The Iberostar Grand Portals Nous in Calviá, Mallorca
By Richard Frisbie
If you arrive at this hotel from the wrong direction, as we did, it is not immediately obvious that the Iberostar Grand Portals Nous is right on the beach.
First impressions aside, on the walk from the taxi to the front door a whole beach-front vista opens and a breath-taking view greets you.
An as impressive greeting is the cold towel and glass of cava presented by smiling staff, both of which refreshed this weary traveler. In my experience here and elsewhere, Iberostar really knows how to welcome their guests.
Mallorca is Iberostar’s home turf. The chain began here and has grown into a worldwide network of fine hotels, many 5-stars like this one. During my stays elsewhere within the chain, I found the check-in painless, with hovering staff simply handing me my key and a form for my signature – all low-pressure luxury all the way.
But in Mallorca, each of the hotels I stayed in operates with a different sensibility, even this Iberostar.
After the refreshing greeting, they spoil the mood by handing each guest a hand-held electronic device so they can register themselves.
It may be island-wide, or it may be a new trend among hoteliers, but I don’t like it. Since when did 5-star luxury hotels become self-serve?
While that was off-putting, Iberostar immediately redeemed themselves when my personal butler (yes!) showed me to my room. I assumed some obvious booking error landed me in one of the four penthouse suites. I was overwhelmed by the amenities and appointments.
Only a welcoming note in my name next to a complimentary tray of goodies convinced me — when no amount of pinching could – that this was really my room! It was huge!
Besides all the usuals: wardrobe, desk, small dining area, and sliders to a deck; there was the largest bed I’ve ever seen, a dressing/makeup area, a small room for toilet and bidet, and another room with a shower and round tub.
The living area (including the bed) was divided from the rest by a huge room divider in the shape of a blue eye. I swear if I stared at it long enough the iris opened and closed a little in a most unnerving way.
In today’s world, we know that our every movement is under scrutiny, but I’m hoping this was more of an artistic statement than a camera facing my bed.
The artist, Marcel Wanders, who designed the room, was indeed making a statement with more than this eye. The wall covering itself was a white-on-white series of cutouts appearing to be “pinned” to the wall, much as an image of him was on the cover of the book “Marcel Wanders PINNED UP – 25 Years of Design” on the table in my room.
The whole room, with his “unmistakable patterns, original embossing and bold shapes”, was visually very attractive.
Occulus the Eyeball
Anyway, that eye (I called it occulus) was so attention-stealing that I almost didn’t notice the spiral staircase in the corner of the room. It led up to my rooftop deck with Jacuzzi and views over the city on one side and out over the beach to the Mediterranean on the other – a 360-degree panorama of Mallorca!
My butler, (I’ll never tire of saying that) assured me the Jacuzzi could be filled and ready in 30 minutes. And while all that was sinking in, I looked down to the entrance of the hotel and saw two electric Lexus’ parked in front of their chargers.
The keys to one of them were next to the note (with my name on it remember) telling me I had complete use of it during my stay!
That did it. I’ll endure self-service luxury on this scale any day!
I also found out the hotel offered much more in services than I’d encountered anywhere else. Besides the usual 5-star service and top tier spa amenities, Chef Crespo at the Michelin-level restaurant, Astir, served some delicious and eye-catching dinners.
Dining here is unhurried and relaxing. In the morning, the lavish buffet and menu breakfast which I enjoyed on the outside dining patios that step down to the beach almost kept me from entering the water. But, soon enough I was walking along the edge of the cove on the cliff walk until my meal was sufficiently digested to allow a swim in the azure sea.
Afterwards, I found myself on the pool deck facing a gentle five-story waterfall. The calming sound of falling water coupled with the soothing mist almost kept me on my chaise for the afternoon. Leaving the crowds on the beach, I found the adult-only comfort of the pool area most relaxing.
But the words “adult only” and “coupled” remind me of the most unusual aspect of the services at the Iberostar Grand Portals Nous. The hotel has a series of “themed rooms” which can be booked by their guests.
I’m tempted to leave that as a stand-alone sentence and let your imagination fill in the rest, but the truth is too good to be so limiting.
So, just briefly, I’ll tell you the theme of some of the rooms and you can fantasize from there.
Innocuously referred to as “Grandmother’s Room”, the mildest one might also be the creepiest. It is decorated as everyone’s grandmother’s house, with enough universal old fashioned and overstuffed chintz furniture, with old photos and decorations, as to elicit some memory of your grandmother.
Initially, on my visit, it was comfortingly familiar, but it soon became cloyingly oppressive. Finally, it was just too weird and I had to leave.
The Game Room
Then, speaking of weird, perhaps in a good way for some, there was a “Game Room”, with games and gaming tables that I assume would appeal to the grown-up adolescent, ball-oriented, male bonding crowd; an “Adult” room with toys (aka 50 shades of gray) and an intricate lighting and sound system for pre- and/or post-coital pole dancing; and – well – it is time for your imagination to kick in about the rest.
Suffice it to say, there is a good reason the stylish bar – Selini– in the lobby was packed each evening with hungry-eyed couples and a smoldering sexual tension. Over the course of my stay, I found the drinks tasty as well.
Elite and At Home
The Iberostar Grand Portals Nous was a completely different Iberostar experience for me, and very different from the other hotels I visited during my island sojourn.
With its elite service, situated right on a beach caressed by gently lapping waves, with 360 degree sunny daytime and romantic evening moonlight views, I felt very much at home in Iberostar’s home, Mallorca
Iberostar Grand Portals Nous in Calviá, Mallorca
The Iberostar sponsored this trip, but the opinions are the author’s own.