour concierge service, open fireplace for those chillier nights, and a kitchen and private dining area for groups with their own chefs. Striking artwork by Peter Grondahl adorns the walls, while pieces from British furniture brand Halo Angel lend a modern twist.

In prime proximity to the yacht harbour, coveted shops and restaurants, and historic centre, Palma is the first and so far only Puro hotel. But Wahlstrom has plans for expansion, citing Marrakech as the next possible location for a Puro twin.

COFFEE IS SERVED

“it is a brand of service beaches that the privileged will want to keep an eye on”

The Cappuccino Grand Cafe opened its doors in Paseo del Borne, Palma, in March last year. Located in the heart of the luxury-shopping district, it forms part of the ubiquitous Cappuccino coffee group, popular with the city’s chic, discerning coffee drinkers. This particular venue, however, was designed by American Michael Smith, who rose to recognition after reforming the White House at the request of the Obamas. With a sun terrace positioned between the Plaza de las Tortugas and the Paseo del Borne, it has quickly become a favourite with the locals.

RELAX

“Relaxing has never been so effortless”

Perched on the tip of a mini peninsula, Puro Beach Palma Bay is an unrivalled lifestyle concept by the sea. With lounge beds, pool-side spa treatments and its own DJ-mixed music selection, Puro Beach is the very definition of cool.

Relaxing has never been so effortless. From early afternoon until late at night, guests are lulled into a carefree environment, capped with an unrivalled view of the sun setting behind the Palma mountains.

With Puro Beaches cropping up across Spain, Egypt and the Middle East, it is a brand of service beaches that the privileged will want to keep an eye on.

EATING OUT

The cuisine of the island is typically Balearic with many dishes, such as sobrasada, displaying a traditional Mediterranean influence with full flavours and the use of local spices including paprika. However, for a pluricultural experience, Tahini Sushi Bar & Restaurant arguably serves the best Japanese cuisine on the island. Located in the exclusive marina Puerto Portals, around a 30-minute drive from central Palma, Tahini is frequented by gourmets who favour its fresh raw ingredients and mouth-watering recipes. The only restaurant in the Grupo Cappuccino portfolio, the owner and head chef travel to Japan each year to ensure the food is as authentic as possible. The tuna tartar or the foie and truffle soup are particular favourites.


For one night’s stay at Puro Hotel based on two people sharing, prices start at 285 Euro for a double superior room, 375 Euro for a junior suite, and 515 Euro for a penthouse suite. All prices include breakfast and are exclusive of VAT