Majorca is having something of a renaissance recently. No Longer is the island just a haven for party-seeking teenagers, but its now attracting a more mature, glamorous and refined set of travellers. In recent years several new luxury boutique hotels have opened across the island to cater for this new breed of holidaymaker, along with a string of exclusive beach clubs, marina fronts and restaurants.
Castell Son Claret, which is part of the Leading Hotels of the World Group, is perhaps the most elegant of all these hotels offerings on the island. Located just a half an hour drive from the historic capital of Palma, with its grand cathedral, contemporary art spaces and some of the best food to be found in Europe.In thick countryside, Castell Son Claret is tucked away behind a sleep hamlet and amongst olive groves and the forest-covered, UNESCO protected La Tramuntana Hills.
The main section of the hotel occupies a subtly refined castle, which was first recorded in 1450. In the 18th century Don Gabriel Claret made the castle his home, and established the 326-acre estate that the hotels sits on today. The site was purchased by a German couple in the early 2000s, who lovingly and faithfully restored the castle and its outbuildings in to what is seen today, and it was opened as a luxury hotel in 2013.
Oozing elegance and modest class, the hotel is part of a modern trend for tasteful restraint. The overall feeling from both the building’s atmosphere and the staff’s approach is friendly and welcoming yet discreet and perfected. Don’t expect marble and gold on every surface – instead you find sleek dark woods, minimalist furniture and glass walls. Outside, the building is surrounded by beautiful manicured Moorish gardens that are nothing short of a private paradise. 200-year-old olive trees, wild garlic, roses, bergamot and orange groves bustle around clipped lawns and stepping-stone lined ponds whilst providing exquisite smells that change throughout the day. The gardens, combined with the spectacular mountain scenery and air provide a genuine sense of freedom.
Back inside, rooms are furnished with Loewe televisions, speakers built in to the ceilings, Nespresso machines and a welcome bottle of local cava. The earthen tones of the walls and fabrics are tasteful, understated and warming, and the pillow menu offers more choices than the average number of nights stay. You can opt for one of 26 historic room in the castle, with the option of a private veranda facing out of the local nature reserves, or if you’re after something more private there are 15 cottage-suites with their own terraces and pools spread across seven outbuildings.
The hotel offers guests a huge outdoor pool which is wafted with the garden’s aromas, as well as free bicycle hire to tour the local hills (there is even a resident ex-professional cyclist guide), tennis courts and a state of the art gym. There is also an indoor pool, Hammam, sauna and ice fountain, and a spa with traditional treatments that focus on restoring inner balance using only natural oils made from the plants such as almonds and lavender that have been harvested from around the castle’s grounds, should you want to unwind in pure style and bliss.
The hotel has a small bar area for intimate cocktails, which adjoins a modernist library full of books on art, cooking and history. There are two restaurant options; Olivera, which is the a la carte offering and offers an array of mouth-watering Mediterranean dishes including home made burrata, smoked salmon ravioli and sea bass with sea snail ragout. The real showstopper of the hotel however, is its other dining option, Zaranda, the only two Michelin starred restaurant in the Balearics. Head chef Fernando Pérez Arellano and his team use only the freshest ingredients to create a culinary experience of the highest level. Guests dine in the candle-lit courtyard of the hotel, facing an open kitchen, where dinner becomes a feast played out over an evening. The menu fuses local seafood with international cuisine such as Asian and South American, to create an ever-changing feast for all the senses. Dishes such as conga eel cannelloni with onion toffee, or ceviche with scallops and seaweed taking you on a journey of gastronomic discovery. There is also a world-class wine cellar on hand to make the evening just that little bit more enjoyable. The restaurant has waiting lists lasting months, so often guests book in to the hotel for a short stay to jump the queue. Breakfast is served on the opposite terrace, with both a buffet of fresh fruit, local cheeses, Iberico ham, pastries baked on site every morning, and home made jams, and there is also a menu offering Spanish cooked breakfasts. Everything is incredibly fresh, organic and scrumptious.
What makes Castell Son Claret so special is the little touches. Whether it’s the pre-packed pool bags with all the essentials you need waiting in your room, the hand written welcome note in the fruit basket, the sunrise yoga classes, or the REN amenities waiting in the walk in shower. The staff are always courteous and ready to hand over a wide smile, with no request to big or small. This sun-dappled tranquil oasis feels a million miles from the old idea of a holiday in Majorca and proves that the island really does have so much more to offer. No doubt you’ll find it hard to leave.
Estate double rooms at Castell Son Claret are priced from Euro 295 (from £260) per room per night including breakfast, tax and service.