GREETED by the sight of palm trees outside Palma de Majorca Airport, on a balmy August night, we smiled at each other and relaxed. A holiday. Finally! Our first foreign jaunt since before the pandemic.
We were off to the Iberostar Cala Domingos Hotel on the island’s south-east coast, about an hour from the airport and enjoyed the sights and sounds on our journey.
Arriving at the huge resort, we were directed to our air-conditioned room in a chalet next door to the hotel’s main pool and, because we were too late for dinner, staff had left an incredible spread of bread, cheese, meat, fruit, and even a bottle of delicious Majorcan red.
And there was a bonus — a lovely little porch to enjoy it all on, with a view of the sea.
We were up on the first morning of a four-night stay as early as the previous night’s wine would allow.
First to breakfast and while I’ve endured plenty of holiday buffets this was like nothing I’d ever seen.
The variety of food and drink on offer at the Iberostar Cala Domingos’ is something else.
It seemed like they had every cereal under the sun, as well as so many kinds of fresh pastries, bread, sweets, yoghurt, hot porridge, fresh pancakes, even churros.
They also have a chef on hand to make you a bespoke omelette.
Suitably fed and watered, it was time to explore this hotel. Truth be told, the word ‘hotel’ doesn’t really do the place justice.
Iberostar Cala Domingos is a sprawling, Caribbean-style resort, built into the hilly scrubland and somewhat remote, like living in a small, very sunny town.
The sleek hotel reception, main restaurant Sa Mola, and pool — plus tennis courts and a bar — are at the top end of the resort.
But if you head out on to the quiet road, a lovely stroll takes you down to a second pool and snack bar, followed by a shop, then another big restaurant, Es Turó, which is only open for dinner and must be booked.
Sitting right next door is the resort’s big entertainment venue and bar, and the Star Camp kids’ activity area.
Around the corner, there’s a beautiful and popular public beach sandwiched in a crag in the coastline.
Off to the left there are coves which snorkellers can explore, although we were more interested in the beach hut serving beer, burgers and hot dogs.
The turquoise sea was glorious to swim in, lovely and calm, and the well-kept beach made it easy to get in and out of the water.
We meandered through the village of bungalow-like chalets that make up the bulk of the resort where, helpfully, we were able to fill up our water bottles at free taps dotted all around Cala Domingos.
It’s an innovation that’s part of Iberostar’s green initiative, with single-use plastics eliminated from all their hotels.
We made it back up to Sa Mola just before 2pm for a lunch buffet just as extraordinary as the morning’s. Pasta, pizzas, burgers, baked potatoes and a hugely varied salad bar awaited us.
And chef specialities, too — fillets of fish sliced whole from the bone, cuts of lamb from a spinning rotisserie. I plumped for salmon myself, in a delicious creamy sauce.
The booze also came out for lunch — lager and wine quite literally on tap. Although if you fancied a bottle of wine instead of dispensing it yourself, staff would grab you one.
We headed up to the pool at the top of the hotel for the afternoon, where we watched the ever-keen staff members lead a water aerobics class, and then referee a game of water polo.
The hotel is big into health and wellbeing, with their wide range of activities intended to attract active couples and families.
That wasn’t quite what we were after but, right after the water polo was done, mojito lessons began, with an enthusiastic barman helping us put together our refreshing beverages. Now that’s our kind of activity.
It’s a place that gets the balance right for those who want to be active, and those who want to relax. And boy, does this hotel get you into the spirit.
Fast forward to day two — eating breakfast in Sa Mola, a waitress came around offering champagne glasses containing something pink and fizzy. At 9.30am! I turned her down then regretted it all day.
GETTING THERE: Jet2 flies from both Glasgow and Edinburgh to Majorca with fares from £49pp one way including taxes. See jet2.com or call 0800 408 5599.
STAYING THERE: Rooms at the 4* Iberostar Cala Domingos start from £175 a night, all inclusive or £155 half board. See iberostar.com
MORE INFO: The hotel has two swimming pools for adults and two for children. Star Camp with a wide variety of activities for kids and teenagers, Monkey and Dolphin Clubs for children aged 4-12 and the Eagle Club for older chidlren up to 17.
After another day of beach, pool and relaxation, we booked ourselves into their Es Turó restaurant.
The dinner spread on day one at Sa Mola had been excellent, but Es Turó’s was out of this world. I had never before seen lobster available on a help-yourself basis. I certainly helped myself to this stack of delicious red crustaceans.
A chef manned a barbecue grill, ready to cook pretty much any of the enormous range of meat, fish and veg on offer — as burgers, onto skewers or any other way you liked.
After that, we hopped over to the adjacent Show Bar, trying nearly every cocktail on the menu — all mixed with a smile by staff — and took in the stunning views of Cala Domingos’ coastline while enjoying a top-notch Abba tribute band.
When the official entertainment was over, we were taken to something of an afterparty — a Silent Disco on the beach, illuminated with cool blue lights and with a bowl of punch to keep us all lubricated.
On our final day, one of the hotel’s managers, Tomeu, told me more about the company’s environmental plans.
Transport around the resort is by electric cars and buggies — the latter an incredibly fun and quick way to whip from A to B.
And Tomeu revealed the hotel’s aim is to be zero-waste by 2025 with on-site staff dedicated to sorting the recycling bins.
Under their Winds of Change strategy, the Iberostar group is committed to becoming carbon-neutral by 2030.
The talk of sustainability was a thoughtful note to end a trip that had been all about fun and relaxation. Which just shows you there’s no reason you can’t have both.
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