It’s all about the views at the Jumeirah Port Sóller on the northwest coast of Mallorca. The hotel is built into the hillside overlooking the curving bay, protected by the Tramuntana mountains.
As soon as you walk in, you walk out again – straight across the lobby to the terrace to take in that view of the Mediterranean. If it’s warm enough – which it is most of the time – this is where you check in, while drinking a long glass of fresh orange juice, made with the sweet fruit from the orchards in the Sóller valley. It’s a good start, I must say.
The hotel opened a year ago, in April 2012, having taken over a partially-built project that had foundered a few years ago. There is no way you would get permission to build right by the sea now, particularly since the Tramuntana area gained Unesco World Heritage status two years ago.
The complex stretches along the cliff for around half a mile and comprises 120 rooms, two outdoor pools, a couple of restaurants and four bars. There is a spa set over three levels, with a good gym and its own outdoor pool, although this one is for lolling in the warm bubbles rather than swimming – while gazing at that view of the Mediterranean and the mountains of course.
I stayed in room 2000, which is classed as deluxe, the mid category between superior (which is the most basic, so superior to what exactly I’m not sure) and junior suite. There are also two unsurprisingly spectacular and vast suites, the Observatory and the Lighthouse, which I didn’t get to see as they were both occupied. By whom, I wonder? This feels like a prime celeb-spotting place, but I didn’t spot any famous faces wandering about in their bathrobes.
Anyway, room 2000 is big, with a huge, supercomfy bed, a sofa and a bathroom with a wetroom-style shower with overhead and handheld showerheads. I didn’t have time to use the bath, although I was intrigued by the teabag you could dip in the water, along with a saucer of salt. Toileteries are Penhaligon, with the all-important conditioner and body lotion as well as shampoo and gel. After a week of staying in hotels with those useless tube things stuck on the wall, I was relieved to find a salon-standard hairdryer. There is an illuminated magnifying mirror, which is always a godsend when trying to apply eyeliner in a rush. I usually find the bathrobes too heavy in luxe hotels, but this one was light towelling on the inside, cotton on the outside and really comfortable. No, I didn’t pinch it.
Back in the room, there is the obligatory enormous flatscreen telly, a Bosé docking station, a socket panel on the desk and ooh… a nespresso machine. Fab. Of course, we Brits would love to see a kettle too, but it’s a start. Internet is free throughout the hotel, with a good signal. Hooray! It would be nice if you only had to sign in once and were then connected for your entire stay, but it wasn’t too much of a faff. I would have liked to be told the connection procedure at check-in too.
On entering the room, you don’t have to put your keycard in a slot to turn the electricity on, which felt very civilised, and there is an everything-off switch by the bed.
A bowl of oranges on the coffee table is a nod towards the location, not that you are likely to forget where you are. Although you are very much in international hotel territory here, they do make a bit of an effort to use local produce, both in the restaurants and in the spa.
My only disappointment – and I realise this makes me look particularly vacuous – is that the magazine holder contained only one of those pointless corporate hotel titles and no pristine glossies; especially as outside on the terrace there was not only a table and chairs but a rather decadent daybed, which was just crying out to be reclined upon with the latest issue of Vogue or Condé Nast Traveller or whatever.
I had a great facial with Natura Bissé citrus products in the spa, followed by a citrus-themed lunch, which included a fabulous gazpacho made with orange, lemon and grapefruit, the very tasty Sóller prawns and seabass with ginger and a citrus jelly. Every month the hotel does a package pairing treatments with food, which is a nice touch. Last month it was almonds, next month lavender.
It was a bit of a surprise in the sauna and steam area to see that a lot of people – men and women – were naked. Apparently this is against Jumeirah policy and there are signs requesting people to wear swimsuits, but I hadn’t noticed the signs and the staff didn’t say anything either.
I really liked the breakfast as there was not only a great selection of fresh fruit, but it was actually all ripe too, which is very unusual in my experience; I always seem to be sawing through rock-hard chunks of melon. Eggs, bacon and whatever else you fancy are cooked to order and the orange juice is freshly squeezed for you. Coffee was made to order from the espresso machine the first morning, but I just got a jug on the table the second day, although I had asked for the same thing. I needed to stay a bit longer to get to the bottom of that one.
You could spend a very pleasant week or so loafing about the hotel, at the adults-only infinity pool at the top of the complex or the family-friendly Talaia pool further down. A cocktail on the terrace of the Sunset Bar is a pretty good way to watch the, um, sunset, and there is quite a list to work your way through, before you move onto the gin and tonics, that is.
Or you could just use it as an exploring base. The surrounding area is gorgeous, great for walking in the mountains – or cycling if you are insane – drinking coffee at pavement cafés in impossibly picturesque villages or discovering secret coves. And Palma (and the airport) is only around half an hour away too.
Rooms at the Jumeirah Port Sóller start at around €300, including breakfast, but often hover more around the €450 mark. There are always packages and early-booking offers available, if that’s any consolation.
I travelled to Mallorca with Vueling, which flies from Heathrow and Cardiff, as well as Spanish and European airports.