Palma's Paseo del Borne on the up and up.
These days the epicentre of upmarket shopping in Palma is the city's Paseo del Borne (Passeig del Born in Catalan) and its surrounding streets. It's easy to see why, a quiet (ish) tree lined
square, elegant buildings housing international retail brands and a profusion of stylish cafes with on square seating to relax with a coffee or aperitif. But it wasn't always like this!
At the beginning of the new century the Borne was choked with traffic, home to a few small shops and travel agents, the abandoned Can Alomar building and a gathering place for scruffy drinkers!
Things began to change in 2002 when the Paseo was 'semipedestrianised' and the square began to attract quality shops, mostly from the fashion sector, and finally took off in 2010 when Mallorca
finally put an end to its protectionist restriction on big retailers trading on the island.
Added to this, within the last couple of years cafes have been allowed to have terraces on the square itself and are regularly filled with customers enjoying the food and pleasant surroundings
whilst on a break from shopping.
With luxury names like Louis Vuitton, Mulberry, Hugo Boss, Carolina Herrera and Loewe on the square alongside local retailers like Corner and Rialto Living, all rubbing shoulders with the likes of
Zara, Massimo Dutti and H&M there's a wide choice of shopping all around. It's a similar story with the square-side cafes with the mighty Cappuccino at both ends, local favourite Bar Bosch
still doing the business after decades and hip newcomers like Born 8 and the Casal Solleric Gastro Bar packing them in.
No wonder the Borne is now known as the Golden Mile. Rents are rising fast as retailers jostle to bag the best location, shop frontage and style of building, with the side with the odd numbers
commanding the highest rental rates. On one side the Can Alomar development already houses Louis Vuitton and the soon to open boutique hotel
of the same name and will soon be home to a big new Massimo Dutti women's shop. Across the road the old Telfonica HQ has been bought by developers with the aim of converting it into yet more high
class retail space.
All added together, the position, style and amenities of the Borne have made it the most sought after retail location in the Balearic Islands. Even though its footfall is less than other shopping
areas in the city, its clients have more money to spend, and they do, as the proliferation of top brands in the heat of a recession proves.
And the best thing about the Borne? You can sit on the lovely old granite benches which line the square and watch the world go by without spending a cent!