The narrow cobbled streets of Palma's old quarter are a mystery with their high stone walls and gated courtyards. Tucked away in Calle Almudaina is our favourite city-centre hotel, the Dalt Murada.
The Dalt Murada is hidden behind an iron door, where pressing a buzzer gives you entry to a secret magical world. This former 16th-century manor house has been lovingly restored by the Sancho Moragues family, whose ancestors came to Mallorca in 1230. Stepping inside is like stepping back in time.
Original features such as the wood-beamed ceilings and beautifully tiled floors highlight the traditional structure of the building. Every corner of this historic Palma hotel, from the corridors and public areas to the guest rooms, is decorated with antique Mallorquin furniture, period landscape and portraits paintings, oriental rugs and family heirlooms. Ornate glass chandeliers and lamps – made on the island – lend a touch of elegance.
Guest Rooms with Rustic Grandeur
Each of the guest rooms is named after a Mallorcan painter or another feature of the island. We stayed in the Gabriel Femenia room (left), one of the hotel's two suites. The door was open, and as we approached along the corridor, Mike thought we were heading into a guest lounge or library. But to our delight, this spacious sitting room was all ours for the next two nights.
The huge room with its crisp white walls showed off the ancient wooden beams on the ceiling. Traditional glass chandeliers dangled high above two comfy modern sofas. One entire wall was covered with lovely sliding doors of panelled wood which opened to reveal a large closet with a safe and mini-bar. Another wall was adorned with a huge and beautiful tapestry, which stretched above a marble hearth and antique writing desk.
A handsome wooden bed, big enough for three kings let alone one, filled most of the sunny bedroom. Through a shuttered door was an ample tiled bathroom with a bathtub and shower. I loved waking up peacefully here to the soft light through the curtain. Lying in bed, musing on the rustic timbers and chandelier above, the rich tapestry through the doorway, I felt like a Spanish grandee.
Each of the 23 guest rooms has its own character. While this wonderful, traditional atmosphere is what makes the Dalt Murada so special, all the modern comforts of a four-star hotel are there in the background too. All the rooms have air-conditioning, satellite TV and a complimentary wifi connection. Bathrooms are spacious, and some also have hydromassage baths.
Courtyard Garden and Rooftop Terrace
Like most rooms, ours overlooked the quiet inner courtyard (right). From our little balcony we looked down over lush greenery and fragrant orange and lemon trees. A flowering hibiscus climbed all the way to our second-floor window. Dappled sunlight bathed the courtyard tables, where you can relax over a coffee or cool drink.
In summer, guests can take breakfast in the courtyard. It's a leisurely affair, with a simple buffet of croissants, bread, jams, cheese, cold meats, boiled eggs, fruit, yoghurt, orange juice and strong coffee made to order.
In the evening, we thoroughly enjoyed the small rooftop terrace and bar (top). It has one of the best views in the city of Palma's stunning cathedral, whose massive towers and buttresses loom large above the skyline.
In the Heart of Palma
Another thing we love about the Dalt Murada is its location. It's a three-minute walk to the cathedral, the Almudaina Palace and Palau March. Yet with its thick walls and quiet side street address, the hotel is insulated from the noise of the tourist throngs.
A five-minute walk in another direction will bring you to the leafy Plaça Santa Eulalia, the Lonja neighbourhood with its many restaurants and bars, or the start of Palma's excellent shopping streets.
From the comfort of the Dalt Murada, we made the most of Palma's traditional and modern highlights, and enjoyed a glimpse of Mallorcan life behind those imposing walls.
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