The place to dine and dance the night away!
Hotel Saratoga is synonymous with Palma. I remember it being one of the top items list of things you must do when I first arrived on the island six years ago, and if you speak to anyone who has been here for any length of time they will tell you that this lady has the same pull now as she did when she first opened back in May 1962.
Situated on the Paseo Mallorca she is the grand dame of the street, standing majestically overlooking the torrent that marks the outer walls of the city and is the boundary between old town and Santa Catalina. This situation affords guests some impressive views from both their rooms and the public spaces.
The Saratoga is and always has been a family run hotel. The project originally arose from the union of a family of builders and 3 families of doctors from Mallorca & Catalonia and all of the families have left their mark, one of my favourites being the pool on the ground floor which is kidney shaped and symbolises clearance and is a nod to the family’s profession. It seems that everything has a significance in the Saratoga. The name for example. I asked where it had come from thinking perhaps it was a family name. It is in actual fact named after the USS Saratoga, an American aircraft carrier built in the 20s who survived multiple battles and attacks, including the attack on Pearl Harbour. The carrier in turn was named after the 1777 battles of Saratoga, which were the final fights that truly gave the Americans the winning edge during the American Revolutionary War. The founding partners chose it because it symbolised struggle, strength and courage, key pillars which have seen the hotel through nearly six decades of business.
In fact, since its inception, family members have always been present, helping in everything they could. Some worked at the hotel, and others brought fruit for customers from their gardens. Today the mantle is carried on by different family members, a constant presence in the hotel, ensuring that the guests are given the five star service they have come to expect.
There are many different facets to the Saratoga and on the day of our visit we started out on the ground floor at the Gastrobar, the hotel’s street level offering to both the public and guests alike. We were delightfully welcomed by the staff and treated to a selection of the tapas that they had on offer. The dishes were beautifully prepared and were presented to us by Maurizio Di Munno, the beaming Head Chef and grand master of all of the hotel’s food offerings. If we hadn’t been going for a sunset dinner in the Sky Saratoga Bar we would have happily sat for hours as each fantastic dish came and we were treated to wine pairings from the ever knowledgeable sommelier. It’s a really lovely spot for breakfast, lunch or dinner and has both an internal, air-conditioned offering, as well as a terrace out on the covered walkway which is the most perfect spot for people watching while sipping a chilled glass of albarino, from the Gastrobar’s extensive wine collection. To pick a favourite tapas dish from all that was offered is next to impossible, however I was still replaying the memory of the stunningly presented langoustine several days later.
After our wonderful start we took a meander through the hotel to have a look at the various different spaces on offer. On this particular day we were delighted to be able to get a glimpse of the winning entries of Palma Hat week, which also cleared up a question that myself and my ever trusty photographer Anouska and I had been puzzling over. Why was everyone wearing hats? Palma Hat Week is just one of the multitude of events that take place every week in the hotel and it is well worth their keeping an eye on their upcoming diary to see what next fancy is on the cards.
We moved on from the exhibition that overlooked the infamous kidney shaped pool and the terrace of bali beds which is also where the fabulous buffet breakfast is served as tonight was all about going up. So up we went. And oh my goodness, what a treat we were in for. We were met by the wonderful Johnathan, who was our host for the evening and presented with the Sky Bar, a space that is open for reservations for both hotel guests and the public for lunch and dinner. It is spectacular. The views are absolutely incredible.
On one side you look out across the bay and its singing boats all the way up to Bellver Castle, Jaime II’s summer palace, turned prison, and now a venue for summer concerts. On the other side of the terrace you are afforded views of what must be the most iconic symbol of Palma, Le Seu, the stunning cathedral that dominates the skyline and calls like a siren to all that live here.
We were absolutely spoilt and actually quite speechless. The setting was just sublime. A few tables nestled around a glowing azure pool. A gentle breeze on the air and a perfectly chosen soundtrack to remind guests that at the heart and soul of the Saratoga is music. Johnathan took great delight in pointing out his favourite table where lovers become honeymooners and more than one sparkling diamond has been presented under a star filled sky. But it’s not just couples who were enjoying the ambiance, groups of friends and families alike were basking in the joy of being in this oasis in the city.
This is all before we’ve even got to the food. With a glass of pink bubbles in hand we took the time to peruse the mouthwatering menu, and were absolutely spoilt for choice. From succulent beef to delightfully light Summer salads, to creamy risotto with prawns.
Each dish that came out had us wanting to come back for more. And the tuna, oh my god, the tuna. As fresh as it could ever be and just beautifully presented. It was a truly special way for anyone to spend the evening.
However the day wasn’t over, the piece de resistance was yet to come. The Saratoga Blue Jazz Club. With the same stunning views over Palma, every Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday everyone gathers in the club to be entertained by an international group of artists who are at the top of their musical game, including our very own contributor and friend of The Islander Jens Oomes. The atmosphere was electric as everyone lets themselves run away with the music. People are dining, enjoying the specialty cocktails and dancing the night away, in what must be Palma’s best jazz venue.
All of the dining options are open to the public, though reservations are highly recommended. However, if you want to really treat yourselves then a stay in one of the 185 beautiful rooms is a wonderful option. There are different room categories in different styles, some more traditional and some lighter and more contemporary, though all are absolutely gorgeous with many having the same amazing views as the terraces. I can’t think of a better way to wake up after an evening’s dining and dancing. Hotel Saratoga truly deserves her reputation of Queen of Palma!
Paseo Mallorca, 6, 07012 Palma,
0034 971 72 72 40
By Victoria Pearce
Photos by Anouska Foss