The Origin- From the Berenguer Vida Family to the Schörghuber Family
After participating in the conquest of Mallorca in 1229, Berenguer Vida and his brothers received the ´rafaeles´ or country houses on the outskirts of the town known as Alxidat, Abnalabeth, Alcuezcuey, Abenaulen and Abenantip. Grouped together these ´rafales´, or at least part of them, would form the Son Vida farm.
In 1518 the farmstead was acquired by Mr. Mateu Vida, a descendent of Berenguer. From the Vida family the the farmstead passed to the Desmàs family until he died, and Son Vida went to his widow, Jeronia Trullols, and she left the estate to her brother, Nicolau Trullols, Marquis of la Torre.
According to data provided in 1865 by the Archduke Ludwig Salvator, Son Vida belonged to Francesc Trullols, Marquis of La Torre, and consisted of 305 hectares. It was the sixth-largest estate in Palma. Between 1900 and 1905 Ferran Truyols Despuig raised a sumptuous building shaped like a Neogothic castle inspired by the Perelada castle, and in 1961 the castle was adapted as a luxury hotel by Joan Mora, José Luis Ferrer and Steve Kusak. In 1982 when Ferrer passed away, the hotel became property of the Egyptian Ashraf Narwan. In 1990 the Husa Group took over the establishment, selling it in 1995 to the Schörghuber Group, the current owner.
Castillo Hotel Son Vida- Symbol of excellence and glamour
The Castillo Hotel Son Vida is without doubt the most emblematic establishment for luxury guests on Mallorca. The new hotel received its blessing on 23rd June 1961. But it was one week later that the Castillo Hotel Son Vida really focused the attention of the whole world, by accommoding Prince Rainer of Monaco, and his flamboyant wife Grace Kelly, who arrived in Mallorca accompanied by shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis and opera diva Maria Callas on board of his yacht. The prince and princess of Monaco threw the most legendary and lavish high society party remembered in Palma. Ever since then, and throughout the more than fifty years of its existence, the Castillo Hotel Son Vida has welcomed the most distinguished of world figures, ranging from members of royal families such as the Spanish, Saudi, Moroccan ones, etc to an endless list of celebrities from the world of art, culture and sport, including Truman Capote, Brigitte Bardot, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Jean Paul Belmondo, Sting, Julio Iglesias, Niki Lauda, Monserrat Caballé etc.
With 164 rooms and suites, owned by the Schörghuber Group and currently operated by Starwood Hotels & Resorts under the prestigious “The Luxury Collection” brand, still conserves its glamorous aura, adapted to the commodities of our modern days but without foregoing a shred of its inimitable class.
The Urbanisation- A 5 million square metre garden.
Stephen A. Kusak (1919-2004) the American aviator is one of the main characters in the history of Son Vida as we know it today. In the 1950s his vision went way beyond anything else. In the words of his son Alberto Kusak., “My father brought with him from the United States the idea of making a resort that would include a hotel and a golf course with a housing estate around it, very much in the American style of the time.” Another aviator comrade, Joe Rosbert, took part with Kusak, Ferrer and Mora. They decided on this enclave because of its proximity to Palma. In a few years Son Vida urbanisation became the most luxurious housing estate in Mallorca, and it still is today with some of the most stunning houses of all Europe.
The idea, the golfcourse, and the very first shot
Kusak, Ferrer and Mora visited different golf courses in Europe to gain a better idea of the sport, the magnitude of the installations. Around 1962 earth moving began, grass trials commenced…at first five holes were built, until the nine holes of the inauguration were designed in 1964 by Englishman F.W. Hawtree. The rich, exuberant Mediterranean landscape inspired Hawtree to design a highly varied course, adapted to the nature. Prince Rainier of Monaco was responsable for the inaugural stroke on the new course in 1964 and played a full round on the course, which had 9 holes at the time.
One of the most precious stories related to the history of Son Vida is connected to the large number of caddies who have come out of the club of Son Vida. Those kids, most of them lads from the humble origins who lived in Son Rapinya, used to come to the golf course to haul the players clubs around and take away a tip of a few pesetas in exchange, which they took home to help out their families. Over time, out of necessity but above all out of enthusiasm, those boys turned into experts in the game and in human relations, becoming the main advisors of the players who used to come to Son Vida.
Goyo Sanz was the first golf instructor
Goyo Sanz is one of the historic figures of Son Vida who stimulates the most unanimous praise. Practically all the Mallorcan pioneers of golf had lessons with him.
Comengolf and Peña 2000 are “groups” of friends with certain similarities, and often meet up to share their passion for golf for a few hours.
Over the last fifty years some of the best players in the history of golf have played in Son Vida. Masters in Golf such as Gary Player, Sam Torrance, Colin Montgomerie, Bernhard Langer, Max Faulkner, Miguel Ángel Jiménez and of course Severiano Ballesteros as many more. The list of other celebrities who have played a round of the 18 holes of Son Vida, most of them guests in the Castillo Hotel Son Vida is endless, from Principe Rainero of Monaco, to legends like John Lennon, Anthony Quinn, Jack Nicholson, Michael Douglas not to forget former President of spain Adolfo Suarez, and the then Príncipe Juan Carlos de Borbón, now King of Spain.
Golf Son Vida a 21st-Century Course- The restructuring
Thirty five years after it´s opening, German golf course designer Kurt Rossknecht was commissioned to restructure Golf Son Vida. His work resulted in an improvement in the quality of all playing areas, broadening the greens and modernising the technical infrastructures.
Hole 6, The “San Francisco”
Hole 6 of Son Vida is possibly the most legendary hole of the entire course. It began to be known as “San Francisco” because of its winding, narrow downhill slope reminiscent of the streets of the famous Californian City. From the top, players have a clear view of the beautiful image of the Bay of Palma, with the cathedral in the background.
A five star Club
It is a 5 star club in all senses, with facilities and services on a par with the best. The clubhouse welcomes players before and after every game, adjoining the exquisite restaurant El Pato. In the pro shop, which opens 365 days a year, one can acquire articles by the most prestigious brands. In addition there is a free shuttle bus available by Arabella Golf Mallorca which connects the golf courses in the group to its hotels.
Arabella Golf Mallorca- One of the best in Europe
It’s the biggest resort in Spain and one of the largest and most prestigious in Europe. It´s three 18-hole courses, Golf Son Vida, Golf son Muntaner and Golf Son Quint plus the Pitch & Putt with 9 holes, make it a magnificent 63 hole resort. All these courses are located less than 3 minutes away by buggy from one another.
Son Vida Golf
This legendary course is a par of 71 measuring 5,601 metres. The golf course of Son Vida as is confirmed by the golf players has the “flavour, and personality” Surrounded by spectacular houses and pine woods, this demanding course brings out the best in everyone who plays a round here.
Son Muntaner Golf
Designed by Kurt Rossknecht, it was inaugurated in the year 2000 and is now regarded as one of Mallorca’s bets courses. This exclusive par 72 course, measuring 6,226 metres, offers a round that requires use of all the clubs in ones bag. It is a veritable jewel of nature, with species as singular as the ancient olive tree “Na Capitana”. There is a practice area that is on a par with the best clubs in Europe.
Golf Son Quint and its Executive Pitch and Putt
It is the third course belonging to Arabella Golf Mallorca dating back to 2007 with a par of 72 running for 6,205 metres in length. Designed by architects R. Espinosa and K. Rossknecht, runs through a wonderful, typically-Mallorcan landscape, with views of the Bay of Palma on some stretches. There is an excellent restaurant, as well as other services in the clubhouse. Mallorca’s only Pitch and Putt is hugely successful, as a round can be completed in one hour. It´s 9 short holes, par 27 require no handicap to play them.
Three Luxury Hotels
The unbeatable range of courses offerede by Arabella Golf Mallorca is completed by three hotels belonging to the Schörghuber Group, the Castillo Hotel Son Vida, the St. Regis Mardavall Mallorca Resort, and the Sheraton Mallorca Arabella Golf Hotel, three top-class establishments at the service of golfers and distinguished guests.
Copyright: 50 Anniversary of the Golf of Son Vida 1964 – 2014 book.