The phrase capital city and golf doesn’t automatically spring to mind as an appealing combination does it. I mean, previous loving and harmonious duets might be capital city and nightlife, or perhaps rolling countryside and country club, or even city and history. But on a recent visit to Palma, Mallorca, I was introduced to the concept of Urban Golf and a new combination was born for Golf in Mallorca.
Urban Golf is the brainchild of the Hotels Association of Palma who sees the potential of attracting golfers to Mallorca’s wonderful historic old capital simply by proving that it is perfectly possible to stay in the centre of the city and enjoy excellent local golf too. Palma is blessed with some first-rate courses right on its doorstep such as Son Gual and Son Muntaner and the Urban Golf initiative is designed to allow golfers to buy value for money ‘stay and play’ packages to get the best of both worlds – enjoying Palma’s historic old city and vibrant nightlife, whilst also playing some of the most delightful courses on the island.
Hotel Saratoga is a perfect example. This is a four star property in an excellent location in the old part of town, close to the delightful Paseo Marítimo promenade, the spectacular Cathedral and the busy harbour. The Saratoga is one of those informal hotels that offer excellent service but in a very understated way. The rooms are comfortable enough for a few nights stay and there is excellent live music every night in the jazz club on the top floor. So, what could be better, good music and some wonderful views of the city. Talking of good views, you’ll also get a visual treat from the roof top swimming pool and the fully kitted out gym.
So, with the hotel sorted, what about the golf? Son Gual is a stunning track designed by the renowned German architect Thomas Himmel. Only open since 2006, this is a course of simply outstanding quality and manicured to perfection. Built around the ‘Valley of 100 windmills’ ( a local sight that is apparent from the moment you drive in) the serious investment in quality is there for all to see. Bunkers of white sand, beautifully contoured glass-like greens and olive tree-lined fairways combine to give you a feast of challenging golf. Many holes remain fixed in your mind, in particular the 7th, 14th and the magnificent 18th. Make no mistake, this is a quality led club with a German management team providing the highest standards as you would expect. Everything from the course to the beautiful clubhouse and restaurant is top drawer.
Son Gual 7,250 yards.
Son Muntaner is part of the five-star Arabella Starwood complex of courses that also incorporate Son Vida and Son Quint, offering the tantalising prospect of 72 holes of golf. Son Muntaner itself, whilst not matching the lofty standards of Son Gual, still has more than enough about it to be a valid contender for inclusion in your Urban Golf experience.
It’s a good holiday course, and with its rolling fairways and mountainous tees offers a very real challenge to your handicap. There’s danger from water, particularly the second and third holes where you are faced with it on both sides of the fairway, and a very testing finishing hole.
Son Muntaner 7,500 yards.
So is Urban Golf a viable prospect? With 2 night packages available at Hotel Saratoga including breakfast and golf at both Son Gual and Son Muntaner included for around £360 depending on the time of the year, I think it’s a combination that’s a perfect fit for me.