It’s no secret that TLE loves Palma; and we’ve found another great place to stay – the chic and elegant Sant Francesc Hotel Singular. Read on to find out more…
My view from the smart rooftop pool terrace took me all the way from Mallorca’s Tramuntana Mountains, across Palma’s terracotta rooftops to the gothic cathedral and towards those famous Balearic beaches. Staying at the chic and elegant Sant Francesc Hotel Singular, a Small Luxury Hotel of the World property, affords guests this privileged perspective of the Mallorcan capital.
Found within a converted, 19th century Mallorcan mansion, this 42 room boutique design hotel is within the historic old town of Palma. Overlooking the quiet square of Sant Francesc, with the Sant Francesc Basilica and period houses as neighbours, this is not the scene one might expect from an island better known for its resorts, beaches and rural refuges.
Yet Sant Francesc Hotel Singular seems to have put chic back into old town, making Palma very much a destination for the style-conscious traveller. What’s more it’s walking distance to the city’s fab new museum, the iconic cathedral and the beaches.
Hotel airport transfer took me less than 20 minutes.
‘Less is more’ seems to the mantra in this posh 1880s manor house, now creatively reimagined as a luxe design hotel. Usually I am weary of the term design hotel, as all too often in reality it means tired and dated. Yet not here; at Sant Francesc Hotel Singular the aesthetic is muted; one that lets the curated collection of original paintings and photographic art be the protagonist. Interior designer Maria Jose Cabré has created uncluttered spaces – what there is, is notable. Original features such the classic courtyard windows the historic staircase and some exceptional ceiling frescoes have been restored. Where there were once stables there is now a tempting restaurant, ‘Quadrat’ by Simon Petutsching.
Check-in & Welcome
I arrived at the end of the day, and walking into the lobby reception I found it sensuously lit with low lights, together with candles flickering in the unused fireplace and in lanterns on the floor; the air was scented, the mood peaceful.
My only comment on the check-in would be that the vast flat screens of the PCs created a barrier between the guest and the team. The next day when asking for directions I noticed the screens could be tilted flat, like a tablet to show google maps and online content; a cool feature, but it would be great if the screens were positioned lower or at an angle, helping to create a better initial rapport with the guest.
At check-in I was shown to the lobby bar, the other side of the classic internal courtyard patio. There I was offered a welcome tea called ‘inner peace’, tastefully presented in a contemporary Asian ceramic cup. The bar is cool, smart and stylish, perfectly integrated within its historic setting of sandstone arches and timber ceiling. This is the place to order the hotel’s signature ‘Agua Bendita’ gin cocktail, flavoured with lavender.
I had arrived late, missing the dinner service yet the hotel had thoughtfully prepared a gourmet cheese and ‘jamón’ tray (a selection of local cheeses, with Spanish ham, nuts, dried fruit and Catalan bread with tomato) which was left in my room. It was just the perfect evening light meal, especially when accompanied by the tasty rioja from the mini bar.
I visited the Sant Francesc Hotel Singular just weeks after it opened, earlier this year. Yet my junior suite was immaculately presented, as if fine-tuned over months or years. My initial impression was of quality. The materials in the construction of the room were excellent, and its design was imaginative and creative, working with the original house. Fresh flowers and fine art and photography made the room feel special.
Tall French windows opened out onto a private portion of the terrace that ran around the internal courtyard patio. Beautiful details were everywhere, from the exquisite designer curtain tie-backs, to the exceptional inlaid, local ‘santiny’ marble floor, the subtle green of which was perfectly picked out in a cotton band on the hotel slippers.
On the bed lay five ears of wheat carefully wrapped with ribbon and placed on the bed as a traditional Mallorcan welcome. The linens were crisp and smooth with luxurious embroidered edges.
The dressing room had a full mini bar with Nespresso machine, welcome macarons as well as a good-sized safe.
The bathroom was just wonderful – sliding fabric covered doors opened to reveal a contemporary soft-lined bathtub, a separate W.C. and separate walk-in shower. Heaven toiletry amenities by James Heeley brought fragrances of fig ad cedar. Towels were extravagantly thick and fluffy (although there was no towel rail to hang them on after use – just the handles on the loo and shower doors).
Lighting was good throughout the space including a night light feature. My suggestion would be to include a secondary door within the vestibule entrance to block out the noise of the lift and other guests in the corridor.
There is a turndown service.
The next day I got to have a sneak peak of some of the other rooms – each is different, reflecting its position within the house – some larger with higher loft-style or classic period ceilings. For something really special, book the Suite de Torre – a suite with its own tower and private roof terrace; or try for the Suite Sant Francesc with its extraordinary frescoes ceiling.
Breakfast & Dinner
Served in the Quadrat Restaurant or the garden, dinner guests are in for a treat. Simon Andreas Petutsching, the executive chef is surprisingly humble in person yet his food is confident and memorable. Dinner on my second night was superb. Clearly the menu shows a Mediterranean influence, but reflecting Simon’s international experience, there are little surprises along the way, taking you to Asia and beyond. Also, expect nightly specials that showcase his kitchen’s skill at different styles and cuisines.
I enjoyed breakfast in the garden – the buffet is presented with refinement and elegance and there are a range of hot dishes to order. I asked for some fresh fruit, and a plate was served that showed real attention to detail, with the fruit carefully prepared, cut and arranged, dressed with a perfectly formed sprig of fresh mint. Local honey and estate olive oil on the table highlight that many of the ingredients are local.
The Rest of the Hotel
There is a modest exercise room but really, if you want to exercise in style take a dip in the rooftop pool. The bar terrace is sophisticated and understated with a decent sized pool – and yes, it has those fabulous views.
Rooms start at around £135 pounds in low season including breakfast.
Address: 07001 Palma Majorca, Balearic Islands
Review carried out by Andrew Forbes