Son Brull, an exclusive 5-star boutique property, is where a less-is-more urban aesthetic has successfully transformed an imposing historic building into a welcoming stylish and design-orientated Mallorca hotel, writes Andrew Forbes.
Found in the chic Pollença region, in the north of Mallorca, the hotel is close to some beautiful beaches and bays. In fact, if like me you were a fan of the TV adaptation of John le Carré’s ‘The Night Manager’, well you’ll recognise the stunning scenery. I really enjoyed the drive north from Palma, the warm autumn sunshine afforded me the luxury of putting the roof down on my Mini Cabriolet rent-a-car (which by the way, was personally delivered to me earlier by Transfer Rent, very impressive service).
The Son Brull building dates to the 12th century and makes quite an impact as you drive up; the architecture of the house is robust, almost severe, as one might expect for a former monastery. Yet once you catch sight of the manicured lawn, the long shadows cast by the the ancient, majestic palms, and terracotta pots filled with the warm colours of flowering Mediterranean and subtropical plants – well that´s when you feel you’ve reached a rural idyll.
Within moments someone from front desk swings open the designer, over-sized glass pivoting door and one is welcomed into a chic, Mediterranean retreat that conveys tranquillity and warmth.
The lobby lounge has a contemporary ambiance with white angular sofas, modern art, and a linear gas fireplace.
Yet the most striking feature is the original staircase, that runs through the heart of the hotel.
This special place is one of the few remaining 5 star properties on Mallorca that is still family owned and run. Mar Suau and her brothers Alejandro and Miguel are now at the helm, each dedicated to a different part of the business, ensuring a professional and authentic Mallorca experience.
Mar tells me that the staircase was purposely built wide and robust, as pilgrims and passing travellers who sought shelter at the monastery would often take their horses up to their room with them!
I opted for the 21st century shiny aluminium elevator that opens onto the stylish landing corridors, where black walls and carpet are punctuated by pools of light from the designer lighting. Windows look down onto the charming internal cobbled courtyard patio with its water featured and plants.
Less is more in this über-chic property. I’m sure that there could well have been a temptation when renovating this stunning former monastery to embrace old-world clutter, antiques and heavy fabrics. Yet instead it’s a place of zen-like simplicity and calm.
We’re in the sun-kissed Mediterranean; the Balearics islands no less, yet the style is more Nordic – cool and serene; and it works. After all it was a monastery, a place of humility and peace.
Whether you choose a Superior; a Deluxe; or one of the Suites, expect the same attention to detail in presentation. I appreciated the fresh cut flowers and seasonal fruit on the table, and of course, the cava already on ice!
The traditional Mallorca ‘pagés’ sun hats are a lovely gift. Also, handmade in Capdepera, is the woven ‘senalla’ basket where you’ll find beach/pool towels.
The robust, simply rendered, more than half-metre thick walls, and modest windows of the original building perfectly complement a room aesthetic that celebrates design over unnecessary decoration.
Rooms feel specious, and are light-filled. Designer chairs and lamps create a stylish ambiance. The furnishings, together with the mood lighting and B&O system is carefully designed to create a comfortable look and feel. Don’t expect the typical extravagant period décor of a classic Relais & Chateaux hotel – here things are pared back.
There’s free internet, which is useful as here, in the foothills of the Tramuntana mountains, mobile phone coverage is weaker.
Art books and high-end publications add an exclusive, sophisticated touch. But it’s not all high-brow; turndown includes a fun candy, and card – a gesture that shows things aren’t taken so seriously here after all.
Although I wasn’t staying in a suite, the bathroom was still a good size, with tub and shower – and thanks to a skylight had the luxury of natural light. The B&O speaker means you can wake up to your favourite tunes. The fresh lily in a tall vase, the bespoke orange blossom amenities and generous selection of grooming items reflect the hotel’s attention to detail.
Start the evening in the hotel’s Ubar – set within the original olive mill, said to be one of the biggest on the island. This extraordinary historical space was only recently rediscovered when the property was restored, since earth slides and debris had hid several secrets of this fascinating building including the olive mill and a secret flour mill used by the monks during the period of rationing on the island.
The conserved mill machinery makes for a dramatic backdrop to the cocktail bar. I took dinner on the terrace, eating from the bar’s tapas menu; enjoying some local cheeses, Pollensa lamb, and a few exotic bites, like the small Tataki-style white tuna.
The hotel, in line with a Relais & Chateaux property, as a formal restaurant, 3/65 by chef Rafel Perello.
The restaurant also offers a smaller lunch menu – I tried the exceptional duck cannelloni with black chanterelle mushrooms as a starter, and the white tuna as the main dish…
It’s a gourmet experience in a relaxed setting.
Breakfast is a buffet affair, but a very elegant one, with a tempting choice of local and international produce, as well as fresh juices and hot plates such as Eggs Benedict to order.
In addition to the large outdoor pool, there is also a heated pool in the spa that flows from the inside out into the gardens. There’s a gym too, with garden views and hiking on the doorstep exploring the craggy ‘Puie de Maria’ hillside behind the property.
Crta. Palma- Pollença
PM 220, Km 49,9
Pollença – Mallorca – Spain
Tel: +34 971 53 53 53