In Palma’s historic La Lonja quarter, restored mansion Can Bordoy is a triumph of decadent design. Standing for centuries, this noble house and nunnery has been artfully refurbished to marry house and garden in inspired style. On the inside, original features were either restored or recreated by local design studio Ohlab, then paired with art deco and mid-century designs – the Thirties-style headboards and custom-made drinks cabinets are a particular feast for the eye. Outside, the centrepiece courtyard garden and pool is a sanctuary in the heart of the city, screened by fruit-laden orange trees and perfumed by shrubs and flowers. Unwilling to be tamed, the greenery has also crept inside, inspiring the organic menu at restaurant Botànic and running wild in the fairytale lounges, where the ceilings are crossed with creepers and ferns.
Get this when you book through us:
A cocktail each and a gift in the room; for stays of four nights or more, each guest gets a 35-minute back, neck and shoulder massage
Each suite was lavished with attention, ensuring the furnishings highlight the character and quirks of the historic rooms. Some have floor-to-ceiling windows that open onto the courtyard, others have wooden beam ceilings or restored cornicing. If we had to pick, we’d go for one of the impressive Premium Suites. In each, the art deco-style bed can be encircled with a thick velvet curtain, separating the bedroom from an inch-perfect living area and freestanding oval bath tub.
The long, slim pool is in the gardens, and is unusually large for a house in the centre of Palma. There’s a whirlpool off to the the side and sunloungers arranged along a sun deck, some of them shaded by low-hanging branches from the garden’s many trees. The pool water is treated with salt electrolysis, a bit of chemical wizardry that means no extra chlorine needs to be added to the water.
The hotel’s subterranean spa has two treatment cabins, a steam bath, a plunge pool with whirlpool jets and a horizontal shower, in which you lie on a smooth stone surface as water showers down from multiple jets. A range of massages and cosmetic treatments are on offer, the latter using products by luxury skincare brand Swiss Perfection.
Bring a romantic, fairytale-esque novel to read in the gardens.
All of the public areas – including the rooftop terrace – are wheelchair accessible, and all of the ground floor rooms have specially-adapted bathrooms.
Dogs up to 30kg can stay for €150 a night, which bags them a stay that’s almost as luxurious as yours. The rate includes a daily walk, a deluxe bed, food, a hairdressing appointment, goodnight treat and a contribution to an animal charity. See more pet-friendly hotels in Palma.
All ages are welcome, but the ambience makes it best suited to adults. Babysitting can be arranged from €30 an hour; a day’s notice is needed when booking.
Very – the hotel has a no-plastic policy, is powered by renewable energy, uses eco-friendly cleaning products and even had eco-friendly tissues made. All the hotel’s green credentials can be found on your in-room tablet.
You can’t beat a table on the terrace, which is in a separate area of the gardens.
Let your imagination run as wild as the greenery snaking across the ceiling.
Restaurant Botànic is inspired by the hotel’s verdant garden, which chef Andres Benitez pays tribute to with his preference for organic produce, much of it sourced from local farms. You can sample his creative take on Mallorcan cuisine in three locations – on a terrace in the garden, in the cosy, book-lined library or in the jumanji room, where the ceiling is overrun with creepers and ferns.
The bar is part of Botànic, and serves herbal cocktails, fine Spanish wines and a range of bite-size snacks adapted from the restaurant menu.
The restaurant opens for breakfast at 8am and stays open until 11pm. The bar is open from 8am to midnight.
Can Bordoy is tucked down a quiet backstreet in the heart of Palma’s old quarter.
Palma de Mallorca Airport is a 15-minute drive away. The hotel can organise transfers in a Mercedes S-Class or Range Rover for €65 each way (€110 return).
You’re unlikely to need your own car if you plan on staying in town, but having one would make trips to other coastal towns a breeze.
Worth getting out of bed for
The hotel’s shaded gardens are uncommonly large for a Palma townhouse and are as much of a triumph as any of the rooms. With trees screening the surrounding buildings from view, the pool area feels like a wild sanctuary from the outside world. You couldn’t ask for a better place to sip cocktails or sample organic tapas from Botànic restaurant, itself inspired by the fragrant greenery. In the evening, climb to the roof terrace for panoramic views of the city at sundown, then descend to the spa next morning for a restorative massage or Swiss-inspired facial. Housed in a 14th-century fort overlooking the bay, Es Baluard is home to the city’s largest modern and contemporary art collection, including many works by Balearic artists. The exhibitions include paintings, sculptures and ceramics dating from the late 19th century to present day, and works by Picasso, Giacometti and Gauguin. If you find the walk between the rooms works up an appetite, try the Mercat de l'Olivar, a sprawling indoor market with stalls selling everything from Iberian cold cuts to vegan cereal bars. If you're more hungry for history, go for a wander around the Arab Quarter, where you’ll come face to face with Moorish relics like the Almudaina Palace and the Arab baths. If you’ve got time to go further afield, consider chartering a boat at the harbour and sailing to one of the island’s remoter coasts, or hop on the wood-panelled train to Sóller, which takes a spectacular route through the Sierra de Alfabia mountains. First timers shouldn’t miss the Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma (also known as Le Seu), one of the highest Gothic cathedrals in Europe. Begun in the 13th century and modified by Antoni Gaudí in the 20th, this honey-coloured edifice has long been an emblem of the city, visible to anyone who arrived by sea.
For brunch, try hip coffee shop La Molienda, where the most of the food is made with produce that’s organic and locally sourced. The coffee’s just as good – the beans come from small roasters within Spain, who buy direct from some of the best coffee regions in the world. Buscando el Norte is perfect for a laid-back lunch of tapas and raciones (slightly larger small plates like cod fritters, tuna tartare or a portion of Ibérico ham). The wine list is full of enticing Spanish bottles, most of them under €30. For dinner, try La Rosa Vermutería & Colmado, a stylish eatery with a retro-industrial aesthetic. You can’t book and there’s often a queue to get in, but the quality of the dishes and lively atmosphere make any waiting worthwhile. Cap your meal with a round of vermouth cocktails – the restaurant’s speciality. For a final-night blowout, book a table at Marc Fosh, the Michelin-starred chef’s Palma flagship in fellow Smith stay Convent de la Missió. The dining room is modern and minimalist, but is actually fashioned out of the remains of a 17th-century convent. Go for the signature ‘menu Marc’, a tasting menu that’s market led and Mediterranean in lean. Booking is essential.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this urban oasis in Palma and unpacked their copy of Grimm's Fairy Tales, a full account of their city break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Can Bordoy in Mallorca…
Dating back to mediaeval times, Palma’s old quarter is a beguiling place. Aside from the soaring arches of Le Seu, there are the winding streets of the Arab and Jewish quarters, a glut of historic monuments and even the occasional burst of modernista, the Catalan style of art nouveau. Tucked down a quiet side street a stone’s throw from the harbour, Can Bordoy is right in the middle of it all – and it couldn’t be more in tune with its illustrious surroundings. Decorative ceilings, gothic relics and baroque mirrors deliver old-world decadence in spades; bespoke art deco beds and mid-century lounge chairs add a modern edge. No detail was overlooked – right down to the light switches and golden toilet flushes, which were custom made. What’s most beguiling, however, is that the design scheme embraces imperfection – each room’s minor flaws and quirks aren’t glossed over, they’re celebrated for the story they tell. Then there’s the garden, which is the largest of any private building in the old quarter. Centred around a 16m pool, it’s an urban oasis of lush green and birdsong – a romantic escape that’s the perfect counterpart to the dense, winding streets just over the walls.
Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel or villa, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Can Bordoy’s Guestbook below.
This is a lovely hotel in the old part of Palma, not far from the Cathedral. Pedestrianised area so no traffic noise. Gorgeous bedrooms with high class fittings. Lovely breakfasts made from scratch with lots of healthy options. Wonderful, helpful staff (better looking and better dressed than some of the guests!) Highly recommended for a long weekend - we'll certainly go back.
Stayed on 18 Apr 2019
We loved that all of the staff genuinely couldn't do enough for us. Klementyna, the lady of the house, contacted us well in advance and arranged transfers, all of our dinner reservations in and out of the hotel as well as sourcing a local weightlifting gym for essential training! The somellier was a delight and great stories! The tasting menu was delicious. The Suite was just fantastic with a funky radio/bar, comfortable surroundings, an absolutely awesome bath that you could (potentially) fit three people in and a beautiful bed that could adjust on each side! Breakfast in the room was expertly done and at no extra cost. They even arranged a late check out for us as our flight was not until the late evening, allowing us a whole afternoon enjoying the facilities with an early dinner before leaving. We scored it in our top 2 hotels of all time alongside the Blue House on Lake Annecy. Primarily because every single staff member went out of the way to make it as perfect as it was.