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Hoteles Santos & Nixe Palace

A Mediterranean story

Hoteles Santos & Nixe Palace: Lujo Mediterráneo en Cala Major

Some people go for quantity, others for quality. It’s a question of taste, of priorities. If it’s measured by number of establishments, Hoteles Santos is not a large chain, although it has a dozen hotels; but if we’re talking about quality, it’s a different matter. Strategic destinations and characterful buildings combine with superb service to offer a unique experience. Not forgetting that this is a customer centric family business.

The chain has recently refurbished one of its most iconic gems, Hotel Nixe Palacein Cala Major, Palma. The hotel occupies a splendid and impressive building, steeped in history and anecdotes.

Let’s start with the one about the origins of its name. The Nixe was the boat on which Archduke Louis Salvador of Austria crossed the Mediterranean in search of beauty, idyllic scenery and tranquillity. And so he came to Mallorca, where he found paradise was closer than he’d imagined. The Nixe was anchored in the Cala Major Bay for a long time, so its name naturally passed to the most charismatic building on the coast. The figurehead of the Archduke’s boat was a mermaid, thought to bring good luck. And it certainly did.

Restored splendour

So that’s the name; now let’s look at the building. The hotel opened in 1957 and was endorsed by important figures in the city, including the mayor of Palma, Gabriel Alzamora, and the acclaimed architect Francisco Casas. It was one of the first luxury hotels on the island, and was originally run by a French couple, Monsieur and Madame Bensa, who had fought in the French Resistance during the Second World War.
The hotel had more staff than customers, typical of grand establishments at that time.

The rooms were spacious and filled with light, overlooking the Cala Major beach. They were frequented by artists, politicians, prominent businessmen and others wishing to spend a few days relaxing in a welcoming and luxurious hotel. However, the story of the Nixe Palace was not all rose-tinted; there was trouble in the 80s. The economy was declining all over Europe, many hotels were forced to close and the Nixe was no exception, until the workers themselves got organised to prevent the place being ransacked. The years passed, and with the improving economic situation the Nixe caught the eye of a family – the Santos family – who saw in the emblematic hotel on Cala Major an opportunity to salvage one of the treasures of Mallorcan hospitality. José Luis Santos rose to the challenge and, continuing the work started by his father, he bought the building and embarked on its restoration.

The 133 rooms were enlarged and furnished in more modern style, but without losing the hotel’s distinctive identity; automation was introduced to offer customers an extraordinary and unique experience. However, what makes the hotel really special is the quality of service offered by the staff. The five stars that adorn the entrance and membership of the international Preferred Hotels & Resorts group are symbols worn with pride. The refurbishment, led by the chain’s own architects and interior designers, is part of this necessary maintenance, essential to continue the journey of luxury and excellence.

Service worthy of the hotel’s history

One of the outstanding facilities offered to guests and visitors is the Nixe Herbal Spa by Sisley, a beachside haven of peace and wellness where mind and body align in perfect harmony. Thermal water, massages and relaxation make for a magnificent experience.

As for the food and wine, A Popa Sea Club is the hotel’s main restaurant, offering a wide-ranging menu in which Mediterranean cuisine predominates. On summer days, there’s also the Nixe Beach Club, an old-fashioned fish restaurant right on the Cala Major beach, with all the amenities offered by the hotel and a commitment to respect the environment: this is a temporary installation that’s dismantled in low season to allow the strand to recover its natural form. Chill-out music, drinks and cocktails in a carefree and informal atmosphere.

Hotel Nixe is part of a group that contains, among others, the Gran Hotel Miramar in Málaga, Hotel Val de Neu in Baqueira and Hotel Las Arenas in Valencia. All of them are emblematic buildings, packed with history and stories. They are part of the Hoteles Santos family, known by some as blissful hotels!