Son Amar Pays Me A Visit

I was just in the office the other day, minding my own business, dealing with clients, answering the phone, giving directions to the market and organising guides and coaches as usual, when Elaine, the commercial from Son Amar, came in.

son amar

It was strange as she had already been to our office that morning. We had not been able to speak to her as we were so busy, so she had left leaflets and material and had left with a wave and a smile.

So to see her now, an hour later, back in the office with a grave face was a bit of a surprise.

She sat down and began to speak to my boss. I was completely involved in my own things and I wasn’t even remotely interested in what was going on at the other side of the room. That is, until I heard the words “Lisa’s blog”.

Son Amar scared?

Then my ears pricked up and I was willing the phone to stop ringing just for a moment but it would not cease. I could only catch disjointed fragments of their conversation:

“Well sorry Elaine, but what Lisa writes in her personal blog is her own business and is nothing to do with the company.”

The phone rang again and I lost the rest of what was being said.

I racked my brains. Damn, I was already on Pirates Adventure’s hit list for writing exactly what I thought about their attitude in a post two weeks ago, and I was on several local restaurants‘ hit lists for slating their quality and service. What had I written about Son Amar? I couldn’t remember and my mind had gone blank.

I had seen the Son Amar show just a few weeks before and even though it was not back to its former glory of a decade ago, I had thought it was much better than last year’s show. So I knew that I couldn’t have written anything too negative.

Maybe it was the commercial team I’d upset; I don’t have much time for any commercials from suppliers (as you may have gathered by now) and if they ever outstay their welcome in my office when I’m busy, it’s true that they might be subject to a little slating on my blog.

The person on the other end of the phone had disappeared to get some details from a client and I took the opportunity to quickly google inmyshoestravel + son amar and I came up empty handed. Damn, I’d removed all the tags from my blog after getting the wrong end of the stick at that WordPress course I went to a few weeks ago and hadn’t got around to re-writing them.

My call had finished and I heard Elaine say “Carlos told me to come straight back here and talk to you…” Oh God, I thought. Carlos is the commercial manager for Son Amar and is Elaine’s boss. “If there’s something that you think we should improve…”

The phone rang again. I took the call and then searched my blog as quickly as I could whilst also trying to remember if I’d published that post about Son Amar yet. I could find nothing.

While the phone was quiet I took the chance to interrupt the conversation between my boss and the Son Amar commercial. “I haven’t even published anything about Son Amar,” I ventured, still not sure if this were completely true.

“Yeah, yeah, I know,” said Elaine. “It’s just that Margaret has read your post about Pirates and she thought that you had some very good points and that what you said was true. And she thought I could come and to speak with you to see if there was anything that you think we could improve about Son Amar.”

Ah, so that was it; it wasn’t about what I had said, it was about what I might say.

What Elaine actually meant when she said this was that Margaret had read my post about Pirates Adventure and while she delighted in the parts where I criticise them [please read the comments below for a contestation and correction of this statement from Margaret Whittaker herself], she also realised that I was writing the absolute uncensored truth and was worried that her show might be next and had sent her commercial to see if we could straighten anything up off the record; the blogging equivalent of settling out of court.

I wonder what they are scared of. Don’t they think they are doing a good job?

Catch that famous Pirates Adventure post here…

Margaret Whittaker OBE

You might already know who this Margaret is who I have referred to: she is Margaret Whittaker, the owner of Son Amar show in Mallorca, having taken it over a few years ago when it was really in dire straits.

Margaret Whittaker is also the founder of Slimming World and owns Mood Beach restaurant in Mallorca.

Margaret Whittaker was awarded an Order of the British Empire in 2009 for her services to the health of the British public and for charity work.

Frankly, Margaret Whittaker is a minor celebrity and a self made millionaire.

And Margaret Whittaker reads my blog! Not only that, but it seems, Margaret Whittaker is worried about my blog. Interesting.

Three thoughts jumped into my mind:

1. Are they so lacking in confidence about their show that they are afraid I will slate it, or them?
2. Wow, Margaret Whittaker is really on the ball to be keeping up with what people are saying about her competition.
3. Isn’t it nice to know that a large business takes into consideration its reputation and actually takes importance in their customers opinions.

Son Amar Post Coming Soon…

So the question remains: will I write a post about Son Amar? You bet I will. As you know, we still have a few days until the end of this month, which means that our Destination of the Month is still No Frills Excursions in Mallorca until Wednesday.

Despite knowing that it will definitely be read by those people whom it is about, and bearing in mind that I work for a company who collaborates with Son Amar, will I tone down my usual direct and opinionated statements? Not a chance.

Having said that, there are a lot of positive things to be said about Son Amar this year. We have had some very happy clients see the show. And No Frills Excursions, the only company to operate an excursion to Son Amar from the north of Mallorca, has a double decker coach load of clients tonight.

I can say one thing though: everything I write will be my honest opinion, from the terrible decisions Son Amar has made in the recent past to the magic that happens on stage every evening. From the history of the manor house where the show is held, to the way our clients are treated at the venue. And from Son Amar’s struggle against diminishing numbers over the past few years to the fact that they won’t invite for free the receptionists of one of the hotels in the north that actively promotes the excursion.

Will my post be scathing, scornful or judgemental? Well you’ll just have to wait and see, won’t you…

Filed Under: AlcudiafeaturedmallorcaNo Frills Excursions MallorcaspainWhere I Am Right Now


About the Author: Based in Mallorca, obsessed with the world and have a lot to say about both... Step into my shoes and join me on a journey...

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  1. susan sykes says:

    This sounds interesting and I can’t wait to hear what you have to say, I’ve been to Son Amar 2 or 3 times and really enjoyed myself it was when the Drifters were there I don’t know who the top of the bill is now.

    • Lisa says:

      It’s changed considerably since you went… I won’t give too much away but I’m sure you compare it favourably with the last time you were there… Let’s see 😉

  2. Hi Lisa,

    If I may, I would like to straighten out a few things. With regards to your comments about Pirates. I was actually agreeing with why, when you had so many negative things to say about it, you still sold it. You said it was because the customers liked it and wanted it. I thought that was fair comment, and although it did sound pretty bad about Pirates, what matters to you is what the customers want, so absolutely yes, fair comment.

    Also, being in a business that is so hard to run, with so many aspects to cover, far from enjoying the negative remarks, I was a bit shocked. I am personally good friends with the two people who work so hard to make Pirates the whizz-bang show that it is, Martyn and Elizabeth. My grand-daughter used to be a dancer for Pirates and we became friends through her I suppose. I really felt for them, because many of the things you mentioned were out of their control. I know nothing of how you are treated by the Pirates staff, or how they behave when they visit you. The thought crossed my mind that I had better find out if our staff are behaving in a way that annoys you.

    If I took the attitude that we at Son Amar are far superior to that, and that our sales staff and merchandising teams would never make these sort of mistakes, you would, I’m sure consider that arrogant. Well, I would certainly consider it arrogant at any rate.

    I asked Elaine to call and ask you directly if we did anything in our sales and marketing approach that you found irritating. Do you think that’s a bad thing to do?

    Am I scared? Of course. I think that any right-thinking person doesn’t want to upset or offend anyone who is a supplier of clients, and especially not a good one like yourselves. Anything that would be happening in my company like that scares me. I want to know about it and I would want to put it right. I’m sure Pirates will actually be grateful to know what happens outside of their knowledge and will be taking urgent steps to put these things right. They are just trying to run a successful business, as we are. They too give jobs to local people. So as I am in similar shoes to theirs, I understand how they might be feeling right now.
    As for the Son Amar show, I can’t praise the show director, the choreographers and the artists enough. They all work incredibly hard and they are all so, so talented. Having been first a client since 1997, through the dizzy heights of the island’s tourism and the most profitable days of Son Amar, to taking over an ailing business first as a silent partner in 2007, (the years from 2007 to the end of 2010 are referred to as ‘the dark times’) and then in 2011 when Son Amar was at an all time low, we became very active as owners. I can tell you it has been a labour of pure love. The last 3 years have been amazing. Each year we seem to find a way to improve the show and improve the food and the service. We already know how we can improve even more, and that’s what’s so exciting.

    Son Amar has been getting absolutely rave reviews, this year especially. Not down to me I hasten to add, but to the willingness of everyone involved to do their level best, and to put their heart and soul into every single part of it. And we’re still not satisfied. We know we can do even better.

    I understand you will be coming to see the show soon, so just to let you know if you want to take photographs you can, just not with flash. We changed our policy on this quite recently, so you may not have heard about that yet.

    Although we are 60% up on last year, and the year before we were 20% up on the previous year, we know we cannot rest in our efforts to improve sales – ever!! But we do try – as my husband says, I am very trying!

    By the way, although I may be considered a minor celebrity in the UK, (very minor indeed), I don’t think I’m considered even that in Mallorca. The best I can hope for is that I am liked and respected by the people I work with. That means a lot to me.

    So thank you for your entertaining Blog. And I do hope you have a lovely night at Son Amar and that you enjoy the show as much as our audience seems to do.

    Kindest regards

    Margaret Whittaker

  3. Hi Lisa,
    You mentioned in your comments that a receptionist from a hotel wasn’t invited to see the show. As you haven’t named the hotel or the receptionist, I cannot be sure if we are talking about the Hotel Condesa de la Bahia. If so, the receptionist was invited and she came to the show.

    To my knowledge we have never either refused, or not invited, these key people who sell Son Amar. I say to my knowledge. If there is someone I don’t know about, please let me know, as it would obviously be an error on our part and not intentional. As we have often had up to 40 invited people at any one time, I suspect we may be one of the most generous companies in regards to this. Again, you may know something of this that I do not.

    At Son Amar, there is now a very different attitude to what may have existed before our time, towards all agencies, tour operators, ticket offices and hotels. We want to make sure everyone who can sell tickets comes and sees for themselves what they can offer clients to make their holiday as full of great memories of Mallorca as possible.

    We believe that exclusivity arrangements are not in the best interests of visitors to this island, and that we need to do everything we can to support tourism and the island. I’m sure you feel the same. That’s why, despite your comments, you will continue to sell Pirates. There is a strong demand for this show for a particular market, a well-deserved demand in my humble opinion, and obviously the same for Son Amar, in another sector of the market.

    And our whole philosophy is to treat everyone with respect, courtesy and genuine warmth – that’s not only internally within the Son Amar organisation but most certainly with our clients and of-course, with our partners who sell Son Amar and who also benefit themselves from those sales. As I’m sure you can imagine, sometimes that’s quite a challenging philosophy to aspire to, but we won’t ever give up on it.

    Kindest regards, as always,


    • Lisa says:

      Hello Margaret, and welcome to the blog.

      I would like to thank you for taking the time to write such a detailed and concise response to this post. Your words clearly express your enthusiasm and dedication to Son Amar, something that is refreshing and inspiring to read.

      Yes, you may:
      You may straighten out whatever you feel unfair or misinterpreted and you are more than welcome to share your own thoughts, ideas or version of events on this blog, as are all my readers. And I am very grateful that you have taken the time to do so here.

      I appreciate your invitation to see the show again and I am very much looking forward to it, as I was both surprised and excited by the show when I saw it in May. Without giving too much away to readers before I actually write about the show itself, I thought that this year’s ‘Celebration’ was a great improvement on last year’s show and certainly on those of previous years, which you refer to as the ‘dark times’.

      I am delighted, from a personal point of view, that you have decided to allow photography, and I also think it an excellent decision from a marketing point of view. I look forward to taking photos during the show and can assure you that I wouldn’t dream of using flash (it’d ruin the images :p ). It will be nice to know that I won’t be intimidated by a heavy muscleman for taking them.

      Your comments here are written with a sheer modesty that is both admirable and, at the same time, a little difficult to believe. Really? You think that there could be a possibility that the elegant and sophisticated Elaine comes to my office and demands to know where her Son Amar A-frame is (it’s right there on the terrace every day, by the way)? You think that your staff who greet our clients at the door are anything less than charming and formal and that they wouldn’t allow someone their basic human right of using the bathroom? Come on.
      Everyone who owns or runs a business is scared of one thing or another, but reading a bullet-pointed list about the way that I or my clients have been treated poorly is really not something you need to be worried about.

      I do not want this comment to be as long as the post itself, which it’s already in danger of being, but you have raised so many points that I feel bad if I don’t respond them. I will therefore just answer a few of your points briefly. I hope that is okay.

      First of all, you may notice that I have added a note in the original post directing people to the comments in order to read your protestation about my statement that you enjoyed reading negative comments about Pirates. I am sure that you don’t think that Elaine said those very words and you can be assured that she certainly did not.

      Secondly, in answer to your question: No.
      No, I do not think that your sending Elaine to get some genuine feedback is a bad thing to do. I think quite the opposite: that it is the most sensible thing to do and shows much more business sense than those who are too arrogant to even acknowledge or notice that posts have been written about their show or their business. I was flattered that you had read my blog and even more flattered by the fact that you had taken my negative comments about Pirates seriously enough to look at your own show and organisation.

      As office manager of No Frills Excursions, I speak on a daily basis with nearly every selling point and hotel reception in the north of Mallorca, which means answering many questions and having a good product knowledge about everything that we sell. For me, it is always better if our big sale points have been on the trips themselves so that they don’t need to call me with questions and can sell the tours by using their own experience. As well as reducing my workload, it is also a much better sales technique, as the seller appears, and indeed is, more genuine. Having said that, I do not agree with just giving out freebies for the sake of it to those who show no promise or desire to sell and are just looking for a free night out.
      You are clearly well informed because I was indeed referring to the reception staff of the hotel Condesa de la Bahia, as you have suggested. I am pleased that they went to the show because they certainly deserve to be invited. Clearly something happened though, otherwise why would you have guessed that this was the hotel in question? I will go to the hotel and speak with the staff before I publish my post about Son Amar and I will find out what happened there. That said, I believe that as this is your business and your show, it is for you to say who should be invited and it is for you to decide where to draw the line.

      “Minor Celebrity” – okay, sarcasm noted. But, how to say that without using those words? “Semi-famous person”? “Known personality’? I’m sorry, genuinely. It was not a dig: I think that you have worked hard to get where you are and I do not wish to mock that in any way. It was not my intention. It’s just that for me, Dame Judi Dench is a celebrity, so…? I guess that until you are in James Bond films that’s my label. You should know though; Victoria Beckham is also a “minor celebrity” 😉

      I would like to thank you again for taking the time to comment here and I wish to remind you that you are more than welcome here any time.

      And I leave you with just two small reminders more:
      1. I wrote some very positive things, not only negative, about Pirates Adventure and I reiterate now that it is one of the longest surviving shows on Mallorca and that the quality of the show itself, in my opinion, never goes down.
      2. My comments and my thoughts are written on behalf of and do not reflect those of No Frills Excursions.

      Best regards,

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