Hotel Reviews - Europe

Majorca: Has Reads lost its sparkle?

Caroline wonders what has been going on at Reads since she visited in 2006.

My husband and I spent a wonderful few days at Reads in Majorca in 2006 and it’s a place that we have always said we would return to.



At the time I was recovering from surgery and the peace and tranquility of the surroundings, the glorious views of the Tramuntana mountains, the lazy days by the pool in the benign September sunshine, all combined with the excellent food at Bacchus, their Michelin starred restaurant, and the bistro with its ancient olive press, made for the perfect post-op prescription.

The pool at Reads

The pool at Reads

Outside at Reads

Outside at Reads

Now eight and a half years on and looking forward to a return trip, I have been looking at the website and noticed that a few things have changed. First up, their home page directs the reader to an article in Hello magazine. This rang alarm bells: the Reads we knew just didn’t seem a Hello magazine, WAGS and celebs kind of place.

I then looked at the section of the website entitled Restaurants and was disappointed
to see that there was no mention of the Bacchus restaurant or the Michelin star. Instead, dining seems to be confined to the Blues Brasserie and sadly the beautiful 17th century room with its high ceilings and frescoes previously known as Bacchus has morphed into Browns Bar.

Bacchus restaurant as it was

Bacchus restaurant as it was

Further investigation on the Internet showed that the chef had left a couple of years after our visit having been “frustrated” at Reads for a while. Some of the brasserie menu looks good, particularly for fish lovers, but I doubt whether it can compare with the delights that we sampled in 2006. There are so many wonderful Mallorcan dishes that my heart sank at the inclusion on the menu of stir fries, pasta, Thai curry and four different hamburgers.

I then decided to have a look at Tripadvisor and my heart sank even deeper, even though I know that adverse reports on Tripadvisor need to be taken with a pinch of salt. However, once you have weeded out some of the more extreme reviews you can still get a pretty good flavour of a place and the flavour of Reads is not tempting me back. There are too many comments from people who have been before saying that everything has gone downhill. Service seems poor, the spa disappointing and the whole place in need of some TLC.

I was surprised to see that the spa was included in the Tatler spa guide for 2013. Then again I have no idea what the criteria for inclusion are. Perhaps the complaints on Tripadvisor about the hot tub being too cold, there being no ice in the ice room and the sauna only working for three hours a day have been ironed out.

I’ll never know whether I would have been better off in the days before the Internet when I would have remembered what a good time we had, booked blindly and maybe it would have been fine. Then again with Reads being a pricy destination I have concluded that I’m not willing to take the gamble and make my own mind up. I’ll remember Reads as it was back in the day but for now I’m heading elsewhere.

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