The sunny Mediterranean isle of Mallorca has long been a favorite destination of European jetsetters and nightlife enthusiasts alike. To meet guests’ varying needs, hotels offer accommodations ranging from ultra-luxurious private enclaves to seaside huts. While most visitors tend to go for the beaches that fringe the island’s rugged coastline, there is another Mallorca that beckons.
Many flock to the baroque mountain village of Valldemossa (where Chopin spent a season convalescing and composing) in search of the island’s hidden soul, but are disappointed by the tourist hordes that throng its narrow lanes. Instead, visitors should venture along the winding mountain roads of the island’s southwestern Serra de Tramuntana range to the tiny hamlet of Es Capadell?, where just outside of town, the new Castell Son Claret opened earlier this year.
The Leading Hotels of the World property is nestled in an idyllic valley of 325 UNESCO World Heritage-certified acres; where the air is permeated by the fragrance of orange trees in the newly planted gardens. And the soft tinkle of sheep’s bells floats on the evening breeze as local shepherds see their flocks home.
The hotel was converted from a former 18th-century manor house (though the estate dates back to the 15th century) that owes its architectural aesthetic to the limestone Moorish fortresses that once sat along the island. The hotel has just 31 rooms and seven suites, which are housed both in the original manor house as well as the former stables and outbuildings.
Guests enter the estate along a regal driveway lined by palm trees and blooming rosebushes. On the way to reception, take in the magnificently landscaped gardens designed by Tatjana von Griesheim. The garden holds indigenous Mallorcan plants — including almond and orange trees, jasmine, coriander and bergamot shrubs — and colorful blooms of bougainvillea and agapantha that coexist in the peaceful shade of olive and palm trees.
Each room and suite is distinctive, ranging from Estate Kings at just under 300-square-feet and up to the Deluxe Pool Suite with two King bedrooms, a private terrace and garden and nearly 1,000 feet of combined total square footage. Some have Juliet balconies with lounge chairs; others have expansive patios for dinner parties that last long into the night. All come outfitted with natural oak hardwood floors, stained wood fixtures and furniture, leather-padded bed headboards and Egyptian cotton sheets. A bag of amenities welcome guests with items ideal for the island’s leisure activities including towels and sun hats.
Rooms also have all the standard upscale contemporary touches travelers expect including complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi, enormous flat-screen televisions and delicate wooden work desks in case they need to stay on top of what is happening back at home. The bathrooms contain his and hers vanities, deep soaking tubs, and separate rainfall showers — all outfitted in Travertine marble and stocked with specially commissioned Plantation products.
The hotel managed to lure Madrid-based Michelin-starred chef Fernando Perez Arellano to the property to open his signature restaurant Zaranda, which serves a seasonal prix-fixe menu in the hotel’s picturesque interior courtyard as well as an intimate vaulted dining room. The menu changes frequently but might include such local delicacies as cold spiny lobster bisque with basil, guinea fowl in a savory broth with dried fruits and nuts, and a cherry-carob Black Forest cake with cr?me fraiche sorbet. Head to the hotel’s cozy little bar, housed in the former chapel, for a pre-dinner aperitif or a post-meal nightcap.
For a more casual dining experience, including breakfast (with home-baked pastries!), guests can dine at Olivera. It offers a light-filled indoor dining room as well as patio seating overlooking the pool and the mountains. The breakfast spread is an entire production with such local specialties as tortilla Espanola, local cheeses and sausage, savory flatbread and traditional sugar-dusted ensaimada pastries. Dinner consists of simpler yet still gourmet fare that might include local langoustine in a pastry crust with mango and ginger dip, or Moroccan-style slow-roasted lamb shoulder with spiced couscous.
The hotel’s Bellesa de Claret spa is located under the main building and is centered around a tranquil little pool, bordered by a small relaxation deck and verdant living wall of plants. The hotel’s product line of choice is the Terraké line from Thalgo, which was developed exclusively for use in luxury resorts and spas. Therapists consult with each guest to determine the specific combination of products for their skin type and needs before performing specialty treatments like the Primordial Water hydrating facial or the Air and Light relaxation and activating body ritual and facial. The spa also boasts a gorgeously tiled hammam with crystal lights set into the ceiling for a complete spa experience that will leave you glowing.
If wanting more vigorous activity, the hotel boasts tennis courts, a small fitness center and miles of walking and jogging trails in the pristine mountain scenery. Most guests tend to unwind around the saltwater Panorama Pool with, as you might have guessed, picture-perfect views of the surrounding almond groves and Serra de Tramuntana Mountains. It’s also perfect for a few laps under the clear-blue island skies.
No matter how you choose to spend your time there, though, it will feel too short, and there will be no doubt that you have discovered a place that is truly, uniquely Mallorcan.