My recent trip to Mallorca has furnished us with plenty of Luxury Editor travel intelligence on this exclusive island. Here I’m going to spill the beans on the latest upscale hotel project in Palma, The Can Bordoy Grand House & Garden, writes Andrew Forbes.
(View of Can Bordoy’s ‘secret garden’ – May 2018)
At the time of writing, communication has been reserved about this new boutique hotel. There’s a teaser website, with a few CGI rendered images, and a promise that the property will open this year – but not much more in terms of information. Ask others in the press, travel or hospitality sectors what they know, and it seems very little more.
It was originally slated to open its doors this summer, but our insider suggests it will have a soft opening in the autumn of 2018, probably in November, with a launch party on New Year’s Eve 2018.
Below is the entrance, as I photographed in May 2018 – it’s a work in progress, but is set to look outstanding.
I took a ‘hard hat’ tour of the site in May and this is what I can tell you.
Firstly, the property is in the glorious old town of Mallorca’s capital, Palma. From the street, it’s an imposing, honey-coloured stone historic building. I believe it’s a mixture of buildings, including a classic palatial mansion house and even a convent building. The ground floor has the main entrance on the street that opens into the courtyard. Parts of the house date back to medieval times. The first floor has small, elegant balconies, and the top, 4th floor, has a classic Mallorcan gothic gallery with smaller windows set back between columns. The picture below was taken in May when I visited.
Search on google, and you can see the approximate location, on ‘Carre del Forn de la Gloria’, a narrow lane, a few streets back from the beautiful historic Lonja market of Palma. It’s a very narrow, quiet street, with historic buildings on both sides. The construction is visible from the lane, and from the outside you can have a peek into the mansion’s courtyard; but only authorised visitors can go further, inside.
One can see the large green space on the satellite image – this is the property’s garden.
That’s one of the greatest assets of this soon-to-be ultra-luxury hotel; a large city-centre garden with established trees, that runs adjacent to another garden, giving an extraordinary feeling of space and light to the property. It is said to be about 750 square metres.
When I visited the jacaranda trees were flowering – their extravagant blue flowers contrasting with the ‘organised chaos’ of the construction below. There are olive and fruit trees, too, and the developers promise a garden with some 70 species of plant.
The elegant and well-proportioned swimming pool is already in place, and the buildings were working on the hot tubs when I was there. Behind the walled garden is another property, which also has a garden, so the textures of nature continue to extend in the distance. I can imagine that this space will be magical when complete.
Bar & Restaurant
There will be a restaurant and bar on the ground floor, opening to part of the garden terrace. The intention is to attract locals to eat and drink here to add a more lively atmosphere to this part of the property.
Progress To Date
At the time of my visit in May 2018, the major construction is completed, with all floors and ceilings in place. It’s obvious that many months of work remain before this hotel will open its doors. Although the property still very much looks and feels like a building site, it is now at the stage of installation of new windows and doors, rough electrical and rough plumbing. Floors are still raw concrete, and one needs some imagination to visualise how the property will look when finished, although there is one suite completed showing the proposed style of Can Bordoy.
Photo below shows the facade as in May 2018, looking up to the gallery top floor.
I’m told the property had the potential capaity for up to 40 guest rooms, but this private project has decided to make just 24 suites, with the focus of creating totally unique spaces.
The best suites over look the garden and are certainly set to be spectacular rooms. Double height ceilings, with windows that open to Juliet balconies overlooking the garden and the rooftops of old town beyond.
The front portion of the house retains wonderful painted ceilings and unique frescoes, as well as the original doors, and windows with shutters overlooking the main street. The back of the property has been almost completely gutted, so only the main structural walls remain, together with some original iron work. Thankfully some old beams are also retained. Clearly the developers are restoring as much of the valuable heritage as possible to retain the character of this extraordinary house.
Sadly, I was not permitted to take photos of the project under construction.
Even though many elements in the house will be new, or reproduction, the character of the old house, and the notion of ‘faded glory’ is being recreated through clever interior design. The objective is to present the house as conserved – frozen in time, although in truth the plastered walls, floors and most ceilings will be new.
The huge suites will be open plan; with extravagant, heavy velvet curtains used as flexible ways to divide up the space, depending on whether you are sleeping, or relaxing enjoying the view, or taking a bath.
The walls are being rough plastered, in a sort of Japanese arakabe style; so, it has the character one expects of an old house. It’s also a wonderful texture to offset the bespoke cabinets and furniture and fine fabrics. In the show suite one can see that the furniture like the king size bed (which by the way offers guests control over the firmness, so one can change pressure of the mattress) and the bespoke mini bar and desk are created in a retro, vintage, almost timeless style that gives the impression that one is staying in a chic, family mansion in a bygone age.
Even down to the details such as light switches, sockets and networking, the objective is to recreate vintage style.
The ceilings although new, are painstaking replicas of the originals, complete with characterful cracks and imperfections – it’s going to have a very romantic (and probably, very theatrical feel).
Yet technology and luxury are there too with networking etc all in place.
Also, bespoke, contemporary bathroom design is evident with the angular architecture of the showers and the square washbasins; contrasting with the unique circular baths that will be in each suite.
By virtue of the historic nature of this complex property, each room will be different, reflecting its position in the house. Some will feel grand; others more intimate and romantic, like those at the top of the house.
Roof Terrace Pool & Basement Spa
The roof terrace will have a suspended glass swimming pool that sits at the top of the internal patio courtyard of the house, so diffused light can still fill the space below.
From the terrace one can look out across the garden, the rooftops to the rose window of Palma’s Gothic cathedral. You can also catch glimpses of the Mediterranean and the port.
The spa is in on the lower ground floor of this Mallorca mansion; a purpose-built wellness area with a surprising amount of space. Access or at least windows are promised onto the garden, to draw in the notion of nature, healing and wellness.
The property is being developed with private investment, but at the time of my visit it was set to be managed by Puro Group, the people behind the famous beach clubs and the nearby boutique hotel in Palma’s old town. This is an interesting project for them. Probably a challenge. Their heritage is providing cool, stylish environments – but they are not really in the ultra-luxury sector. This new project is being positioned at the high end; there will be no margin for error when attracting high net worth guests. Gastronomy, service and property maintenance will have to be flawless; a challenge I hope that Puro Group will embrace with great success.
OCTOBER 2018 UPDATE: It has now been confirmed by Giovanni Battista Merello (MD of Can Bordoy) that Puro Group is no longer managing the project. In my opinion that is good news. I personally find the Puro Beach Clubs and Puro Hotel to be somewhat poorly maintained, with a lack of attention to detail – that won’t work in a property in the ultra luxury sector.
Well, this property will be transformed once the finishing touches can be added. The decoration, the lighting, the artwork, and the accessories like books in the library will truly put the life back into this historic building.
My visit inspired me – it’s going to be glorious. But, for 1,400 euro a night for a suite, well, one would expect nothing less.