Review: Iberostar Son Antem

We traveled to Majorca to see what the famous Spanish island had to offer

Charlie Lemay's picture
Fri, 3 Oct 2014

Be honest with me, when I mention Majorca what comes to mind? If your answer is Magaluf and the hoards of British school-leavers sporting garish sunglasses and awful tribal tattoos, and inevitable swaying due to their inability to drink, then I agree.

I must admit, the plane journey did little to stop my prejudice – ‘we were all that age one’, I thought. The good news is the flight from Gatwick to Palma is pain-free and fast (apart from the EasyJet check-ion of course) and once the ravers stagger off to make gun salutes and chant ‘oi oi’, you are left in a serene countryside setting that is quintessentially Spanish.

Our transfer to Llucmajor, Southern Majorca, in a Porsche (I don’t think any golf journalist has ever owned a Porsche – most struggle to afford a car) was just 10 minutes and we arrived at the large, attractive Iberostar Son Antem Hotel.

Boasting two 18-hole golf courses, 143 rooms , two restaurants, swimming pool, spa, gym and hair salon, the hotel is a large, 5-star resort catering to travellers who want to be pampered. The resort is ideal for families as it is a secluded setting which ensures you can snooze by the pool as the little ones play.

My room was large, clean and boasted a beautiful patio close to the restaurant and hotel. A large bathroom is on offer, with both a shower and bath, and the television even shows BBC One – remember the time difference if you’re trying to catch Match of the Day!

Golf

The East course is the easier track and offers wide fairways, flat fairways and greens and shallow bunkers. It is suited to high handicap players or those who want to go out and score well, but is still a fun 18.

The West course has some stunning views and the back nine has heaps of character. It is tougher than the East course, with smaller landing areas and undulating greens and you will have to play well to score.

The island has been struggling with a drought and the course was not in the best of conditions when we played it. There is a lot of work being done to sort out the greens fairways, so I’d say this is one to watch. If the quality of the course can be raised to match the hotel, then this is a superb place to visit for resort golf.

Food

The hotel provides a buffet for all meals, at least it did when we were there, and there is a selection of Spanish food as well as home comforts. Chefs are on hand to whip up essentials such as scrambled egg but on the whole it’s help yourself. The food was good and the wine is brilliant with a number of Majorcan wines available.

When in Palma, it would be criminal not to visit ???? restaurant. This charismatic restaurant is where the fisherman used to eat and it has maintained much of its original charm. With fish nets for lamp shades and old doors for tables, it served some of the most delicious, fresh food I have ever eaten, and I’ve done my fair share of sampling. Go for seafood and the Cardinal desert, which can only be found in Majorca. The staff are friendly and welcoming -  you’ll definitely spend longer than intended.

Palma

This beautiful city is the capital of the Balearic Islands and is situated just 15 minutes drive from the hotel, on the South coast of Majorca. Boasting a beautiful, large cathedral and quirky narrow streets, the architecture and history of Palma is breath-taking. The large port allows you to sit and enjoy a cerveza while watching the other-half in their gargantuan vessels.   

BE honest with me, when I mention Majorca what comes to mind? If your answer is Magaluf and the hoards of British youngsters who flock to the island for sun, sea and shameless antics, then that makes two of us. 

The plane journey did little to stop my prejudice. The good news is the flight from Gatwick to Palma is pain-free and fast (apart from the EasyJet check-in of course) and once the ravers stagger off to neck WKDs and Apple Sourz, you are left in a serene countryside setting that is quintessentially Spanish.

Our transfer to Llucmajor, Southern Majorca, in a Porsche (I assume all hotel guests are afforded this luxury...) was just 10 minutes and we arrived at the large, attractive Iberostar Son Antem Hotel. You couldn't feel further away from the Magaluf partygoers. 

With two 18-hole golf courses, 143 rooms, two restaurants, a swimming pool, spa, gym and hair salon, the large 5-star hotel is catering to travelers who want to be pampered.

The resort is ideal for families as the setting is secluded which allows parents to snooze by the pool as their children play in the quiet surroundings in relative safety. Due to this, the hotel is largely populated by older couples and families which provides a relaxing atmosphere.

My room was large, clean and boasted a beautiful patio close to the restaurant and hotel. A decent bathroom is on offer, with both a shower and bath, and the television even shows BBC One – (remember the time difference if you’re trying to catch Match of the Day!)

The hotel's close proximity to the airport is a unique selling point as no one wants to spend hours on a sweaty transfer along winding roads as soon as they get off a plane, even if you are only in the air for two hours.

Just a short flight from London and you have the warm climate, stunning beaches and Spanish culture to enjoy. 

GOLF

The East course is the easier track and offers wide, flat fairways, slow greens and shallow bunkers. It is suited to high handicap players or those who want to go out and score well and may be slightly elementary for the better player. Nonetheless, all levels of golfer will enjoy the round and those of us from Old Blighty will definitely enjoy playing in shorts!

The West course has some stunning views and the back nine has heaps of character. It is tougher than the East course, with smaller landing areas and undulating greens, and you will have to play well to score. Both courses contain lots of water but if you stay in the fairways, players will be signing some low rounds.

Ideally play both the courses but I would tackle the West course if you only have time to play one as it has more to it and will sort the best from the rest. 

Before you head out to play, male time to visit the large driving range, which allows players to hit from grass or astro turf, or fine-tune your game with one of the pros at the academy.

There is a lot of work being done to the course in order to raise the quality, so I’d say this is one to watch. Unfortunately, the island's water resources are limited which is an obvious problem for golf clubs. If the quality of the course can be raised to match the hotel, then this is a superb place to visit for resort golf.

“We are going to do an over seeding with Ryegrass turf plus an aggressive topdressing at the end of October," said course manager Yago Gonzalez.

"For the excess of water we are doing new drainages in the fairways. This work will continue during the winter time.

"As soon as the temperatures go down we will reduce the mowing height to increase speed on (the) greens.

"During the winter time we will move certain sprinklers to optimize the irrigation.”

West: Par 72, 6,293 yards - €99 (peak season)
East: Par 72, 6,297 yards - €91 (peak season)

PALMA

This beautiful city is the capital of the Balearic Islands and is situated just 15 minutes drive from the hotel on the South coast of Majorca.

Boasting a beautiful, large cathedral and quirky narrow streets, the architecture and history of Palma is breath-taking. The large port allows you to sit and enjoy a cerveza while watching the other-half trundle past in their floating mansions, and the close proximity to the water means the seafood is off the scale.

An underated European city that holds its own when compared to its more celebrated neighbours. 

FOOD

The hotel provides a buffet for all meals (at least it did when we were there) and there is a selection of Spanish food, and some home comforts on offer too.

Chefs are on hand to whip up essentials, such as scrambled egg, but on the whole it’s help yourself. The food was good and the wine is brilliant with a number of Majorcan reds and whites available.

When in Palma, it would be criminal not to visit Patron Lunares, Santa Catalina. This charismatic restaurant was the favoured eatery of local fisherman and it has maintained much of its original charm.

With fish nets for lampshades and old doors for tables, it served some of the most delicious, rustic food I have ever eaten - and I’ve done my fair share of sampling. Go for seafood and the cardinal desert, which is a dish born in Majorca. The staff are friendly and welcoming -  you’ll definitely spend longer than intended.

Head to the Hotel Iberostar Son Antem website for more information. 

 

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