Helen Warwick reports on the Zafiro Palace, a luxury hotel in Mallorca that is the ultimate family-friendly escape.
This game-changing luxe resort in the northern reaches of Mallorca flies the flag for the good life. It’s a place engineered for families with excitable kids as much as sun-seeking couples in need of peace and seduction. Which is why you’ll want to go back again and again…
Enter the polished cavernous lobby and take in the view – of palm plants, swish lighting and soaring windows – and by god, it’s an impressive entrance. Zafiro is easily one of the most stylish digs in town. It’s cool and contemporary and it’ll sweep you off your feet. But there’s absolutely no snootiness and our bedraggled appearance did nothing to deter the heartwarming greeting or the speed at which we were plonked down by the front desk and handed chilled cavas and OJs for the boys. I was liking it already. Clearly, this is a place where the kids can be kids and the adults can revel in the good times, and where everyone is too caught up having fun to judge or tut tut at free-wheeling children. Which is exactly why we’ve gone for a family-orientated hotel – albeit one with lashings of luxury. There’s no point in trying to recreate our childless holidays in hippie hideaways.
So that’s where I found myself, mooching along a bridgeway that soared over a pool – the pumping heart of Zafiro – to our room. And with 369 rooms, Zafiro is humungous. But it’s also slick and minimalist. There are no splashes of primary colours and no murals of cartoon characters. The real genius of the place is the one-size-fits-all-solution – doe-eyed couples can hide away from prying eyes, mates can dream away the hours at the adults-only pool, and frazzled parents really can have a break. We discovered this on our first evening, putting our boys to bed in our living room space, whilst we snuggled up on a Balinese bed in a corner of the terrace, slurping a smooth red and giggling like teenagers. We’d had visions of us all cooped up in one room – the kids waking at my husband’s snores; my husband waking to their morning shouts; and me, lying awake through it all. But in reality, the kids slept through for 12 hours each night, exhausted from their daily waterside antics, and we’d sit gleefully on the terrace for one of those smug-parent moments.
We were staying in a junior swim-up suite – and although they’re not cheap, these cosy havens help you hit your family holiday stride. Inside you’ll find bags of room – there’s a bathroom with double sinks, gorgeous-smelling toiletries, rain shower and large tub; a living space with a dining table, TV, sofabed and a handy kitchenette; and our bedroom that led directly onto the terrace. All in muted tones with arty wall pieces and pops of turquoise on our mammoth bed. And it’s that terrace that was an absolute lifesaver – for the kids to frolic whilst I unpacked, for pre-breakfast wrestling, and for afternoon snoozing.
When we weren’t hanging out in our room, we were mostly found spread-eagled around the pools – of which there are 12. Yes, 12. There’s a pool for every type of whim. A pool for laps and a pool for adults, a pool for jumping upon a huge inflatable dome, and a pool for tots. There’s also a dreamy indoor pool at the spa. We even had a pool lying just beyond our terrace. But Charlie had his eye on the kids’ pool as soon as he’d clapped eyes on the hulking pirate ship that loomed over its edge, and as soon as we’d pulled on his water wings, he was off into the shallows, whizzing down the slides and climbing the ship’s ladders. One-year-old Max, meanwhile, pottered about its fringes under the watchful eye of my husband. I actually had a half hour to sunbathe.
When it comes to foodie credentials, Zafiro Palace has some lip-smacking dishes to choose from. There are four a la carte restaurants, but we played it safe with the sprawling buffet restaurant. The four of us scampered up to its outdoor terrace and I was immediately relieved when I spotted a neighbouring playground where the kids could lark around whilst we polished off a bottle of rose. As for the food, well, it’s the real deal. I’ve always been wary of buffets but this was as refined a buffet as I’ve seen: there were hulking mounds of just-caught prawns and crayfish; juicy and salty slabs of Iberica pork ribs; mini bowls of zesty ceviche; and sizzling paella, thick with rabbit and prawns.
Desserts were knockout and the very stuff of childhood dreams. Glossy chocolate tortes, buttery almond cake, plum tarts that looked like they’ve come straight from a French patisserie, and tubs of deliciously thick and creamy ice cream were met with kiddie enthusiasm from every guest. Charlie didn’t quite know what to do with himself when he spotted the bowls of sweets. That’s the thing about Zafiro. It likes to take care of everyone’s puckish pleasures.
We didn’t just spend our stay eating and swimming and sleeping. Scurry seawards from the hotel, and you’ll find the dazzling stretch of Alcudia beach around 5 minutes’ walk from the Zafiro. The sand’s golden and soft, the water’s a glittering shade of azure, and as the hazy sun dipped one afternoon, we scooped up seashells with the boys and supped a couple of sundowners.
The Zafiro is undoubtedly a class act when it comes to superb family escapes.
Tell me more about the Zafiro Palace Hotel Alcudia
Zafiro Palace Hotel Alcudia, C/ Camí Real al Moll, 2 07400 Port d’Alcúdia (Mallorca), Balearic Islands, Spaine
Tel: +34 971 89 70 08