Helen Warwick reviews the baby friendly Nakar Hotel in Palma.
There’s a tiny cove I always like to swim in when I’m in Palma – a city I’ve been regularly visiting for more than 15 years. Locals lug their beach gear down the steps, the water is every shade of turquoise, and its only restaurant has tables scattered across the rocks where you can eat mounds of crispy calamari and sip glasses of white that cost less than 4 euros. It’s called Cas Catala, though keep that to yourselves (the locals won’t thank me for it).
And where do I like to stay? Well, that’s a place I do want to shout about.
A serenely special bolthole, Nakar Hotel sits bang in the centre of Palma, surrounded by the luxe shops of Ave de Jaume III and the quiet stretch of Sa Feixina Park to the south with its children’s play area and exceptional (though pricey) cafe. It’s not one of those all singing-all-dancing hotels with a vast reception area and rows and rows of staff with gleaming white teeth. It’s understated and intimate with an unflinching sense of sophistication that says, ‘we will take care of everything’, whilst warmly grinning and imparting a few local tips for you as you check in. I loved it immediately.
There are several different types of room: running from basic doubles to the all-out Nakar Suite, but we were staying in one of the distinctly gorgeous Suites with Spa Bath and Balcony; the sort of room you want to fling yourself on the gargantuan bed and jump in sheer elation as you discover every little detail. Interiors are an ode to refined minimalism, embodying natural earthy tones and materials that set the scene for an unfussy and seamless stay.
The bathroom was generous with double sinks, but it is the enormous spa bath that epitomises Nakar’s appeal: of the good life and heartwarming pleasures. We filled it up with steaming hot water, switching on the jets after a day on the beach; but there’s also a blind that edges down at the touch of a button if you’d like a shower in solitude. Every detail is thoughtful and flawless.
Particularly given the hotel’s central location, the space is huge with gleaming wooden floors and vast floor to ceiling windows you can pull to one side and step on to the balcony. It was here I stood each morning, sipping a coffee, watching the street below wake up: of the queues for empanadas snaking around the corner, children bounding down the pavement and taxis and buses careering past.
I usually travel with all three of my children, but on this occasion, I just brought along my husband and 11-month-old Mia, who slept in a travel cot left at the end of our bed and who thoroughly enjoyed crawling around every nook of the suite. It’s not always easy travelling with such a young child, but every member of staff tickled her under the chin or warmly smiled at her as we wrestled her into the pushchair.
On our first day, we took the lift up to the top floor where Cuit Bar & Restaurant sits – a culinary destination in its own right. There were immaculately dressed waiters buzzing around and tables looking across to open windows with a tantalising glimpse of the spires, the sepia rooftops and the sea in the distance. Once squeezed into her highchair, Mia happily sucked on olives, crusts of just-baked bread and scoops of delicious jamon croquettas.
We smugly worked our way through a bottle of Alabarino and an excellent plate of cod on sticky sardine rice – the sort of dish that no doubt brings in the foodie crowds at the weekend. It was so good, I ordered it again the following day, though on this occasion I didn’t share it with Mia who I’d handed over to my sister for a few hours’ of babysitting.
Completely child-free, my husband and I crept up the stairs from the restaurant to the top floor where the rooftop pool sits, lording itself over quite possibly the best view in the city. Gloriously full of Cuit’s outstanding food, we lazed here for several hours, bronzing our backs in the October sunshine, dangling our feet in the pool and laughing over an iced mojito. Up on the rooftop, it was calm and quiet with just the subtle thrum of music in the background, the cool of the water as I leaned on my forearms on the side of the pool and the vast ocean tinkering away. A child-free afternoon of dreams.
My verdict on the Nakar Hotel? Easily one of my new favourite addresses in the city. Down-to-earth staff, impeccably serene rooms, in-the-thick-of-it location, serious food and a rooftop with the view. It’s with good reason that many other contemporary hotels in Palma see the Nakar Hotel as the benchmark.
Tell me more about the Nakar Hotel in Palma
Nakar Hotel. Avenida Jaime III, 21, 07012 Palma de Mallorca, Spain
T: (+34) 971 720 223 E: email@example.com
Room rates from 100 euros in low season, B&B.