On Saturday the fleet came in to the Port of Soller and we were there to see them. We stood on the mountain, below the lighthouse and watched as two grey minesweepers arrived in our town with the insignia of the British Navy flying softly in the breeze. They made a noise as they arrived with the tannoyed instructions about parking – left hand down a bit that sort of thing! They slid into dock, parked side by side and the arrival was complete. They joined the boats in the bay with all the stories they contain to add a slightly different dimension. The summer visitors that view the town from their unique spot in the water of our bay enjoy the anonymity of their floating hotels. The huge yachts that pop in for provisions and sightseeing bring in the rich and sometimes famous for the day. What do they see when they arrive has been my question of the week. Sometimes Soller represents the ‘Emperors New Clothes’ and everything is an illusion.
We sat in the bar above the Citric Hotel in the Port watching the fleet and enjoyed the best view of the Port. Breakfast was our reward for getting up early to support the Navy. The view of the mountains and the perfect horse shoe bay is stunning from here and the hotel that sells itself as the cheapest hotel in Majorca has this view all to itself. Breakfast for them is taken from a terrace on the waters edge and is one of the finest views our resort offers. Immediately opposite, across the bay is another hotel on the cliff edge which I believe is the most expensive hotel in Majorca. They have a 360 degree panoramic view of the mountains and sea from their exclusively designed, award winning location. The Jumeriah Hotel is our new arrival this year and one of the reasons that the bay is full of super yachts. The hotel is stunning and the guests expect the best that money can buy.
What kind of illusion is it that the cheapest and the most expensive co exist in the Port of Soller?
It is great that all holiday makers, whatever they chose to spend on their accommodation,can find it here. For a resort to succeed in these ‘interesting’ times it has to have all round appeal and this is a step in the right direction. The Port of Soller has had a facelift, a new promenade, a new beach, new lighting and it has a self satisfied feel about it. Many years and many Euros have been spent making it ‘fit for purpose’ as the jargon goes. I subscribe to this view and was very proud of all the town’s achievements until I had one of those conversations that bring you down to earth with a bump.
I had a date with a client who had never been to Soller before and my job was to walk and talk the streets of town and port and generally familiarise him with the area. We started on the Repic beach and walked past the dereliction of the Singular Hotel. This crumblng wreck, right on the edge of the water is where many have tried and all have failed to do anything with this eyesore. Moving swiftly on we came to the part of the Repic beach which houses an antique water park. A run down site with the steel frames of the water slides overgrown with ivy and moss. This park was opened and closed in one season 30 years ago and has remained ever since. We turned off the beach and walked back to town alongside the mountain and straight into the Rocomar Hotel. This has become the site used in filming the ‘Inbetweeners’ as it is an awful wreck of a hotel that was due for demolition ten years ago. This site is particularly ugly and it’s the first thing you see from the slip road to the Repic beach.
My client looked at me sadly and asked what was wrong with our town. Why does it allow these blots on the landscape of paradise and why have the people allowed this state of affairs to continue?
I explained that all these locations have been screamed about for years and that the local authority has taken action against them all. No one is complacent and they want to get rid of them all. But the fact remains that in August 2012 they are all still here. For this eminent business man this was a deal breaker – he could have no confidence that the issues would be resolved. Sometimes a fresh pair of eyes helps you to see what is blindingly obvious – it is not an illusion – we are just not there yet.