March 2018 / Travel / by Sam Playford

Balearic bliss

The Garonda Hotel, Pure Salt Luxury Hotels

Dreams of dramatic clifftop scenery, golden sands and azure oceans become reality on a short break to one of Mallorca’s finest adults-only five-star hotels. The BBC has much to answer for… Seduced by all of that spectacular scenery, I’ve had a hankering for Mallorca (among other things) since watching The Night Manager, so when a friend suggests a girls’ weekend in the sunshine, I jump at the opportunity for a Balearic break.

As the mother of young twins, recent jaunts to the Med have meant seeking out holiday clubs, playgrounds and child-friendly restaurants, so I’m adamant that this trip will be different. Starting with an adults-only hotel – if I don’t have to put up with my own offspring, I certainly don’t want to have to endure those of other people!

Playa de Palma

With two five-star locations on the island, Pure Salt comes highly recommended, and – set on the beach in the heart of Playa de Palma – the Garonda hotel, with its spa and highly rated restaurant, looks to be exactly what we’re after.

We clearly don’t get out enough, because simply being at the airport without kids in tow (or husbands, come to that) feels like a spa break. We’d celebrate with bubbles if it weren’t for the unnaturally early start – still, there’ll be plenty of opportunity for that later, we reason.

Garonda Mallorca


For us, one of Garonda’s main attractions is the location; just 10 minutes from the airport we’re assured that sun-drenched relaxation is that little bit closer. One stress-free taxi transfer later we are greeted in reception and swiftly checked in. Perhaps the team can sense our urgency to make the most of every moment on those sun loungers (cool customers we are not).

In our room we linger only long enough to admire the chic design and luxurious facilities – everything is very Miami modern in feel and we definitely approve. We’re equally enamoured with the stunning view of the beach from our balcony, and after a quick change we head out to explore those golden sands.

A dream

We are happy to discover that the beach is everything we have dreamed… and more. Playa de Palma has gained something of a reputation for water-sports, but our personal agenda for today involves nothing more strenuous than a dip or two in the azure sea and a stroll to the hotel’s Mikel & Pintxo bistro, where we tuck into divine seafood paella and toast our holiday fortune with a glass of deliciously chilled white Rioja.

The bed is blissfully comfortable, and I sleep so deeply that upon waking I am convinced it is all a dream. The sound of the waves crashing on the shore assures me that it is not. We make the most of an indulgent lie-in before heading to the first floor terrace, where we sit overlooking the beautiful Bay of Palma, and enjoy breakfast from the hotel’s impressive buffet.

Garonda Mallorca

Time to explore

The concierge has suggested hiring bikes and exploring the promenade outside the hotel, but as pleasant as that sounds, it doesn’t quite meet with our relaxation brief. Indeed, the agenda for today is not much different to yesterday, though we are up for a change of scenery. We’ve heard good things about the Purobeach club, which is a short cab ride away, so make tracks there as soon as we are done at the buffet.

Set on a rocky promontory jutting into the sea, it has the feel of a yacht. Everything is dazzlingly white and achingly cool. We bag ourselves a huge daybed and settle in for some serious people watching. An obliging waiter soon drops by to see what he can do for us, and moments later a platter of fresh fruit, a bottle of ice cold water and those all important glasses of Champagne appear, setting the tone for a very special day…


Feeling suitably rested we dedicate our final day to sightseeing. Palma has undergone something of a renaissance in recent years, and the historic Old Town is packed with fantastic eateries, trendy bars and smart designer boutiques, all overlooked by an impressive Gothic cathedral. We spend a happy morning wandering up and down the cobbled streets and exploring the pretty plazas, before settling in for a delicious tapas feast at one of the pretty pavement cafés.

Back at the hotel there’s just time to squeeze in a visit to the sumptuous ONA Spa, where I indulge in a deep tissue massage (which manages to be that magical combination of both relaxing and invigorating) before a final blow out meal. There can be few finer places to watch the sun setting than on the hotel’s restaurant terrace, and the food takes some beating, too. It has been the most magical Mallorcan weekend – more than living up to my sky-high expectations.

The Details

Rates from €202 per night based on two sharing with breakfast. Mar Negra 2, 07610, Mallorca (+34 971 014 040;