Four generations of women have owned and run El Bungalow. | Pere Bota


El Bungalow, by the beach in Palma's Ciudad Jardín, is another long-established restaurant that is threatened by a Costas Authority order. Famous for its paella and popular with both residents and tourists, El Bungalow has been operating with a restaurant licence since 1983. A family business, Maleni Bonet explains that her great-grandfather originally bought what was a bungalow in 1943. It was a wedding present for her grandmother, and it was her mother, María Pinya, who obtained the licence 39 years ago.

"It is an emblematic business, which has been here for almost forty years. Four generations of women have worked in the business for decades,” says Maleni Bonet. They now fear for the business, for the ten staff with permanent contracts who work all year and nine others who have 'fijo discontinuo' contracts. This is because a report from the Costas at the end of July ordered the demolition of the restaurant on environmental grounds.

María Pinya didn't apply for a coastal occupation licence until a couple of years ago. Maleni Bonet explains that her mother thought that the property title was enough. "We have always had activity permits and in its day the Coasts Law did allow activity." The situation has greatly affected María. She is 85, in a delicate state of health and feels responsible for what now faces the family business.

El Bungalow in Ciudad Jardin, Palma, Mallorca

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"It is my great-grandmother's house and we have always wanted to regularise the situation. It was a house that much later obtained a restaurant licence, but they are merciless with family businesses that are on the coast. The Costas are applying extensive power. What do they want? That there are only beach clubs managed by foreigners?"

In August last year, the environmentalist organisation GOB called on the Costas delegation in the Balearics to order the immediate closure of El Bungalow. GOB were critical of the Costas for not enforcing the law. To grant the restaurant a concession "would be a serious breach of the Coasts Law" and its regulations, which established that "possession of illegal occupation be recovered and that the removal of existing buildings is ordered".

Maleni Bonet stresses that "we are going to fight to this the end". "If necessary, we will chain ourselves to the restaurant."