A stay at the Petit Hotel Hostatgeria La Victoria could be delightful or it could be rather a disappointment. It depends which room you get.
La Victoria is a small chapel up in the hills on the promontory six km east of Alcudia. The hotel, which has 12 rooms, is on two floors above the chapel. The view from the top floor facing west over the bay to Puerto Pollensa is spectacular. Unfortunately, only two of the rooms have this view.
A narrow winding road with a steep drop down to the sea takes you up to the hotel. Nervous drivers might not be comfortable with the route as you sometimes have to stop to edge past cars coming the other way and on two hairpin bends you have to change down to first gear because it’s so steep.
There are no staff at the hotel after 6pm so if you arrive after that time, as we did, the hotel’s door key and your room key are under the plant pot.
The chapel’s main west door opens on to a square, dotted with trees and bounded by a low wall, beyond which is a marvellous view through the pine trees over the bay. High above the door is carved the date 1694. Being set on a hill, wide steps take you up by the side of the chapel to the back of the building. At this point you are about 30 feet (10m) above the ground level down at the front. More steps then take you up to the entrance to the hotel, where a small terrace has four tables that are used for breakfast. At this point you are about 50 feet (16m) above the front ground level.
Large wooden double doors open onto an elegant hall, which runs the full length of the building and has a large window at the far end overlooking the view, with two stylish chairs either side of the window. (A picture on the hotel website shows this.) The upper floor also has a wide hallway running the full length of the building, this time with a smaller window at the end but with a better view because it looks out above the trees rather than through them. There are three rooms on either side of each hallway, making six on each floor. The two next to the end window on the upper floor are the only ones with a view looking out over the sea.
Some rooms have tiny windows
The rooms are quite austere – no air conditioning, television, telephone, bath or wardrobe – but our bed was comfortable and the shower was fine. Our room also had only one small chest with four drawers each about 1ft wide x 3 ins deep (30x8cm) – not enough for two people’s clothes. It was only at the end of the stay, checking for lost items under the bed, that I found a storage box on wheels under the bed. The rooms are quite small, too; barely room to open suitcases on the floor if you haven’t found the box under the bed to store your clothes. Our room did have bedside tables, though our daughter’s single room didn’t. And we had one wooden upright chair.
None of this austerity would matter, you would think, when you have such a spectacular outlook. However, the key problem with the hotel is that while the rooms on the upper floor have medium sized windows, letting in plenty of light, the rooms on the lower floor have just one tiny window measuring about 10ins x 18ins (25x45cm) and none of these look out towards the sea. (See picture with three of these windows a third of the way down the building.) These are evidently former monks’ cells and they look like it.
On the north side of the building, where we had a room, so little light comes through the window that it’s scarcely possible to read without electric light even in the middle of the day. The hotel’s website doesn’t mention or show the tiny windows on the lower floor. The only rooms shown are the ones with normal sized windows on the upper floor.
The size of the window also means there’s little ventilation. Our room was around 27C all the time during the July week we spent there. The two-foot (60cm) thick walls mean that the temperature in the building changes slowly. Whether it was 18C at night or 35C during the day, our room stayed at 27C. The electric fan made little difference to the temperature. The thick walls also make it almost impossible to reach the window to lean out and get a view of anything outside.
If you’re a recently released prisoner suffering from agoraphobia you might like these rooms. Or perhaps you might like it if you’re seeking ecclesiastical surroundings for a few days of quiet contemplation. But even in the latter case, the hotel might not suit you. The lady who makes the breakfast, and later cleans the rooms, turns on a loud poor quality portable radio playing strident Spanish pop music when she arrives at 0800 and later switches on the television for the afternoon. Religious devotions might be a little difficult with such a background.
You can’t book a specific room
You may say that the answer to getting a nice room is to request one in advance. We thought this, too. We requested a view in writing on our internet booking and we subsequently phoned up to confirm whether it would be possible to have a room with a good view. We were told this would be fine and were told the names of the rooms – Mata and Romani. Each room has a name rather than a number. I’ll list them later with their locations within the hotel.
However, when we arrived, instead of the two rooms on the upper floor with normal sized windows, overlooking the hills (not the sea, admittedly) which we had been told we would have, we had two rooms on the lower floor where all the rooms have tiny windows and none look out towards the sea. We asked to change to the ones we had been originally allocated but were told this was not possible.
It’s not clear why it was not possible to change, as people vacated the rooms we should have had while we were there and we could have moved rooms then. However, the breakfast/cleaning lady told us that it was not possible to reserve specific rooms. (There are no other staff – we spoke to the management by phone and they also said we couldn’t change rooms.) All a bit confusing since we had been told the names of our rooms over the phone previously. Our guess is that the two best rooms are block booked by a travel agent and that if you book on the internet you will automatically be given one of the remaining rooms on the lower floor that the agent doesn’t want to use. If this isn’t the reason it’s hard to think of another plausible explanation. In the absence of any other explanation, it’s probably best to avoid internet booking and phone directly – they speak good English.
On balance, if you can get one of the two rooms with the view, it will be delightful. Probably any of the rooms on the upper floor will be acceptable. But the six rooms on the lower floor, particularly on the north side are best avoided. Since it seems they don’t let you reserve specific rooms in advance, you could consider a one or two-night booking to see what you get and perhaps stay longer if you get a good room.
The room names are as follows.
Upper floor, south – Alzina (view over sea), Romani (view over hills), Mata (view over hills).
Upper floor, north – Murta (view over sea), Morera, Pi.
Lower floor, (all tiny windows) south – Aritja, Lledoner, Ruda.
Lower floor, (all tiny windows) north – Xuclamel, Aloc, Ullastre.
The hotel serves breakfast between 0830 and 1030. It was eight euros each when we were there. Since they didn’t have any fresh croissants or bakery items the day we tried breakfast – only supermarket sliced bread – or fresh fruit apart from watermelon it didn’t seem worth while and we skipped breakfast after the first day. Cooked meats seemed plentiful, though – salami and suchlike. Some days we drove the three km down the hill to the nearest café for breakfast, where they did have fresh croissants and their Mallorcan equivalent, which, with coffee, was less than half the price.
Outside the hours of 0800 to 1100, the kitchen is available for use by guests and a refrigerator is set aside for their food. The kitchen table seats about eight or you can eat food on the terrace where each of the four tables seats four people.
A little further up the hill, perhaps 50-100 metres, the neighbouring restaurant is reached by a succession of slopes and steps, through trees and bushes. It has a magnificent view across the bay from its large terrace.
On our first night, our double bed had a single-size sheet which wasn’t big enough to cover the top of the mattress, let alone tuck into the side. Naturally, you end up lying on the bare mattress when the sheet is too small and there’s nothing to secure it. As there are no staff there after 1800 there was nothing we could do about this for the first night.
But the next day, we asked for the sheet to be changed. We also asked for a broken lightbulb in a bedside light to be replaced. The sheet was changed for the second night but the lightbulb was never replaced during the whole week.
For the first part of our stay there was a party of around 60 children aged around nine staying in what looked like a community hall behind the hotel. (This and the restaurant are the only other buildings in the area.) One of the other guests complained of being kept awake by the children still running around at midnight, screaming and shouting. Northern Europeans may not always be sympathetic to the sleep pattern of southern Spain. The children were up at 0730, running around the outside of the hotel. But there was no sign of them during the afternoon – I would guess it was their siesta time and they didn’t reappear until around 1700.
If you get one of the two rooms with a view, if you’re not wakened by the maid’s radio in the hall and if your visit doesn’t coincide with holidaying nine-year-olds rushing around at midnight, then this hotel could provide a spectacular if austere holiday. On the other hand if you get one of the rooms with the tiny fortress-style windows, you may want to limit your stay to one or two nights. I’d guess that avoiding internet booking might help get a decent room. Just phone them direct.
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- Also Known As:
- Petit Hotel Puerto Alcudia
- Petit Hotel Hostatgeria La Victoria Spain/Majorca