• Bruce

Day 19: Mallorca

We landed in Palma de Mallorca just past midnight after a short 40min hop over the Mediterranean. We grabbed a taxi just out of the airport to take us to our hotel. I booked the BQ Amfora Beach Hotel, just 5 minutes from the airport because we were getting in late and the rate was cheap. The hotel room was pretty small, but it had all the essentials for a quick overnight stay.

The next morning, we had breakfast at the hotel, which was included in the 80 euro room. The spread and quality was pretty impressive for a budget hotel, with a good made to order egg station and an assortment of western breakfast dishes.

After breakfast, we took a walk around the beach area and explored the neighborhood. The streets were all very narrow, with a row of cars parked on one side making it basically a one way street. It seemed more like a sleepy seaside village. There were some shops and restaurants along the waterfront, and a marina for the boats. There were some wooden umbrellas on the beach, but no one using it since the weather was in the high teens and was overcast.

The overall feel is definitely not the same as the private beach on Dubai Marina, and the weather was pretty gloomy. We then checked out and took a taxi up the hills to our main hotel, the Sheraton Mallorca Arabella Golf Resort. This hotel was located on the grounds of four large and renowned golf courses, overlooking the main city of Palma. The building seemed like a large Spanish mansion, which only a few floors but expansive grounds.

Check-in was smooth, although once again we didn’t get an upgrade. The occupancy was high due to the Easter Holiday and there aren’t many suites at the property in general. That was fine and I didn’t expect one, but the staff were very apologetic. Unfortunately, given we had arrived at around noon, our room wasn’t quite ready yet. They said they would give us a call once it was ready, so I gave them the number on my European SIM. I’ve only used it for data so far so I wasn’t sure if it worked or not (spoilers, it did not). Since we were up in the hills, we didn’t really want to go back down to the city, so we just explored the grounds and golf courses around the hotel. At the Son Vida Golf Course, we saw they had a restaurant and it was already afternoon, so we popped in for some lunch. We weren’t that hungry so we just got a few tapas: calamari, spicy potatoes (the most classic tapa), and some shrimp fritters. We finished the meal with a couple Americanos.

The food was decent, but nothing special. Not as memorable as the meals in Valencia. The cost was reasonable for a luxury hotel/golf course, except for the 5 euro charge on the bottle of Monte Pino water. We later searched and found that those bottles often go for 3-4 euros in stores so it wasn’t too much of a stretch, but at the time it was shocking. After lunch, we checked back at the front desk and they said the room was ready but failed to reach us on the number provided. Oops. The room was a typical hotel room size, with everything you would expect. Furnishings were modern but nothing flashy – typical of the Sheraton brand. They did leave an almond cake (a local specialty), with a bottle of Vermuth and a large bottle of that expensive Monte Pino water.

We enjoyed the cake with a couple espressos from the Nespresso machine. A few minutes later, we had a knock on the door from the concierge who handed us two more bottles of Monte Pino, a large bowl of fruit, and a bucket of Cava (Spanish Champagne) on ice. We thought they got the wrong room at first, but he said it’s all compliments of the house. He gave us a hand written letter which explained how sorry they were for not being able to upgrade us. This was unexpected since upgrades are never guaranteed and always based on availability. The letter addressed me as an Ambassador member, which is the highest elite status at Marriott. I am actually two levels below this (Platinum), which might explain why they were so nice. Regardless, this was a nice gesture that we appreciated.

Afterwards, we went down to the indoor pool and spa to relax. The pool was a good size, and the room itself had large windows giving it lots of natural light. There were lounge chairs throughout, as well as a sauna and jacuzzi. This island stop was meant for some R&R and that’s exactly what we did.

Once dinner time rolled by, we looked at what options we had. This hotel was fairly remote so there’s nothing really within walking distance besides the hotel restaurants and its sister hotel, the Castillo Luxury Collection Hotel that was 15mins away. Since it was getting dark, we decided to stay at the Sheraton. When we got to the lobby around 8pm, the manager greeted us and offered us a glass of Cava. Apparently they were celebrating the new Marriott Bonvoy Rewards program so they had this happy hour going. We caught the end of it, but they still insisted opening a new bottle for us.

Today was also Holy Thursday (the last supper), so a special Easter Buffet was being served. Now, we have been eating all-you-can-eat lounge food for weeks now, so if I had to spend money on something I was hoping it was a la carte. But since there were no reasonable alternatives, we took a look and went for it. The buffet spread wasn’t huge, but all very high quality. It had a nice hot foods section with various cooked seafood dishes, prime rib and seared duck breast. The highlight was this salt encrusted fish which was so soft, tender, and delicious. I went back for several rounds of it. The dessert section was pretty good too, with even a chocolate fountain. We finished the meal with some Chamomile tea.

The buffet itself was pricy at 49 euros, but we knew that already. I thought the manager said including drinks but it turns it was “plus drinks” as in additional cost. The tea was free, but here in Europe, water is the most luxurious drink. We had that same bottle of Monte Pino water here for 7 euros. Other than that, it was an excellent meal and since it was charged to the room, I could earn 31 points per dollar here due to my Platinum status and a double points promotion. We finished the night with some more Cava.