Sea spa: Celeb-worthy treatments at Castillo Hotel Son Vida
by Charlotte Hogarth-Jones
Looking for the best spa in Palma de Mallorca? Charlotte Hogarth-Jones recommends the reputed Castillo Hotel Son Vida, which has hosted the yachting world’s most glamorous individuals.
Where is the Castillo Hotel Son Vida?
The Castillo is perched high in the hills of Son Vida in Palma de Mallorca, an area that has become famous as a must-visit destination for golf lovers, thanks to three magnificent courses nearby – Golf Son Vida, the island’s oldest course, which the hotel looks out onto, Golf Son Quint and Golf Son Muntaner. The building, however, dates back to as early as 1229, when King James I of Aragon conquered Mallorca. It wasn’t until the 16th century that it got its name as it’s known today, however, and since the property’s spectacular opening as a hotel in 1961 it has hosted a staggering line-up of world-famous figures.
Princess Grace (Grace Kelly) and Prince Rainier of Monaco were among the first guests to attend and host a party there, while some years later Steve McQueen and John Wayne chatted over drinks at the bar. It’s where racing driver Jackie Stewart came to recover after an accident at the Belgian Grand Prix, where actor Michael Caine stayed while filming nearby, and where Brigitte Bardot came to relax with her new husband Gunther Sachs. Royal family members, sheiks, playwrights, film directors and producers, actors and actresses, the list of noteworthy visitors is endless – and Castillo Hotel Son Vida continues to attract them today as much as ever.
The Castillo itself is a wonderfully grand affair, without being pretentious, and its rich history is inescapable. In between suits of armour, historic murals on the walls and antique furniture, you’ll find a dramatic sweeping spiral staircase, fine furnishings and marble, and any number of enormous lounges with big velvet couches to relax in. Don’t mistake the building’s age for it being dated either – bedrooms are light and elegant with clean, contemporary decor, and most have wonderful views overlooking the marina of Palma far below. There are 12 suites – including the 132m Royal Suite, which has a Jacuzzi and a large private terrace – as well as a large Spanish-Meditteranean restaurant, contemporary tapas restaurant and wine cellar, and a champagne bar too.
The Hotel Son Vida's best spa treatments
There’s a wide range of treatments to choose from at the small but perfectly formed spa, but body treatments are your best bet. Highly experienced therapists, some who have previously worked as physiotherapists, deliver the ultimate full body experience, combining an excellent, bespoke massage with a top-to-toe scrub. There’s a special treatment for golfers, where the back, leg and arm muscles are targeted, or a Hawaiain “Lomi Lomi massage”, which uses a series of rhythmic strokes to guarantee that you’ll switch off. They might not sound groundbreaking, but it’s quality treatments that deliver real results, rather than fads, that Castillo Hotel Son Vida does, and it does it very well. There’s a peaceful pool to relax in after your treatment, too, along with a Finnish sauna, a bio sauna and a steam bath.
Bars, Restaurants and Shopping at Castillo Hotel Son Vida
A cocktail at Bar Armas, which is on the hotel’s magnificent terrace, is a must. It’s the largest terrace in the area, and has beautiful views of Palma as well as the picturesque landscape of cedar, lemon and orange trees in the surrounding hillsides too. There are a few boutiques selling jewellery and clothing in the heart of the hotel, if retail therapy is your way of unwinding. And, with its array of comfy sofas and armchairs, the George Sand lounge is the perfect peaceful spot to read the newspaper in or get stuck into a good book.