Prime hillside setting overlooking pretty Cala Marcal beach
All rooms have furnished balconies with sea or mountain views
Upgraded rooms have sofabeds and walk-in wardrobes
Two swimming pools, one lively and child-focused, the other quieter
Bright buffet restaurant with panoramic windows
Poolside snack bar and another bar with evening shows
Poolside activities catering to kids
Squash and tennis courts
Free Wi-Fi in lobby
Rooms and public areas are dated
No dedicated kids' club
Fee for in-room Wi-Fi and safes
No a la carte dining
The Cala Marsal is a mid-range, dated resort set on the outskirts of the Porto Colom fishing village, overlooking a picturesque sandy inlet of the same name. Once-lax building regulations have resulted in superb views from most of its 347 rooms -- spread over seven floors -- and the beach is just a short walk away. As there's just one buffet restaurant, the food, while decent enough, lacks finesse and mealtimes can get busy. Although there's no dedicated kids' club, poolside activities are child-focused, while a quieter second pool provides a more relaxing place to lounge. Couples looking for a totally child-free experience should take a look at the adult-only and all-around more stylish Ola Hotel El Vistamar.
Seven-story '60s hotel with mostly dated furnishings
What immediately stands out at Cala Marsal -- in comparison to many other hotels on the island -- is its size and setting; the building's seven stories and proximity to the beach point to its 1960s origins before strict rules were introduced for both. Despite some updates this side of the millennium, interiors are mostly dated, as seen in the lobby's walnut-effect paneling and pillars, green marble front desk, and faux-leather seating. Rustic antiques make up just a few of the numerous and eclectic pieces strewn around the property, which include ancient-looking vases and various random artworks. Many of the other spaces -- especially the rather gloomy corridors -- are due for a revamp as well. The restaurant's wraparound windows provide views over the surroundings, including spacious sun terraces dotted with palm trees and parasols. Clientele are a pan-European mix of mostly Italians, French, and Brits, and an even split between vacationing couples and families with kids.
Overlooking picturesque Cala Marcal beach on edge of Porto Colom village
The hotel has a privileged and prime position set on a hillside overlooking picturesque Cala Marcal beach in the district of Felanitx on Majorca's southeast coast. The popular sandy inlet is accessible by a short footpath that leads directly from the hotel's grounds -- a short one- or two-minute stroll. While far from lively, there are a handful of restaurants within walking distance, a few beachside ones, and others on the edge of nearby Porto Colom harbor and traditional fishing village. A bus stop is also just a two-minute walk from the hotel. The pretty resort town of Cala D'or -- and more attractive coves -- is about a 15-minute drive away, while farther afield, the charming and vibrant city of Palma is around an hours' drive. Palma de Mallorca Airport is also just under an hour away by road.
All rooms have balconies with sea or mountain sunset views
The T-shaped architecture of the hotel means that the vast majority of its 347 balconied rooms feature at least partial sea views -- top-floor balconies offer particularly spectacular panoramas. Mountain-facing rooms are treated to sunset views. Standard Rooms are decorated in a blue and white color scheme with simple wood furniture, textured walls, and tile floors. Upgraded Rooms are larger, featuring orange linens and headboards alongside gold accents, as well as sofabeds, bigger balconies, and walk-in wardrobes -- making them popular with families. Amenities include mini-fridges and 32-inch flat-screen TVs (with about half a dozen English-speaking channels); in-room safes and Wi-Fi both require a fee. Bathrooms are well-maintained but old-fashioned, outfitted with shower/tub combos (with flimsy shower curtains), wall-mounted hairdryers, and decent spread of toiletries.
Two swimming pools -- one with lively activities, the other quieter -- plus buffet restaurant and two bars
The hotel's one and only restaurant is bright and spacious, offering panoramic views and pink-clothed tables. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served buffet-style with no a la carte options; most guests opt for half- or full-board rates, and evening meals include a bottle of wine. Choice and quality of food is decent, though vegetarians might struggle and overcrowding can be an issue. There are also two bars: one is poolside and serves snacks throughout the day, the other, Hall Bar, is vast and has an old-fashioned theater atmosphere thanks to live music, flamenco, and cabaret most evenings.
The main pool is tiered with three sections, one of which is shallow for children; it's surrounded by a green terrace with plentiful loungers and poolside activities. A second rectangular pool is quieter and long enough for actually swimming. While daytime activities are focused on younger guests, there's no real dedicated kids' club, though there is an outdoor playground. Health and sports facilities include a small gym, rental bikes, and squash and tennis courts, though no spa. There's free Wi-Fi in the lobby, but it incurs an extra charge for in-room use.