Review: Kimpton Aysla Mallorca – wrong hotel, wrong place
Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.
This is our review of IHG’s Kimpton Aysla Mallorca hotel, which opened last year.
Having experienced a few luxury Mallorca hotels in recent years (those we reviewed include St Regis Mardavall Mallorca review by Rhys here, although I’ve also been, and Jumeirah Port Soller reviewed here), I was interested to give this a go.
I should note upfront that Kimpton and I have form.
I was one of the first to review Kimpton De Witt Amsterdam and declared it a shambles (Anika was later invited back and declared it much improved). I was one of the first to review Kimpton St Honore Paris in 2021 and declared it a shambles (I went back last year with my family, on our own money, and it was much improved – in fact, if InterContinental Le Grand ever closed the Kimpton may become my new Paris favourite.)
This hotel is, absolutely, NOT a shambles. The staff are, in general, fantastic despite a couple of service fails. The food is really good. I just don’t see the point of the hotel given its size and location.
I stayed here for two nights. One night was free as compensation for the hotel cancelling a booking I made last year due to its delayed opening. I paid €445 for the second night.
The Kimpton Aysla Mallorca hotel website is here.
Introducing Kimpton Aysla Mallorca
The key thing to know about Kimpton Aysla Mallorca is that it is relatively remote. On a map it is worryingly close to Magalluf although of course that makes no difference in reality. Santa Ponsa seems to be the nearest main point of interest.
It is built on the edge of a golf course in an area which appears to have been developed primarily for wealthy overseas homebuyers. It feels a bit like St George’s Hill or the Wentworth Estate.
There is nothing of note walkable from the hotel. Whilst the hotel will lend you a bike, in reality you need a car unless you intend to remain 24/7 in the hotel. For a weekend break you don’t need a car – simply take a taxi to/from Palma airport and stay on site.
So it’s a remote paradise? Sounds great!
Er, no. This is the problem.
I’ve stayed in remote resorts in Mallorca and elsewhere. The things they have in common are size (you expect lots of open space, multiple tennis courts, outdoor activities, huge pools etc) and good views of the surrounding area. You don’t get that here.
Fact 1 – Kimpton Aysla is weirdly small. You can literally walk from one end of the grounds to the other in a minute. This impacts everything else, such as the small pools.
Fact 2 – the rooms could be bigger. We’re not in London, we’re (theoretically) in a remote part of a Spanish island, so why are the rooms 33 sq m? That’s not tiny, admittedly, but not great for a long stay. Reader comments below suggest that many overlook the car park and mini roundabout outside the hotel but I can’t verify this.
Fact 3 – there is a road running directly behind the hotel and a house overlooking the ‘adults only’ pool. It’s not a remote sanctuary. You never feel you’ve left normal life behind.
The good news is that Kimpton Aysla Mallorca is close to Palma. You don’t need a car if you’re only here for a couple of days and its easy to get to/from the airport.
I took the €5 airport bus into Palma, spent a pleasant couple of hours there and then took a taxi out to the hotel for €27. A direct taxi from the hotel to the airport on my return cost €47.
You could head into Palma via taxi relatively quickly for a day of shopping or sightseeing if you were here for longer than I was. Remember that Mallorca has banned Uber and all other ridesharing apps.
I was pleasantly surprised to see a doorman outside the hotel when I arrived. Check-in was a bit complex because of my ‘one night free, one night paid’ situation but the staff were great.
They forget to mention the ‘social hour’ (the hour of free wine that all Kimpton hotels host each night) – when I called at 5.30pm to ask when it was, I was told it was already happening because it ran 5pm to 6pm.
(Do go, by the way. They serve excellent Mallorcan wines – white, red and rose – which are sat out for self pour, along with some lovely glasses. See below.)
What rooms are available?
Let me explain how the resort works. The rooms are contained in two square modern blocks, four stories high. They are connected by covered pathways to the reception / bar / restaurant / spa building which has a more traditional design, as it dates from an earlier incarnation as a country club.
One snag is that, because the accommodation blocks are square, rooms face in all directions. Some get the sun, some do not. Whilst my room had an outside terrace, it was so dark that I had to put the terrace lights on during the day.
I was given a ‘King With Private Garden’. This is technically a double upgrade, but was a mistake. I was stuck on the ground floor with little light, surrounded by high plants to give me privacy from the nearby pool area.
Had I got a worse upgrade, to ‘King With Double Balcony’, I might have been happier. This would presumably be a high floor corner room.
I’m not sure what a ‘King Premium’ room is – this is pricier than the other categories but sounds worse (12 sqm balcony vs 2 x 39 sqm balconies for a ‘Double Balcony’ room).
My room at Kimpton Aysla Mallorca
Let’s take a look at my room.
The standard of decor here is very high. I have nothing bad to say about the room, and if you got a 33 sq m room like this in London you’d be delighted. It just felt a little cramped given that:
- it is not in a city centre
- people who come here are likely to stick around the resort 24/7 on most days and
- guests here are likely to stay for 5-7 days and have quite a bit of luggage
Here’s the bed, which was pleasantly large. The area under it is open which gives storage for suitcases.
The clock radio by the bed provides a wireless charging station for the person on that side. The person sleeping on the other side only gets a single European plug socket – no USB – which is odd for a hotel which opened in 2022.
Above is some attractive artwork, but nothing compared to the ceramics and sculpture:
…. which separate the bed from the wardrobe and refreshment centre. This was very classy, although it serves to make the room feel smaller.
As well as a well curated minibar, the room came with a Nespresso machine, tea and kettle and hot chocolate. The Nespresso capsules were not original ones and there was no information on what each different colour represented. Half the coffee I drank was probably decaf but I have no idea which half!
On the other side is a sofa / day bed (see the first room photo above), a decent sized table and one (only one) slightly weird chair. Person 2 would need to sit on the end of the sofa.
I was impressed by this in the wardrobe – it’s actually wallpaper, not tiling, but looks great:
Again, it looks good. Only a single sink (and the countertop isn’t real marble) but it is light and bright and you get a bathtub and a very large shower.
Toiletries are by Maison Codage, the brand behind the hotel spa, in pump dispensers.
What is intriguing is that there is a door in the back of the shower which opens out onto your garden terrace. I’m not sure what the point of this is – it would be useful if rooms had private pools and you wanted to head back inside via a shower, but they don’t.
The garden terrace
The main entrance to the terrace is via the bedroom. There were two sun loungers (no mattresses were provided) and two wicker chairs with footrests. There was a back cushion on each of the chairs.
Weirdly there was a path leading from my little garden area to the main footpath so anyone could walk into it – and into my room if the garden door was open.
There was no view – at all – from the garden because high plants had been placed to give privacy from the rest of the hotel.
This was a mistake. I think most people would rather be able to see something from their terrace – and have more light in their room – than have privacy on their terrace, hemmed in by huge plants. You don’t really have privacy anyway as anyone walking into my block would have seen me through the gaps in the planting.
Before I arrived I had a vision of sitting on a balcony all day (working, obviously), looking out to the Mallorcan hills. Instead I saw literally nothing out of my window for two days except huge plants.
If you get a room off the ground floor then you won’t have these issues – and you’ll pay less.
Two more things ….
Talking of privacy, I should add that the corridors are tiled, not carpeted, and echo. My room was the first one you came to on my level so lots of people walked past, generally making a lot of noise in the process.
On my second night, turndown never came. No idea why. I had used up my (meagre) coffee and milk supply in the expectation of replacements which never came, leaving me with nothing for my final day. This was the only staff fail during my two days.
The resort has a very small footprint which means there isn’t a lot of space for leisure facilities. You don’t even get one tennis court, yet alone the 3-4 you might expect.
(Tennis and golf can be arranged off site, if you want it, but not at the hotel itself.)
There is another issue. The hotel faces due north. This has an impact on the sun you get by the pools.
There are three swimming pools. The adults only pool:
…. feels too small, with three rows of sun loungers lined up around the top end. The pool is overlooked by a private house as you can see.
The family pool is the best option:
…. being a good shape with lots of loungers directly around the edge. My photo makes it look a bit smaller than it really is. There is also a small toddler pool attached to this.
The family pool is the only place in the resort where you get any sort of view with mountains visible from certain spots:
There is also an indoor pool. This looks fabulous:
…. but doesn’t quite live up to it. The main indoor pool was chilly and the large ‘hot tub / water jets’ area was only mildly warm. Instead of loungers, there are Fatboy-style bean bag beds around one side and – oddly – nothing down the other side.
There is one smart thing about the indoor pool. Your room key locks and unlocks the lockers in the changing room. Despite being blingingly obvious as a concept I had never seen this done before. The changing rooms are beautifully done.
I should also point out the huge gym which looked very impressive:
Kimpton Mallorca has a high-end spa at high-end prices. It looked smart but not the sort of place I would visit when travelling alone. The typical price tag is €170 per treatment.
There is also a cool sauna and steam room complex, including a salt cave:
Food and drink at Kimpton Aysla Mallorca
There are three F&B options at the resort:
- Saba restaurant, where breakfast and dinner is served
- Saba bar, a half indoor / half outdoor bar with light snacks:
- and Zayt, an outdoor restaurant which sits between the two pools (PR photo below):
I didn’t have a full three course meal during my two days – I wasn’t exactly burning many calories in such a small resort – so I can’t tell you what Saba is like in the evening.
I was, however, impressed by the breakfast spread in Saba:
….. which includes ‘cooked to order’ items (no extra charge):
…. and a quality buffet, including many local specialities. Breakfast is €29 if it is not included in your rate or you do not have Diamond Elite status in IHG One Rewards.
I was also impressed by the lunch and two light evening meals I had in Zayt and the Saba bar.
Whilst not planned, on both nights I ended up going to the ‘Social Hour’, getting a decent helping of the (impressive) Mallorcan wine and then sitting outside at Saba bar with my drink and one of their good quality light meals. Life could have been worse.
I feel obliged to mention a couple of things about checking out.
For the 2nd IHG stay in a row, a charge for breakfast was added to my bill despite my IHG One Rewards Diamond status. Hotel staff really should have adapted to the new benefits structure by now. It wouldn’t be hard to have an override in the system which queried any attempt to add a breakfast charge to a Diamond’s bill.
Secondly, the hotel marked my entire stay as ‘non qualifying’ – meaning that I earned no IHG One Rewards points – even though the first night was paid in cash at the full Best Flexible Rate. I will get this fixed but it will waste my time to do it.
Sometimes, like Andaz Prague (review here), I go on a review trip without any real expectations and get blown away.
Sometimes, like Kimpton Mallorca, I get excited about an idea …. and then it doesn’t deliver. The St Regis Venice had the same effect on me last year.
Fundamentally, the boxes are all ticked at Kimpton Aysla Mallorca. Beautifully designed rooms and public areas, lovely staff, good quality food.
For me …. and this could be a personal thing …. it doesn’t override the fact that the resort is simply too small. Everything needs to be bigger or better – bigger rooms, bigger pools, more leisure facilities – and further away from roads and houses.
It’s the wrong hotel in the wrong place. Put it in central Palma, or even on the coast like The St Regis and walkable to a town, and I’d love it. Keep the location but double (or triple) the footprint of the resort, scaling everything up, and I’d love it.
It can’t get any bigger, however, so we can only hope that people find their way here and love it for what it is. The saving grace is its proximity to Palma which makes it a good option for anyone flying down for the weekend and who doesn’t need much in the way of outdoor resort facilities. For a spa weekend I think it would work well.
Kimpton Aysla Mallorca is not cheap. For late May, you won’t get a room for under €400. In July, you will be paying nearer €600. With Mandarin Oriental opening next year, the pressure in the Mallorca upscale hotel market will only continue to rise.
That said, it is still a good rung below the grand dames of Mallorca and should perhaps be judged in that light. For 19th July as an example, the Kimpton costs €572 vs The St Regis at €1,279 vs Jumeirah at €875. La Residencia, if we move away from the big brands, is €2,800 for a junior suite which seems to be their cheapest option.
The St Regis is a better bet if you want ‘grounds’. Jumeirah is a better bet if you want funky modernism. Both are better bets if you want to be walkable to shops and restaurants and want a sea view, but of course you’re paying a premium for it.
You can find out more about Kimpton Aysla Mallorca, and book (for cash or IHG One Rewards points), on the IHG website here.