Rethinking All-Inclusive At Mallorca’s Family-Friendly Albufera Resort

By Elisa Bray

2 months ago

All-inclusive resorts can conjure up thoughts of grim buffet dinners, cheap wine and tacky entertainment, but the two newly renovated hotels in the Albufera Resort are a cut above


Having undergone a huge renovation in 2023, the four-star Iberostar Selection Albufera Park and sister hotel, the Iberostar Selection Albufera Playa are pioneering in their eco credentials, while meeting the needs of every member of the family, says Elisa Bray. But how does it achieve this? Through everything from to entertainment impeccably tailored for children to activities and relaxation for adults, an enviable location and delicious food offerings. Here’s exactly how the Albufera Resort is transforming all-inclusive luxury for the better.

Read the C&TH Guide to Responsible Tourism

Review: Albufera Resort, Mallorca

Bird's eye view of Iberostar Selection Albufera Playa

Iberostar Selection Albufera Playa

STAY

Located directly on Spain’s highly rated beach Playa de Muro and the Albufera Natural Park, the resort on Mallorca’s north coast consists of the Iberostar Selection Albufera Park and Iberostar Selection Albufera Playa, which allow guests to enjoy the best of both facilities, including seven swimming pools, and 10 restaurants and bars. If you have children, Albufera Park is the one to pick. So built around the needs of its young guests is this resort, that the first thing you see in the bright, cavernous, marble-floored reception is a slide for children to make their way down to where all the action is.

The focus of Albufera Park, where we stayed, is the superb pool, around which the pristine white building stands. While the entertainment, from a slick rock covers band to musical theatre show – my eight-year-old particularly loved the magic show – is classy and enjoyable even from the balconies of pool-facing rooms. If your young children won’t settle with loud noise, book rooms on the other side, further from the action.

A bedroom at Iberostar Selection Albufera Park

A bedroom at Iberostar Selection Albufera Park

Rooms are modern and minimalist in style and make effective use of space. Our family room had a single bed and trundle for the little ones, separated from the seating area by some useful shelving; parents have some privacy with the double bedroom’s sliding door. Book Star Prestige premium rooms such as family superior sea-view suites for access to private areas like terraces, swimming pools and relaxation zones for adults.

Everywhere you look are nods to sustainability: in the communal areas, you’ll find high-tech water fountains to fill the elegant glass flasks in every room (a meter shows how many plastic bottles have been saved from landfill in real-time), while there are no disposable plastic slippers for landfill; instead, there are biodegradable ones.

A pool in front of a white hotel

Iberostar Selection Albufera Park

DO

There is plenty onsite to keep guests entertained, but the beach just outside is a beautiful five-kilometre stretch of sand with Blue Flag status and shallow waters, making it perfect for children. Or walk a little further afield to hike the 1,708-hectare S’Albufera de Mallorca, a nature reserve containing the largest wetland in the Balearic islands, home to more than 3,000 species of flora and fauna. The La Reserva Galatzó park and waterfalls are also close by.

For history and shopping, take a 20-minute taxi or bus ride to the bar-and-restaurant-filled walled town of Alcúdia. As well as the busy Platja d’Alcúdia and Platja de Muro on the sweeping Alcúdia Bay, you’ll find the neo-Gothic Sant Jaume church built into the town’s restored medieval walls, within which the well-preserved old town’s narrow streets and centuries-old buildings, and bustling market, are worth strolling along. Just outside is Pollentia, the island’s most significant Roman archaeological site whose excavations began in 1923, which includes an amphitheatre, forum, other preserved remains and a small museum.

Two girls rock climbing

Iberostar Selection Albufera Park

Our children felt no need to leave the onsite action, however. They loved Star Camp, the Albufera Resort’s kids’ club, included for all young guests aged four to 18. The extensive activity programme, spanning scientific experiments to Djing, is tailored to the needs of children across three different age brackets – rather than just providing childcare for parents to have a break. The programme also follows Iberostar’s core values of sustainability, diversity and health. A scavenger hunt led them around the resort looking at nature rather than being trapped inside.

It was hard to persuade the children to leave the splash pools, which offered hours of fun with their water slides and Star Camp staff performing energetic shows such as Frozen and leading aqua games. Up some stairs, the little splash pool provided hours of fun for our three and its shallow water made for a safe and joyful spot for our toddler. There is also a colourful outdoor play area with a mini trampoline conveniently positioned near the main Terral restaurant allowing parents more time to unwind and enjoy dinner. Pony rides for the children, just outside the resort and for a small fee, were another hit.

Not to be missed is the Instagrammable rooftop infinity pool, also open to children. The cabanas looking out to sea and rooftop bar make for a relaxing haven that’s possibly best enjoyed without the brood, however.

The spa, situated at Albufera Playa, offers a relaxing retreat from the action, and there is a gym, too.

Rooftop pool at Iberostar Selection Albufera Playa

Rooftop pool at Iberostar Selection Albufera Playa

EAT

Don’t let thoughts of predictable buffet fare put you off the all-inclusive Albufera Resort; the offerings at Park’s main restaurant, Terral, are gastronomic, with daily local dishes including hot seafood and meat paellas, pastas and fresh salads, as well as specials and tapas such as fresh gambas and pulpo a la Gallego (an octopus dish). And there is always a cut of meat or fish to be cooked to your taste at the grill stand.

A bountiful and varied breakfast is served at the same restaurant, where you can sit outside surrounded by flowers, or in the busier indoors. The children’s food corner is a winner: fresh pancakes and waffles for breakfast, and child-friendly pastas and burgers for dinner. The ice cream parlour was the biggest indulgence of all, where children can pick up unlimited treats.

A restaurant

For a change of scenery – and for barbecued meat and fish, but otherwise similar food – head to Tamarindos at Playa. If you’re staying for a week or more, all the restaurants are worth sampling for a change in scenery and flavours: the ceviche at Mexican Nopal, the unlimited tapas at Spanish Martinete, and the grilled meat and seafood at Greek Kyknos. All need booking ahead, particularly the popular Martinete.

If you associate the alcohol at all-inclusive resorts with budget wine and unbranded spirits, fear not: here you’ll find real prosecco and Aperol spritz. Meanwhile, StarCafé also serves barista coffees and children can help themselves to soft drinks and chocolate milk all day. The poolside bar is where you can find refreshing and fruity cocktails, and freshly squeezed orange juice. Hang about the pool throughout the day and you’ll be treated to ice creams, lollies, and even cocktails, too.

THE FINAL WORD

For all the preconceptions I may have had about all-inclusive resorts, Iberostar Selection Albufera Park put those firmly to bed. And with a historical town a short drive away, and a wealth of nature, including a national park and long sandy beach on the doorstep, you could never feel hemmed in.

Two people beside a swimming pool

Iberostar Selection Albufera Playa

BOOK

Double rooms on an all-inclusive basis from £221 including breakfast. iberostar.com

Learn more about Iberostar’s commitment to responsible tourism at waveofchange.com

A journey from London to Mallorca for one person, economy return flights, has a carbon footprint of 408kg of CO2e. ecollectivecarbon.com