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Winged Boots Interviews: Décio Sousa, Director of Sales for Jumeirah Port Sóller Hotel & Spa

  • Inspiration
  • By Natalie Baker
  • Published 30 April 2024
  • Revised 01 May 2024

We chat wellness moments, joyful hospitality, and chicken piri-piri with Décio Sousa: the Director of Sales for Jumeirah Port Sóller Hotel & Spa.

Jumeirah is the epitome of hospitality, and of service. It’s Arabian warmth wherever the hotel happens to be.

The Teams call connects and my screen fills with a bright, flawless blue that can only be a sun-filled Mediterranean sky. As the picture focuses, a glimmering sea and the appealingly rugged terrain of the Serra de Tramuntana come into view while a seagull cruises by lazily. 

Décio has kindly offered to show me one of his favourite parts of the hotel and, while I massively appreciate the view and the insight it gives into what one can expect from a stay here, it does make my own backdrop look decidedly more dreary. If he wasn’t such an immediately likeable man, with a genuine warmth and wish to share his passion, you might have thought he was just trying to make us jealous! (Mission accomplished). 

View of the Tramuntana mountains

Thank you for taking the time to speak with me today, I really appreciate it — and that view is certainly brightening my day! 

"No problem, it is my pleasure. I thought I would show you the view from one of our Signature Suites while also taking the opportunity to come up here myself and get a little bit of the sunshine, the fresh air, and the view."

I don't blame him. If that was just outside my office door, finding me at my desk would be rarer than a solar eclipse.

After chatting about the weather (Mallorca = gorgeous, London = not so much) and a bit about ourselves, we ease into the conversation.

The Signature Suite at Jumeirah Port Sóller, an architecturally striking clifftop property with one of the most unique locations in Mallorca, offers a wraparound vista that sort of makes my first question obsolete. But I am keen to hear what Décio has to say about it, nevertheless.

View of the balcony from the Signature Mar Blau Suite

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What makes Sóller unique? Why should someone come and stay here?

"Mallorca is a really well-known destination that many people feel familiar with. But Sóller and its people have always been somewhat unique. Geographically, because of the Tramuntana mountains, it has been more isolated than the rest of the island which means that there is a little bit of a different culture among the Sóllerics.

"So, it is the location that makes the hotel unique. It is the only resort on the island — across a lot of the Mediterranean, really — that combines the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of the mountains with the sea and this unique culture of Sóller and the surrounding areas. You are getting a pretty special mix that is not offered in a lot of places.

"But it is also not as well known as other parts of the island, which I feel adds a little bit of mystery to the location. It feels different here. There's also a real value placed on nature here, too, and you can feel that in the area and in the hotel itself."


The town of Sóller

On to the hotel itself — do you have a favourite spot? Or somewhere you suggest every guest spends some time?

"It's hard to choose one. Apart from the balcony of the suite where I am sitting now, I'd have to say the Sunset Lounge. You're high up, so you get an even more amazing panoramic vista you can enjoy with a cocktail while listening to our DJ. It feels chilled and laid-back, but also really special: a perfect combination for a relaxed evening with friends or your partner — or as a place to start your night."

For someone who has never been to the hotel, how would you describe Jumeirah Port Sóller Hotel & Spa?

"Of course, to look at, it is a luxury clifftop retreat with panoramic views over the mountains and the Mediterranean. But in terms of what it offers guests, it is again quite unique in the fact that they can come here to completely switch off and spend their time with family and friends in a very chilled, tranquil environment. Or, they can choose to be more active, making the most of our many activity options and getting outdoors into the beautiful nature around them. It's really all according to the guest's individual wishes and preferences, and we think we have something for everyone.

"There's a holistic spa, nearby golfing, and some excellent dining experiences and gastronomy with strong influences from the local area. Plus, the hotel's architecture seamlessly blends contemporary design with traditional Mallorcan elements. So, I think I'd describe it as the meeting place of world-class luxury amenities with local Mallorcan charm and the exceptional Arabian hospitality that the Jumeirah brand is famous for.

"You can literally get a flavour for the island while enjoying the quality and service that we as a global brand stand for."

One of Jumeirah Port Sóller Hotel & Spa's outdoor terraces

What is it that Jumeirah stands for, in your opinion? 

"Jumeirah is the epitome of hospitality, and of service. It’s Middle Eastern warmth wherever the hotel happens to be. There is always a genuine care for our guests, a joyful welcome and human connection. It’s joyful hospitality that stretches beyond luxury service and opulent amenities alone, and that really sets the brand apart and has helped to build its name."

View of cliffs around the hotel

I love that: 'joyful hospitality'. Because, for some, luxury hospitality can feel a little intimidating, or there might be a perception that it is perhaps not so warm or friendly – so Jumeirah sets itself apart in that way?

"Exactly. There is a spirit of generosity in everything that we try to do here. And you feel it all across the hotel; from the rooms and suites to the restaurants, and even the camaraderie between the staff.

"It might seem obvious, but people are at the heart of it all. There is no hospitality, or even luxury hotels, without people. And that is probably the thing that I enjoy most about working with Jumeirah: the people.

"The brand has a very solid identity and vision that's all about genuine human connection, allowing you to deliver superior service. I mentioned before about a spirit of generosity and how that translates into everything we do, and that is true of how we interact with our guests and with each other as colleagues. It is part of our core values and identity." 

How do you uphold this brand identity?

"We want to please every guest, every time — right? So, again, it comes down to people. If you work with those key values of genuine human connection and generosity in mind, you are always going to be a good brand ambassador. And if you can use those values to deliver consistently exceptional service and experiences then you are on the right track to guest satisfaction.

"We don't just want to satisfy, though, we want to exceed expectations and surprise people. Whether it is with the facilities and service of hotel itself, or because we remember where you like to sit by the pool or which activity you did yesterday and ask you about it. We want you to feel like you are staying 'with us', rather than just in a hotel, because you can get that anywhere. That is the Arabian hospitality aspect: like you are being taken care of.

"As with anything with people, things constantly shift. So we are always evolving and adjusting to our guests' needs." 


Seating area and hydropool at Jumeirah Port Sóller Hotel & Spa

The Observatory Suite at Jumeirah Port Sóller Hotel & Spa

Speaking of your guests, how would you describe your core demographic at the hotel? 

"I'd describe them as couples on the younger side who enjoy an active lifestyle. They like to get outside and explore our location, but then they also like to come back and chill out with a couples' massage in our Talise Spa. It's all about balance for them. 

"We do have families stay with us as well. They tend to choose our Signature Suites, especially our Mar Blau Suite which offers a private pool and spacious terraces. And we actually get quite a few groups of friends as well; particularly groups of girlfriends of all ages who come to soak up the sun, use the spa, go out in the evenings, that kind of thing. 

"But generally, I would say it is active couples looking for an adventure of self-discovery amid the beautiful scenery of the Mallorcan countryside. And we can offer this demographic the most flexible and varied programme of activities."

Living area of the Mar Blau Suite

Bedroom in the Observatory Suite

And what does that programme of activities look like? 

"It is designed to showcase the stunning natural beauty and rich cultural heritage of Mallorca. Guests can enjoy customised hiking excursions — or hiking à la carte as we like to say — around the hotel, discovering hidden trails and beautiful views.

"We can also arrange for sailing adventures around the island which offer a chance to explore its bays and beaches, while cycling enthusiasts can pedal through the Tramuntana mountains. Guests seem especially to enjoy the cycling around here and we can arrange a pro-cycling trainer to take you out as well. History buffs can embark on guided tours of Palma's historical sites, or take a scenic journey aboard the Centenary Train from Sóller to Palma.

"Then, of course, there is the local gastronomy to discover. The area is known for its fantastic produce, and we can facilitate visits to local olive groves, vineyards, and orangeries — the oranges from this part of Mallorca are famous — so you can see where the ingredients come from and taste them at their freshest. This is very important for our restaurants at the hotel, particularly at Es Fanals: our fine dining venue where every single bite is of 100% Balearic origin. I think I said before about the value of nature that we try to embrace here, and that applies to our gastronomy too. We have some a selection of produce around us, on land and in the sea, so it is important for us to showcase that.

"Ultimately, we focus on tailoring each experience to every guest that visits us. The Guest Relations team work really hard to create a bespoke stay for each guest, I witness them doing that every day, so the programme of activities will be different for everyone who comes here". 

View over Port Sóller from off the coast

Port Sóller

Lots of luxury brands are seeing an increase in the demand for ‘wellness travel’ as people want to disconnect, detox, and prioritise their health. Is that something that you are also seeing? And how do you accommodate the wellness travel trend?

"Absolutely, our guests are very active and inspired to follow a wellness-focussed lifestyle. We have a full gym equipped with the latest technology where guests can keep fit during their stay if they wish, while our Talise Spa has 10 treatment rooms, offering a highly bespoke selection of spa treatments tailored to you. We take a holistic approach that focuses on the individual, incorporating things like mindfulness and yoga, while maintaining a feeling of indulgence and luxury."

How do you marry luxury with wellness and activity in one holiday?

"You know, 'wellness' means different things to different people on different days – it is not a 'one size fits all' kind of experience. It is a journey that looks different to everyone.

"This, right now, is a ‘wellness moment’: having a coffee and a chat in the sunshine, looking at the mountains. 

"That's the great thing about embracing this 'active living' concept, is that these
[luxury, wellness, activity] aren't all separate elements: they are all part of the same 'whole', the entire experience. So you don't have to sacrifice one for the other or think of being 'active' as one hour here or there. Being somewhere like Sóller allows you to incorporate activity; being out in nature, into your routine. And the hotel helps you make the most of it while taking care of the luxury and wellness elements too!

"But, like I say, 'wellness' is not a specific thing or a destination — and a 'wellness moment' can be anything."


Part of the hotel's spa area

View from the outdoor hydropool

And what about you — what is a 'wellness moment' for you? 

"I have a three-year-old daughter, so we love to take her out and explore what the island has to offer. I am originally from Portugal — the Algarve — and I have only been here a little while, so it is really exciting to discover new places, especially with my daughter because you get to see it all through a kid's eyes". 

He smiles infectiously.

"The thing we find is, just driving around, you come to places that kind of look like there is nothing there. But then suddenly there is a beautiful beach, or a view, or something. There are also so many great hidden restaurants that, again, don't look like much from the outside, but the food is just fantastic. The weather helps, too, of course, as it means you can spend more time outside exploring like this."

Well, coming from the Algarve, you are hardly short of beautiful weather, beaches, and food! My mum lived in the Algarve for 10 years so I used to visit a lot. 

"Oh, whereabouts?" 

Monchique? A small village away from the coast and a little bit more tucked away in the mountains.

As it turns out, Décio used to work at Café Império: a locals' spot known for its incredible chicken Piri-piri and only about 10 minutes from my mum's house. I had been to the cosy roadside restaurant many times over the years, and have fond memories of its delicious food and friendly service. Immediately, I was transported back to warm evenings on the terrace and wonderful evenings with my mum. That's the power of places (and of great chicken piri-piri).

While the Jumeirah brand is global, spreading its distinctly Arabian spirit throughout properties worldwide, my conversation with Décio proves that world is quite small after all. And that people are indeed at the heart of anything worthwhile.

Sunset at Sant Bartomeu Church - Sóller

If 'joyful hospitality' is your thing, get in touch with our expert team of personal travel managers by calling 0203 318 6080 or submit an online enquiry today.

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