Day 1. Palma and our hotel in Costa de la Calma

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Placa Mayor, Palma
We had booked an 8.00 am flight to Palma, Mallorcca with Monarch Airlines, so we were up very early this morning to arrive at the airport in good time.  We slept for most of the two and a half hour flight and soon found ourselves in Palma airport.   We  located the bus stop for Palma, Bus No.1, the fare was €3 each and the journey only took 15 minutes.  We got off the bus close to the cathedral and waterfront.  It was a cloudy morning but pleasantly warm enough for summer dresses and shorts.  I was interested to see how Mallorca had changed, having visited once before,  many years ago, with school friends after completing A Levels.  I didn’t like it much then,  but having heard many favourable comments about the island recently,  I was keen to see for myself how it had changed.

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Palma harbour
The narrow lanes of the old town were crowded with tourists, we noticed several cruise ships in the harbour and these would add many day visitors to the city centre and, of course, boost the local economy.   Starting our day so early, we were soon ready for  lunch, so we headed for the main square  (Plaza Mayor) and settled on Spanish style eggs with Serrano ham and potatoes, accompanied by a glass of San Miguel lager.

We located the bus station and caught Bus 104 to Santa Ponca, the nearest town to our hotel.  The fare was €3.5 each and the journey took approximately one hour.  There is a faster, more direct service,  Bus 102, but the slower bus takes the coastal, scenic route and we weren’t in any hurry so it was pleasant to enjoy the sea views.   It was then a 15 minute uphill walk to our hotel for the next three nights,  the 4 Star Iberostar Santa Ponca at Costa de la Calma.  The hotel is built into a cliff overlooking Santa Ponca bay, the reception is on the top (8th) floor and rooms, restaurants and bars are below.  The hotel is an adult only, suite hotel and our suite on the 7th floor was spacious and comprised bedroom, lounge, bathroom and a huge jacuzzi.  All the rooms have balconies with panoramic views overlooking the bay.

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Seafood starter
We arrived at the hotel at 5.30 pm allowing plenty of time to freshen up before eating.  Dinner was served buffet style in the Bellevue Restaurant on the 4th floor.  As it was early in the holiday season the hotel wasn’t busy and this meant that we had no problem getting a table out on the terrace.  Food was good with a large selection to choose from and main dishes were prepared to order.  We returned to our room and after coffee on our balcony, tiredness overcame us as we had been up since 4.30 am this morning.

Day 2. Exploring Santa Ponca and relaxing around the pool

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Our hotel built into the cliff (second from left)

After a good night’s sleep we enjoyed breakfast on the restaurant terrace overlooking the pool and Santa Ponca bay.  We decided to stay local today and explore on foot.  We found a coastal path that led us onto the main beach and round the bay to opposite where we were staying.  The path then came to an abrupt end so we retraced our steps and wandered round the small town.

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Santa Ponca beach

There wasn’t so much to see, streets lined with a collection of uninviting English and Irish themed pubs, some shabby looking cafes and shops selling the usual tourist tat.  It certainly lacked the sophistication of Palma.  Still, it was early season and many of the bars were yet to open,  so although uninspiring, it was quiet and not a problem to us. As we hadn’t found a bar to our liking, we called in a supermarket and bought wine, beer and crisps and returned to our room to enjoy these on our balcony.

During the afternoon we went down to the pool as the temperature had risen to 24 degrees.  There were plenty of comfortable sun loungers and swim up beds available to relax on.  The pool though was freezing so we didn’t linger in there very long.  On returning to our room we decided to try out the large jacuzzi.  This was good but took simply ages to fill.

Dinner was again delicious.  This evening we had steaks cooked to perfection and couldn’t resist sampling several of the desserts.  To make up for this overeating we walked along the coastal path enjoying watching the sun set.

Day 3. A visit to Port d’Andratx

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Santa Ponca bay

It was too windy to eat out on the terrace this morning so instead we sat by the window so we could still enjoy the view.   Afterwards, we walked down the hill into Santa Ponca and caught a bus along the coast to Port D’Andratx.  The journey took 40 minutes passing through the resorts of Pegeura and Camp de Mar along the way.

Port d’Andratx is a delightful fishing village and also one of the island’s upmarket resorts being popular with sailing enthusiasts along Mallorca’s south west coast.  Luxurious villas are dotted around the hillsides and the waterfront is lined with smart bars and restaurants, many serving the locally caught fresh fish.  Steep, narrow cobbled streets rise from the seafront with an assortment of cafes and shops.

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Streets above the harbour in Port d’Andratx

The village is full of character with attractive Spanish architecture.   It was lovely to linger at one of the promenade bars.   Mass tourism seems to have avoided Port d’Andratx as it retains its traditional charm and it’s definitely worth a visit.

On our return to the hotel we went down to the pool but it was still too windy to sunbathe so we sat in the beachside bar which sheltered us from the wind.

The wind had finally dropped when we had dinner so we were able to enjoy our final dinner in the Bellevue Restaurant out of doors.

Day 4. A Final Day in Palma, Mallorca

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Coastal path from hotel to Santa Ponca

We woke to clear blue skies and warm sunshine so we were able to linger over our breakfast on the hotel’s restaurant terrace.  Afterwards, we spent a leisurely couple of hours relaxing on our balcony enjoying the views of Santa Ponca bay for one last time.

We checked out of our hotel at noon and caught a bus into Palma, getting off on the seafront near the impressive sandstone cathedral.  It had been our plan to walk around the harbour but part of the pathway had been cordoned off.

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Palma Cathedral
This was in preparation for the Palma Boat Show due to take place in a few days time.  We were still able to admire the yachts from a slightly further distance so it wasn’t a real problem.  Our route took us inland to the gracious Passeig del Born, home to Palma’s designer shops which included Louis Vuitton and Mulberry.

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Playa Mayor

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Palma
We then explored the narrow lanes of the old town lined with an assortment of shops, bars and cafes.  It was then up the hill to the Castell de Belver which is a sandstone edifice adjacent to the cathedral.  It affords superb views of Palma Bay below.

For lunch we headed to the main square,  and sat out on one of the restaurant’s terraces overlooking the craft market and local artists exhibition.  The weather today was the best of the weekend, so we soaked up the sunshine whilst enjoying a leisurely lunch.  Then it was time to return to Palma Airport for our flight back to the UK.

In my post  from Day 1,  I questioned whether I would enjoy my weekend in Mallorca after a gap of so many years, and still harbouring negative views from that holiday.    Well, I did enjoy my visit,  of the places we had an opportunity to visit, Palma is a sophisticated town with a lovely harbour,  picture perfect cathedral and castle, smart shops and restaurants set in traditional squares.  Port dAndratx was also a smart resort popular with the yachting fraternity with inviting cafes and bars.   However,  Santa Ponca, the nearest resort to our hotel was just as I had remembered Mallorca., parades of cheaply built bars, shops and cafes, English named pubs, food menus in Englush serving the likes of fish and chips and full English cooked breakfast.  To summarise, there was nothing Spanish about the resort at all,  the bar and shop owners all seemed to be English or Irish.  I realise that this appeals to many tourists but not me, I,  like most of my readers, travel to sample local cuisine, meet local people and explore traditional towns and villages.

Finising on a positive note, our hotel,  the 4 star, Iberostar adult only suite hotel in Costa de la Calme, met with my approval and I would certainly have no hesitation about returning in the future as it is far enough away from Santa Ponca to have no effect on its quiet , stylish ambience.