Friend of the blog and contributor Peter Brooker, editor of Human Research, has just landed back from a long weekend in Palma. Lucky so-and-so, dodging the English rain as per usual.
In this article Peter will give you the skinny on where to stay in Palma, restaurants to visit and some tips on things to see and do.
Palma, Mallorca, or Majorca for the English-phonetic, is a drop below the luxury of Saint Tropez, but a class above Ibiza. (So I'm told, have been to neither).
All I can say is that Bilbao was a right-off. I've been in the dog-house ever since for taking my girlfriend to Bilbao, the place with one decent looking building, one inaccessible James Bond location and beyond average unadventurous cuisine.
The missus has since revoked my rights to book anything accept short stay car parking at Gatwick. Which was actually harder than it sounded given the immediacy after the BA debacle at Heathrow and reported fire at Victoria. Trains were out. Flights got cancelled/delayed. We really had to walk between the raindrops just to catch this flight.
Where to stay in Mallorca
Hotel Tres has it all. It’s a twenty minute cab ride from the airport that will cost you 20 Euros. We stayed for four nights at roughly just over 200 GBP a night. This came with breakfast included, which was decent enough. Though they charged for the coffee which didn't sit well with me. Sure you can get a regular black coffee, but we asked for soya cappuccino and got given a bill. I mean sonofabitch. Is it really that much of a calorie burner?
Ok I'm angry, but I would still recommend this hotel. I asked them to recommend restaurants ahead of our arrival and they did so. They also helped me try and get some movie location spots locked down, which was real sweet of them.
The room has one of these rolling tables that stretches the entire length of the bed. Genius. Someone is finally listening to me. I'll once again lay out the essentials of what I look for in a hotel room.
1. Room to dump stuff.
2. A bidet.
3. Soft pillows. Medium to soft mattress, queen size minimum. Not to single mattresses wedged together.
4. Decent shower pressure.
5. Air con that won't give you the lergie.
6. A telephone that you don't need a degree in astro-physics to use. (The phone did not work).
7. Decent WiFi.
The rooftop had something close to an infinity pool. You had a view of the Cathedral opposite. (Shut on a Sunday). Every now and then we saw the waiter, Thomas. We liked Thomas, he was an enterprising young man.
Where to eat in Mallorca
The good people at Hotel Tres were able to offer the following recommendations. The hotel is within walking distance of all three restaurants we frequented. Less than 5 minute walk.
OMBU - Rating: 8/10 decent food, good service. We got a seat outside both times. Best dish? The Corvina ceviche with avocado, kumquat in syrup and kilos.
KOA - This was our favourite. No outside seating but very tranquil and classical interiors. Best dish? The
Golden ceviche, ginger sweet potato, seasonal fruits and fried plantain.
Caballito del Mar we tried on the first night and had the black paella. In fairness that paella lasted us for days, but generally this was the most touristy of all restaurants.
Just bear in mind that all restaurants will bring out white bread and olives. Which you won't have asked for, and isn't free. But this covers a service charge that most restaurants in London will charge you for regardless.
Shops to visit in Mallorca
The Puzzle shop is the most famous. The lady in charge is a lot of fun. She invites you to solve puzzles and there's nothing more satisfying than proving your manliness than cracking the puzzle in under 30 seconds.
That only happened once.
Opposite you'll find the Vilebrequin store. Of course lots of overpriced swim shorts but it's handy to go in and try some on. I now know what size I am should I find some crop up on eBay. Yes I'm sorry, but I'm not spending 250 Euros on a pair of swim shorts. Do you know how much travel writers get paid?
Favourite store has to be Typographia. Now here I did a mini splurge and bought 3 t-shirts. The fit and quality is immense and the designs are quirky. They currently stock in Tate Modern, no international shipping which is nuts. So if you see it, you buy it ok?
Ice creams are consistently good everywhere. Fill your boots.
Train Ride to De Soller and Boat Trip to Magaluf
Sadly I can't recommend the company we booked with as they gave us mis-information which nearly led to us missing our boat. However, you'll find plenty of companies online that you can book through.
The train ride through the mountains is a very famous feature of the island and you shouldn't pay more than 50 Euros a ticket. There are no toilets on the train, so don't get caught out. The train ride will take you an hour but it's open-window, cool and feels antiquated in a good way.
The full day boat ride is also a very popular touristy thing to do. Both beaches you'll reach on the tours are saturated. No space to build a sandcastle. But you can jump off the boat and cool down in the sea. The food is thrown in and is actually quite tasty.
It's a good way to spend a day if you're running a tight budget.
Hop on Hop Off
These run fairly regular outside of the Cathedral. It will cost you 18 euros a ticket. Nice way to kill an hour but you'll learn very little about the city from the commentary.
I actually dozed off. But don't let that deter you. It's important to take bus tours I think to get a feel for the city.