The Hedonist: Palma de Mallorca
Hedonist What to see and where to be seen
Saturday 28 August 2010
The island of Mallorca has everything from romantic boutique B&Bs to Bikram yoga, painting classes to Pilates – but those wanting a highly charged weekend away would do well to stick to the capital, Palma. Built around the sensational 14th-century sandstone cathedral, the city is a gorgeous hub of cobbled streets, olive trees and teeny-tiny plazas, with stunning hotels, bars and restaurants dotted throughout. It's a brief cab ride from the airport: fly out in the morning and you can be poolside by lunchtime.
Try to book a room at the Puro Oasis Urbano (00 34 971 425 450; purohotel.com), which lies within the hip quarter of La Lonja on Calle Montenegro. Its décor is Marrakech meets Miami: lots of white leather sofas, Rajasthani mirrors and eclectic, citrus-silk cushions. Its restaurant and bar are heaving hangouts in their own right, as is the roof deck, with billowing tents and sleek plunge pool.
After dropping my luggage, I usually get straight back in that cab and head to the Purobeach Oasis del Mar in the Arenal area (00 34 971 744 744; purobeach. com). The slick swimming pool juts out into Palma Bay, surrounded by sumptuous sun loungers and chilled tunes. It's vital to get there before lunch, as those sacred seaside seats get snatched up early. Yoga and healthy food are the order of the day but as the sun begins to dip, the infamous "sunset ceremony" kicks in: DJs hit the decks, cocktails are shaken and the party continues long into the night.
Another great daytime spot for tanning and tonics is the Portixol (00 34 971 271 800; portixol.com) at Calle Sirena 27, a hotel which lies in the old fishing district on the edge of the city. Now a trendy spot in its own right, the Portixol is a leader in contemporary design and seriously strong drinks. The pool is for guests only but the restaurant and bar area are hip hideaways from the pedestrian beach crowds by day, and popular watering holes by night.
Dinner is always a late-night affair in Palma, so there's time for another cocktail at Marchica Café at Torre de Peraires 1 (00 34 971 406 154). This endeavour from the Pacha group was an instant hit when it opened a couple of years ago, though it's a far cry from the bump and grind of a nightclub, making it perfect for early evening drinks. The terrace offers stunning views of the Med, while the interior is mesmerising, with a rippling rubber ceiling.
My usual dinner spot is over in the Santa Catalina area, next door to the neighbourhood's divine food market. I've two favourites and adore both for the same thing: meat. Carnivores will swoon at the offerings of either Es Xoriguer at Calle Fabrica 60 (00 34 971 288 332) or Txakoli just down the road at number 14 (00 34 971 282 126). Both pack T-Bone steak in rock salt and sear it on a scorching flame, only to serve it flesh-pink in the centre and perfectly browned on the outside.
Suitably recharged, it's time for the Blue Jazz Club on the 7th floor of the Hotel Saratoga at Paseo Mallorca 6 (00 34 971 727 240; hotelsaratoga.com). Perfect for post-dinner drinks and dancing, this roof-terrace bar showcases live jazz at weekends and has been a firm local favourite for years now.
If you fancy a bar crawl, head left out of the hotel and back into the buzz of La Lonja, where the streets are lined with watering holes. However, if you're after something a bit louder and a bit later, head on to the Paseo Maritimo along the edge of the water. It is there that the clubs of Palma reign supreme.
Try Tito's (00 34 971 730 017; titosmallorca.com), which has been a clubber's favourite for many a summer. Spread across three floors, the glass lifts transport partygoers into an instant haze of heart-busting tunes that pump through the night and long into the next day. Another option is Abraxas at Paseo Maritimo 42 (00 34 971 45 59 08; abraxasmallorca.com). Set into the walls of a cliff edge, Abraxas has an outdoor terrace that's a welcome resting spot for those not used to dancing until dawn.
After grabbing some sleep at the Puro, lunch is the order of the day and there is no better place for a refuel than Fabrica 23 (00 34 971 453 125; fabrica23.com) at Calle Cotoner 42-44, back in my favourite culinary stomping ground of Santa Catalina. With the eccentric and utterly fabulous Sasha at the helm, Fabrica 23 is warm, inviting and serves excellent food (created by Sasha's brother, Alexi). Sasha never fails to convince me that lunch can't possibly be enjoyed without a glass of rosé. Sipped over three perfectly cooked courses, it's just what I need.
A Hedonist's Guide to... (Hg2) is a luxury city guide series for the more decadent traveller. For more information, see hg2.com.
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