The bold new hotel El Llorenç, Parc de la Mar has arrived in Palma’s historic Calatrava neighbourhood with style and sparkle.
With confident interiors and guestrooms by Swedish designer, Magnus Ehrland; destination dining by acclaimed and self-assured Mallorca chef Santi Taura; a wow-factor triple-level roof terrace with infinite pool that elevates hotel design to new heights; and a luxe spa, it’s understandble that hotel El Llorenç is attracting plenty of attention, writes Andrew Forbes.
the Mediterranean’s hip hotel hot spot…
Keeping pace with Palma’s 5-star boutique hotel scene could be a full-time job. In recent years there’s been an abundance of new openings, making Mallorca’s capital the Mediterranean’s hip hotel hot spot. So I guess it is little wonder then that this new property is looking to stand out from the crowd.
El Llorenç, Parc de la Mar is a member of Design Hotels. The unique perspective of Magnus Ehrland has created memorable spaces, from the lobby, corridors, guest rooms to the roof terrace.
Designer Magnus Ehrland
The property has a look and feel that demonstrates a clear departure from the established muted design palette of other boutique properties in the old town.
The elegant and striking ground floor of El Llorenç combines lobby, cocktail bar (expect a delicious welcome drink upon check-in), fine-dining restaurant and bistro.
The guest room corridors and landings are, well, eclectic – think classic black and white fine art photography mixed with kitsch details like turquoise peacock chairs – as if the hotel has somehow collected beautiful and quirky things over the years , giving a layered style.
From the moment you enter the hotel its clear this is an upscale, top notch property. Materials are beautiful, from the wonderful wooden floors, the creative lighting, to the imaginative use of design motifs. For example, in reference to the rich history of the hotel’s Calatrava barrio, a geometric motif is used throughout the hotel, from screens, wall coverings, woodwork and even the guest towels.
I was privileged to be amongst the first guests to stay at the hotel, at the end of its first week of opening. I was fortunately enough to have the opportunity to meet Magnus Ehrland, the designer, and also later chat with him about his interiors. It certainly helped me make sense of the rich and varied look.
Despite the extrovert style of this new hotel, the property’s endeavours to focus on a more profound guest experience encompassing Palma culture, local cuisine, and genuine comfort. Magnus Ehrland told me he particularly wanted the guest rooms to be homey, warm, and welcoming. He continued, ‘there’s been a shift in hotel design. Until recently our homes might have been inspired from contemporary hotels; yet now hotels are looking to the comforts of homes especially with bedroom design’. Ehrland sees a move away from sleek, minimalist room design and instead an embracing of a cosier style, with plenty of practical elements like storage, varied lighting and comforting fabrics.
The rooms and suites are El Llorenç, Parc de la Mar are far from minimalist – each has a wealth of detail. I stayed in two room types.
Deluxe Patio Room
Firstly a Deluxe Patio Room, that opened out onto a charming garden terrace within the hotel’s internal courtyard. These internal patios reflect the Moorish influence of Palma’s architecture, and are typical of traditional homes here, as the patios draw in light to the centre of the building, and keep spaces shaded and cool.
The Patio Room’s traditional references are complemented by cutting edge use of technology to control lighting, room temperature and more. A tablet is available to help guests make the most of not only the hotel but the destination too.
The room is well furnished – its embraces you with comfort and beauty. Art is on the walls, the custom furniture is both beautiful, practical and comfy. There’s a desk, easy chair, plenty of storage and welcome 5-star amenities like a coffee machine and free mini bar.
Lighting is everywhere, from relaxing and subtle to bright and practical – guests can choose.
The bathroom is another space where Ehrland shows his commitment to aesthetics and practicalities. There are shelves and spaces for all your personal grooming products, as well as lots of smart features like a heated mirror etc. The hotel also offers a very generous selection of high-quality amenities and grooming products.
Most of the bay facing rooms with balconies are actually the compact Standard Bastió rooms (still expect 5-star comfort, king size beds and great views).
Yet there are also suites, including a double balcony, sea view Suite at El Llorenç, Parc de la Mar.
This is a spectacular room, and luckily, I got to test drive it for my last night at the hotel.
This really showcases the El Llorenç experience. It really is a richly textured space – with well-thought out use of each square metre, from the dressing areas, the living area, the clever bathroom design, the huge tub with bay views, the designer furniture, and again, lots of lighting options.
Gastronomy at El Llorenç is over-seen by Chef Santi Taura. Although I like to consider myself ‘in the know’ about Mallorca’s hotel and restaurant scene, I have to admit to not being familiar with this well-loved local chef. So it was a real pleasure to find out more.
He’s created TANNUR for daily breakfast, lunch and dinner à la carte, with dishes by Chef Gonzalo Padin. Tannur I am told, is an Arabic clay oven, and one was found during the building works of the hotel.
Breakfast is table service, with a modest buffet of additional items like fruit and baked goods. Sunday Brunch is fast becoming a tradition at the hotel, attracting locals as well as guests.
We tried dinner a Tannur, with its informal, on-trend bistro style menu. I started with informal sharing plates of tacos and also the fried crunchy prawns. The steak sounded so tempting I opted for that as a main course. There are some locally inspired dishes too, like the vegetarian roasted Mallorca Tumbet artichoke; and of course plenty of fresh fish. It’s relaxed dining that fairly priced.
DINS Santi Taura
In addition, the chef has brought his award-winning DINS Santi Taura restaurant to the hotel which promises ‘a unique gastronomic experience inspired by the traditional cuisine of the islands and made with seasonal ingredients of local origin’.
Be aware that DINS is an intimate space, where diners sit at the bar around a small open kitchen, or at adjacent tables. This means that demand is greater than covers, so expect to book ahead at least a month for dinner. For that reason I didn’t get to try one of his tasting menus.
Visit Mediterranean Spain and her islands and you soon realise that thanks to the glorious climate, rooftop pools and bars are a big thing. El Llorenç takes this, literally, to the next level, with its triple level terrace.
Firstly is the infinite pool, (said to be the largest in Palma), with sun beds and designer Balinese style day beds. You find here the quirky and fun vintage Caribbean parasols, a classic design that Magnus Ehrland tells me he has loved since a being a child and had always wanted to incorporate them into a design. That’s typical of his creativity. There are plenty of details here that you just don’t see in other hotels.
In an era where design hotels can often look the same, El Llorenç is proudly individual
Then the main bar area – with views out across the city’s old town rooftops and to the sparkling bay.
For 360 views to accompany your cocktail, head up to the third level for cosy seating and memorable vistas.
Spa and Wellness
I should say a few words about the spa – the indoor pool is a delight – great design and a beautiful space. It could be overlooked, as in my experience guests headed to the beach or to the rooftop infinite pool. But the spa is a tranquil oasis that should be part of a stay. Spa treatments are also offered.
El Llorenç is found overlooking Palma’s Mediterranean bay, in the historic Calatrava district. Valet parking is available.
We have included the hotel in our guide to the best luxury hotels in Palma.
El Llorenç, Parc de la Mar
Plaza de Llorenç Villalonga, 4
07001 · Palma de Mallorca, Spain
Tel: +34 971 67 77 70