More and better. Mallorca is rapidly changing its 70’s label of mass tourism model. The island is working on a complete renovation: its mature vacation areas, like the spa hotels in Playa de Palma and the beach resorts in Magaluf are being fully renewed, promoted mostly by the island major hotel chains, which emerged and grew during the 60’s and 70’s touristic boom until becoming large multinationals.
In addition to this complete makeover oriented towards the most exclusive and luxurious accommodations, and a strong commitment to themed hotels of wellness, golf, leisure and families, Mallorca is changing its cultural offer, style and soul as a holiday destination. Over the years has maintained its reputation as one of the planet’s most coveted island, and now is trying to recover the values that have made Mallorca what it is today. Authenticity, nature, outdoor sports, quality services, folklore and tradition on the Mediterranean shore.
Gastronomy is also suffering a great conversion, changing from the typical combined dish and fast food for foreigners to gourmet dishes in which local products play the most important role. In fact, some hotel chains as Garden Hotels established agreements with breeders from the island in order to offer meat from locally raised cattle in all their hotels with restaurant in Mallorca. The same applies to the agricultural food, especially the ecological one, with great potential in Mallorca. A growing number of accommodations are offering healthy and high quality gastronomic service. Luxury hotels are at the Forefront in this sense -as this food remains very expensive- and make special related offers. Some of them like the new Iberostar hotel in Portals Nous, have focused on that, requiring restaurants which comprise the island complementary offer to catch up with the circumstances.
In Palma, the capital, is where we can better see this change, because tradition and native culture prevails more on its inland villages and in Sierra de Tramuntana. The city is recovering its origins, its old city town, where many boutique hotels and extremely luxury hotels have emerged maintaining the charm of this Mediterranean city. We can find several shops, small inns, terraces and restaurants on its surroundings with a varied gastronomy offer, prevailing tradition and high quality products. This allows to increase prices and initiate a change -there is still much to do- from economy of scale to exclusive economy.
Other areas like the one from Playa de Muro and Alcudia hotels are still deeply attached to a more quality mass tourism. Therefore, in the north coast of Mallorca we can find a jumble of accommodations: “All inclusive” hotels surrounded by shopping boulevards and restaurants addressed to foreigners. Nevertheless, there are an increasing number of proposals considering this new Mallorca and trying to give visitors an added value, stylish ambience and sophistication lost over the years. Elegant beach clubs with luxury gastronomy and cocktails, more high category hotels, accommodations settled on old palaces and traditional beach houses, charming restaurants with Michelin star, spa hotels or special services for athletes, theme resorts, 5-star apartment complexes…The change has started but it may not be as fast as we want.
Natural: it is difficult to give up on winning effortlessly. The new Mallorca requires significant investments that not everyone in the tourism industry can afford -especially after this recent crisis years-. However, the threat of other Mediterranean destinations growth has had a profound effect and the actions taken by those who can afford them easily, have ended up engulfing many others. The reinvestment of profits in improvements -although modest- is increasingly seen at hotels even from small chains. Foreign capital contributions are becoming important: most of those new boutique hotels in the centre of Palma are the result of foreign investment groups (Nordic, Russian and Germans), which buy fincas and restore them with luxury designs and materials, and then sell them to upper-class groups living now with the middle-class tourist on the streets and beaches of the island, overbooking its hotels.
But let us not delude ourselves. Everyone should be welcome in Mallorca and the goal should not be to transform the island in a place reserved for high class people, but to become a role model of mature destination that grows, progresses and keeps an optimal quality standard in both luxury and cheaper segments, since a peaceful coexistence is essential and enriching in both directions.