Updated: Dec 20, 2020
High up on a hill overlooking the whole town and valley is one of the most beautiful hotels I have ever seen, and certainly stayed in
I don’t have a car. That’s right! I don’t even have a driver’s licence. I know this makes me less of a real Mallorca dweller – all those hours spent not looking for a parking space – but after 30 years in Hong Kong, where an underground train zooms into the station every two minutes with profuse apologies over the PA if it is more than 20 seconds late, public transport has been the default setting for my adult life.
I therefore didn’t give transportation a second thought when I went to Artà on my wild ‘staycation’ rampage, where my plan is to stay one night in each of the hotels on the island that are still open. I took the train to Manacor where my friend picked me up and drove me to Artà. Easy peasy!
High up on a hill overlooking the whole town and valley is one of the most beautiful hotels I have ever seen, and certainly stayed in. I can’t imagine how many thousand hours of work and miles of sourcing to find the right pieces of art have gone into making this former ruin the splendid edifice it is today.
All the eight rooms are completely different, but are all bursting with warm, nay, hot colours while classically elegant - think Louis XVI meets Tex-Mex restaurant. .
On my way up to my room, unfortunately low ceilinged and somewhat cramped by an over large cast iron sofa (!) but with a long balcony and a bathroom larger than the room itself, I look into one of the suites. It is full of books! Oh yes, I will be happy here.
Palacio Sant Salvador is so interesting and lovely and there is so much to behold inside the building and courtyard that it seems almost a sin to leave it in the morning to walk to the top of the hill with the Sant Salvador Church, the Sanctuary and the other typical Mallorcan old village stuff, but I’m a tourist so it has to be done.
Below me stretches Artà, a medieval-looking town that looks wealthy and doesn’t appear to be reliant on tourism. The night before when I sauntered through the centre looking for things to photograph, all the restaurants had seemed to be open and bustling. So perhaps this town isn’t as badly off as many places along the coast.
Of course a hotel like Palacio Sant Salvador won’t benefit much from customers who live locally, but is dependent on staycationers from other parts of Mallorca.
The owner, Christophorus Heufken, admits the situation isn’t easy, but has decided to keep the hotel open during the winter. He advises people to book directly through the hotel website or by phone, as that will give a better deal than sites like Booking.com, which I stupidly chose out of habit.
Yes, the personal, old school touch is back, brought on by a virus!
This hotel fortunately has breakfast and very good coffee, in addition to a small pool and a garden. Unlike Marton Hotel in Valldemossa where all activities happen outside and the hotel is only for sleeping, Palacio SS is the kind of place where the hotel itself is the destination.
Before Covid, they also used to host live concerts on weekends. These have been temporarily put on hold, but Heufken is looking for a larger venue so the hill above Artà can once again reverberate to live music.
The check-out time is 12:00 rather than the outrageous 10:00 that some hotels operate with. Win win! Happy happy! Worth it worth it!
My joyous and relaxed staycation smile collapses somewhat when I finally manage to locate the bus station – it’s really just a bus stop - and realise on Sundays there is one bus back to Palma. No, not one bus an hour. One bus the whole day. Ahhrghhhh.
It says a lot about Artà and Palacio Sant Salvador that I feel taking a taxi to Manacor and waiting 40 minutes for the next train is also worth it.
Palacio Sant Salvador Gaudí el restaurante
Pou Nou, 26 07570 Artà
+34 971 829 555