Stylist’s Meena Alexander had Majorca pinned firmly to the party island board, but one restorative weekend in Palma’s old town has changed all that.
I still think about the bed. The never-ending mattress crowned by a green velvet and walnut headboard. The heavy, silky duvet you could get lost in. Switches that control everything from mattress firmness to mood lighting. It’s the stuff of dreams.
I have to confess, I was nursing a slight birthday hangover when I spent my first night at Palma’s Can Bordoy hotel. But when I awoke and my suite’s two-storey curtains parted, the Majorcan sun streamed in and I felt like a woman reborn. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d slept so long or so well.
A grand 16th-century house that once belonged to Spanish aristocrats, Can Bordoy is genuinely breathtaking.
Passing through a photogenic courtyard – every hanging vine, swiss cheese plant and Scandi armchair ready for its close-up – I went up to my room via a stone staircase dappled with an almost ethereal light. I looked up to see two people kicking around in a glass-bottomed rooftop pool above me. I decided this was my kind of place.
The hotel is a feat of design: chic, modern accents meld seamlessly with traditional Balearic architecture. It has five stars, but perfection is not the aim of the game: husband-and-wife architects Ohlab were intent on maintaining the ancient building’s authenticity during its restoration, so much so that they could be seen chipping bits out of new walls to help them blend with the old stone – much to the horror of the local builders.
Plastic-free and powered by renewable energy, the suites are eco-friendly without skimping on decadence. Mine boasted a spiral staircase and mezzanine with wrought iron railings, where my glorious bed stood next to a huge round bathtub.
An interiors dreamland, the most intriguing piece of furniture was a fridge masquerading as a jukebox: it plays smooth jazz while you decide between Japanese whiskey or chilled champagne.
It would be easy to spend a whole weekend within Can Bordoy’s welcoming walls; hours pass like minutes in the shady garden with its pool and jacuzzi, and inhouse restaurant Botanic serves up all the fresh seafood and Majorcan wine your heart could desire.
But with Palma’s historic La Lonja district and the Mediterranean Sea right on the doorstep, you’d be silly to spend too much time lounging around.
Palma wasn’t really on my radar as a good place for a restorative, grown-up getaway – I had Majorca firmly pinned to the party island board – but as we explored the narrow, balconied streets of the old quarter I realised I hadn’t a clue.
Packed with shadowy wine bars, vermuterias lined with vermouth and cosy cellar restaurants (one of the best is Provenzal, where sticky black paella is served with generous jugs of sangria), it’s also a stone’s throw from the impressive Santa Maria cathedral and 13th-century La Almudaina palace.
There is plenty to see, but the horizontal life is never too far away. Can Pere Antoni, a white sandy stretch just outside the city, is within walking distance, although a spare sun lounger is a rarity in summer.
Follow the coastal path for an extra mile and you’ll hit the fishing village of Portixol, where a more lowkey beach is lined with cafes and bars. Save yourself for the walk back though – a spritz at harbourside bar Can Blanc among the bejewelled yacht-owners is the ideal Palma sundowner.
Aperol drained, it wasn’t long before I found myself heading back to my palatial bed like a homing pigeon.
As I walked up to my suite, I spotted a nook in the hotel offering specialist teas, pillow mists and reading materials for guests struggling to sleep. What a lovely idea, I thought, making a mental note for future reference. Ten minutes later I was back in my room and out for the count.
Rooms at Can Bordoy Grand House & Garden start at £480; canbordoy.com
Images: Jose Hevia/courtesy of Can Bordoy Grand House & Garden