On a balmy evening in Palma, Mallorca, whilst looking for somewhere to eat, my companion and I walked past a dark and mysterious entranceway. We pressed our faces up against the dark glass and saw a beautiful dimly lit bar with ornate chandeliers and a smartly dressed barman. ‘We have to go in there at some point,’ we said in unison. Looking around for the name of the place we saw nothing so left a location pin on Google maps to come back and find it. The very next day we arrived by taxi and to our amazement is was at that very same location; we were unknowingly checking into the elusive and exclusive Palma Riad.
Opened in 2021, the exotic hotel is located right in the heart of Palma yet hidden away on one of the many winding streets of the old town. It is a 5 star, adults only property consisting of only 11 suites, all with their own unique surprises. Designed by Pablo Peyra with the traveller in mind Palma Riad has all the comforts you’d expect of a five star hotel but my experience was so wonderful I’d give it more if I could. Fresh from a day at a local beach club we arrived with the baseline still echoing in our ears and the sea air still filling up our noses. Yet when you step from the street through the doors into the check in lounge it’s as if you are transported into another world.
The silence is unbelievable, just the soft sound of water flowing accompanied by the scent of something wonderful wafting through the air. We are shown through to the Riad in which the whole structure surrounds. The focus of the space is a beautiful flowing pool beneath one of the largest framed mirrors I’ve ever seen, reflecting the natural light beaming down from the open roof above. Exotic plants and climbing vines up the walls give the space such a warm and luxurious vibe and I already can’t wait to see it in the evening when we come for dinner.
As lovely as the dining and bar area was, nothing could prepare me for how incredible our suite was. I’d like to tell you that as I was shown round I was an example of poise and elegance with a humble grace. Instead, upon entering every room I had to let out a gasp of ‘OH MY GOD!’ because I could not quite believe I was staying in such a fabulous room! The Master suite is the jewel in the crown of the Palma Riad. Set over 70sqm with a separate living room and bathroom from the main bedroom, it is big enough to sleep 4 adults. I don’t mean there’s 2 beds, I mean the bed is big enough to comfortably sleep 4 adults, I’ve never seen a bed so big, not to mention it’s a four poster bed with gorgeous white curtains surrounding it and a mirror in the ceiling. I feared once I got in I’d never want to get out.
The separate living room consists of a blue velvet sofa, long and wide enough to be a king size bed, full of decorative cushions. A bar area is tucked into a corner with a welcome bottle of local cava and a selection of bottles should you wish to stay in your room to enjoy a drink. There is also a desk area, fireplace and a smart TV disguised as a mirror on the wall. The bedroom has a full sized wardrobe as well as baggage racks, 2 chairs and a table, chaise longue and a dressing table. Both rooms have small balconies with views of the quiet streets below. Then there’s the bathroom… I’m not one to get excited about bathrooms as it’s not somewhere I’d usually spend a lot of time, but opening the double doors to the air conditioned space and seeing the large double sinks complete with gold taps and bowls, the full zebra skin rug on the tiled floor and then spotting the impossibly huge moroccan style bath. Big enough for 4 people it is raised off the floor and entered by steps, lined with tiny black tiles and with modern taps and shower heads it is so inviting you immediately want to run a bath. We of course tried it out and it filled in under half an hour, plenty of time for a glass of bubbles whilst you unpack.
We headed down to pre-dinner cocktails at the bar, (the one we’d peered into the night before) which is dark and chic yet cosy and very relaxed, barman Xose made an incredibly good spicy margarita. We then took a few steps to the centre of the Riad to dine at the newly opened Morokko Bar and Restaurant.
With a Moroccan fusion menu there were delights such as Fried Aubergine with Can Honey, Cold Carrot & Orange Soup, Cucumber Spaghetti with Avocado Pesto and Lamb Moussaka. The whole menu sounded mouth wateringly good and we were guided through anything we didn’t recognise by our knowledgeable waiter Daniel. We began our meal with a selection of local olive oils and salt with some warm, freshly made flat breads and some chilli olives and soft cream cheese with mint. This was one of those occasions where you tell yourself not to fill up on the bread, but when the bread and dips are that good it’s just too hard to stop. My main was Free Range Chicken Skewers which came with harissa and yoghurt, tzatziki, a Moroccan salad of tomato, avocado and onion with plenty of fresh lime juice, and of course more bread. A beautifully flavoured and perfectly prepared meal that was exactly what I wanted after a long day of sun and sea.
The breakfast selection in the morning was wonderful, fantastic quality foods such as pastries, cereals, fruits, cheese and meats as well as a hot food menu which you could browse whilst enjoying a morning coffee in the bar area. We opted for a quick croissant and fresh yoghurt and granola as we were heading out for a half day walking tour with Tours by Locals. Met at our hotel, we were guided through the busy streets of Palma by Pedro Oliver who we immediately warmed to because of his easy going attitude and knowledge and passion for his home country.
For the first part of the tour we visited the picturesque alleys of the old quarters of Palma on the way to the gothic Cathedral, where we entered and looked around whilst Pedro explained the very colourful history of both the Cathedral and the beautiful Almudaina Palace. Carrying on through the streets we saw the City Hall, the many Mallorcan historical courtyards, and even the modernist influences of Gaudí on some of the buildings. He also took us to get some biscuits from the elusive nuns at the Monestir de Santa Clara which we found very interesting.
The second part of the tour was a tapas tour and Pedro explained to us how the different cultures, religions and époques have influenced the actual life and gastronomy in Mallorca. Taking us through the market we marvelled at the variety of fresh fruit and vegetables as well as the cuts of meat and wonderful array of seafood. We were glad to give our feet a rest by perching ourselves at the bar of Los Maños and being fed ham, fried squid, cheese, bread and padron peppers all washed down with sangria. My kind of tour! It was wonderful being guided by Pedro and being able to ask questions about the city and Mallorca as a whole, a private tour gives you the freedom to really get to know a place and understand its heritage and culture.
Arriving back at the most beautiful air conditioned suite was one of the greatest feelings in the world at that moment. I thought I would miss having a pool or spa in a hotel but when your suite is so nice, you don’t really want to leave, plus our bath was a pool in itself! Something also has to be said for the wonderful staff at Palma Riad, all of them going above and beyond to make our stay absolutely unforgettable. This hotel may be hard to find, but this is one hidden gem that I wholeheartedly recommend adding to your bucket list.
Carrer de Sant Jaume 5