One great golf trip almost guaranteed, if you happen to start it right. And that includes deciding for the best accommodation that caters all your needs as traveler, golfer and hedonist human being.
While the Castillo Hotel Son Vida could be described as the Grande Dame of the up-market community of Son Vida, 10 minutes outside of Palma, the Sheraton Mallorca Arabella, just a stone’s throw away from the Castillo on the other hand is the young, dynamic little sister.
It boasts a modern vibe, fresh design and contemporary facilities – together with a direct access to one of the most attractive golf courses of the island. So it’s arguably a good package, one that seems to tick all boxes. Is it true though?
Traveling to Mallorca is always a good decision. It’s even more advisable if you are not only interested in sun bathing and the general primrose path the island is offering but even more when you want to include some sports and wellness activities into your daily diary.
As the Castillo Hotel Son Vida is known for the sheer luxury of a golf hotel, the Sheraton is known to be a 5-star hotel complex, designed around the needs and requests from golfers, just in a younger package.
That starts with direct access to the Son Vida club but it luckily doesn’t end there. Depending on the package you book (there are now non-golfer packages as well for those who are after a holiday retreat but are not (yet) golfers) you have included full access to the different courses, to the training facilities, to the frequent shuttle bus and of course to all hotel amenities which there are plentiful.
As the weather turns colder and more miserable outside here in Central Europe, it fills me with great memories of late 2019, when I played golf during winter, which in Mallorca feels nothing but great with its blue skies and very pleasant and moderate temperatures.
At the same time it gives me a heavy heart as so much happened during the past months which did not turn well for golf in the Balearics or for the lovely islands in general. Of course I’m relating to the COVID-19 lockdown and all the unfortunate consequences that come with it.
This is a travel and course report of the better times when playing golf was an obvious thing to do in good weather and when every chance to play such a course is an absolute must.
Mallorca is a golf mekka, I don’t break this to you I’m sure. On this rather small island there are not less than 24 golf courses and the vast majority of them are publicly available to play.
The oldest, since 1964, and maybe hence the most original course of the island is Golf Son Vida, meandering around the famous Castillo Son Vida Hotel and through the posh and sophisticated Son Vida urbanizacion, just 10 minutes outside of Palma.
Nowadays Mallorca is famous as a golf destination all across Europe, if not the world — and it all started with Son Vida, the grand dame of Mallorcan golf courses.
To be pretty clear upfront, I had a great time in Mallorca, couple of months ago. Playing golf in beautiful sunshine in the middle of the European winter, having great company with like-minded people – what else could you ask for?
Well, you could want to live like a king while you are there? Exaggerated? Yes of course, but understandable at the same time.
Golf in Mallorca is a feast for the senses. People playing golf here are hedonists, longing for joy, fun, elegance and pleasure. And they get exactly that. The golf courses in the region cater for exactly those people, offering great golf and at the same time great amenities, great food and service.
Imagine you could play like a king, eat like a king and sleep like a king! Sounds promising? Then you should maybe consider the Castillo Hotel Son Vida Mallorca as one of your next golf trip destinations. Not only are the courses top-notch, the hotel seriously screams superiority, classiness and luxury. No wonder the hotel is part of the prestigious “Luxury Collection“, a sub brand of hotels that really live up to utmost luxurious requirements.
The Castillo Hotel is run by the Marriott hotel group, sits on top of a mountain in the Urbanización Son Vida, the famous neighborhood of stately mansions, overlooking Palma and the bay.
Two rounds of golf at a fantastic Mediterranean venue, in such a beautiful spot in the world. What else could you ask for. Is it worth it though?
The island of Mallorca has always been close to my heart. Not that I spent most of my holidays here, but when I first set foot on this island many years ago, I fell in love with the interesting complexity of it which seems to get forgotten sometimes when you read about Mallorca and its annual struggle to cope with the sheer amount of tourists coming here.
It’s an obvious beautiful island but also looking a bit deeper, it reveals so many great things, so beautiful spots, so tranquil places, so utterly fantastic stuff which stay more or less uncovered if you’d just spend a beach summer break or something alike there.
Cyclists know why Mallorca is special and golfers do, too.
Second ball I brought with me from Mallorca and actually from the course I played twice.
For once because I really liked it the first time I played it and second because Son Quint was busy with a members’ tournament when I wanted to play that one. So I came here again and in the end I was quite happy as Son Muntaner indeed is a great course and for good reason was just recently awarded European Tour Destination – World Class Golf Venue. That says a lot.
What a great achievement. And before you ask – I had nothing to do with it! Great course, great story and great ball for my showcase which is filling up nicely.
For those who don’t know Arabella Golf Mallorca so far, here is a quick reference.
The Arabella brand was founded by the German billionaire family Schörghuber. The empire was built on construction and beer—two things which not only go well together but apparently are very lucrative, if you do it right. The Bavarian Paulaner beer might be something you are aware of in that sense (and taste).
But they also ventured into hotels and golf, two things that also fit quite nicely. Under the Arabella brand there are hotel resorts and golf courses across Europe; predominantly in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Spain.
For Mallorca in particular, there is a subsidiary bearing the name of the famous island in the brand itself: Arabella Golf Mallorca. They operate several courses in the Palma region and are respected as some of the best on Mallorca, if not Spain altogether.
The year 2019 ended well for me. After I basically stowed away all my clubs for the winter break – yes, you heard right, I don’t play in snow – just then I received the invitation to take part in the 2019 Mallorca Press Cup.
The cup itself is an annual gathering of European golf and golf travel writers of all sorts of media, to group them together in beautiful Mallorca and have them experience the great golf and great amenities available.
No question, I was all in for it, packed my stuff and off I went on a cold dark December morning to be greeted two hours later by Mediterranean sunshine, cosy temperatures, and last but not least by the chauffeur and his black S-Class Mercedes who was about to take me to my hotel.
In late November I was fortunate enough to leave the cold in Germany for a couple of days and instead head down to Mallorca, Spain and enjoy the beautiful island, the cuisine, the hospitality and the fantastic golf offered over there.
Staying at the Castillo Hotel Son Vida comes with the perks of being able to play the Arabella Golf Mallorca courses, namely the Son Vida, the Son Muntaner and the Son Quint.
Recently I was given this ball as a present by a fellow golf journalist who I met in Mallorca at the Mallorca Press Cup 2019 which we both participated in as players.
The NVGJ, or Nederlandse Vereniging van Golfspelende Journalisten, is the Dutch association of golfing journalists. In 2019 they have their 25-year anniversary and therefore issued this ball.
I had no contact to the organization before but since we were talking golf and journalism a lot, we came across this particular group and I indeed became interested to join the German counterpart, the DMGG, Deutsche Medien Golf Gesellschaft.
Leo, if you read this, thanks again for the ball and the conversations we had. And who knows, maybe we’ll meet again in one of the golf journalists’ European Championships, head-to-head Germany vs The Netherlands. Looking forward to that.