When one of Mallorca’s most important architects, Antoni Esteva and his designer friend Jaume Danus purchased the island’s largest farm estate, at the heart of a sprawling natural park on the wild east coast, something truly unique was bound to emerge. Es Racó d'Artà is an art gallery that kindly invites you to stay, where the restored rustic buildings themselves look like something Richard Serra might build. But, there’s more to its watsu sessions, homegrown-wine tastings held in a converted cistern, and nature-made-fashion rooms. It’s the rare luxury of inner calm and peace of mind, provided by conscious hikes, morning meditations, medicinal workshops and simply existing in such a spectacular setting.
34, including 21 casitas and two casas, with two and three bedrooms.
12 noon, but flexible, on request and subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from £730.66 (€851), including tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional government tax of €2.20 per person per night on check-in.
Rates usually include a hearty Mediterranean breakfast, free access to the spa facilities (treatments are extra), daily guided meditation class and one-hour yoga class, changing daily workshops (beekeeping, art therapy, natural perfume-making and more).
Antoni Esteva’s children partook in the project too – son Tomeu designed the spa, incorporating Moorish elements inspired by Santuario de San Salvador which you can see from the rooftop, and fashion-designer daughter Rosa designed the staff uniforms and the hemp ponchos handed to guests in the spa post-treatment. The hotel does have a gallery feel and the owners have chosen pieces with an organic feel to display throughout: Hiroshi Kitamura’s trailing wooden vine, Jaume Roig’s stone beehives in the lobby, Laurent Martin Lo’s bamboo mobiles and tufted rattan hangings by Adriana Meunié. And, Esteva’s lent his own creative leanings too, providing textured sand and paint works for the walls. It’s no fluke, Esteva also owns a gallery in Artà called Sa Pleta Freda.
At the hotel
Spa with a sauna, steam room, watsu dome and gym; yoga shala; working farm, vineyard, orchards, kitchen gardens, apiary; art-filled lounges; dining terrace; laundry service. In rooms: 4K TV, minibar, free WiFi, air-conditioning, bathrobes and slippers.
Our favourite rooms
They may say the devil is in the details, but the elegant touches in Es Racó’s accommodation feel somewhat saintlier. A low-alert palette of creams, whispery grey, white and the biscuitty tone of xeixa-wheat husks will hush you like a nursery school teacher at naptime. But there’s plenty to rouse too: sculptural furnishings, many crafted by Antoni Esteva himself; wood beams that hark back to the building’s past, perforated stone lanterns to achieve the ideal ambience; hemp-rope curtains shielding beds and hemp netting swathing them. The casas and casitas are the more private of the residences, and the ones with their own pool and a stone bath tub are especially alluring – but keep in mind you’ll need to do a little nature walking to reach the main hotel from some which are set deep in the forest or on a more vertiginous plane. In the main finca, the Suite Terrace 360° lets you see the true size and scale of the retreat and the park beyond.
Both of the hotel’s infinity pools have been built to enhance the ‘submerged in nature’ feel. The spa’s pool pavilion has open ends that perfectly frame valley views – and it’s for adults only, so it’ll only be the sounds of the wild you hear. While the open-air pool has been sunk into the landscape, surrounded by leafy slopes and soundtracked by birdsong. And when you’re done frolicking like a nymph, you can lounge on the poured-concrete deck and relax to the rhythms of nature.
Built using stones leftover from the finca’s renovation, with a stepped roof shaggy with plantings, the spa is the only ‘new’ build on the estate, yet it matches the earthy aesthetic, with rugged walls and gnarled wood beams, alongside more polished corners. There’s a steam room and sauna, a yoga and meditation shala that was once the estate’s pig sty, and even a watsu dome for waterborne shiatsu sessions. And each of the five treatment rooms is as artfully minimalist as the rest of the stay’s public spaces. Wellness is infused into most areas of your stay, with most guests staying on multi-day retreats. You’ll wake to yoga and breathwork, take uplifting hikes and engage in workshops such as natural scents or working with medicinal plants, then wind down to guided meditation come evening. And staff are trained consultants who’ll plot out a feel-better course for you. A physiotherapist will set you straight, the nutritionist will plot out a diet for you, and a range of holistic rituals involve all-natural scrubs, massages and more.
Maybe not your typical Mallorcan must-have, but some wellies or hardy shoes may come in useful – after all, you are on a farm. And, overdo it with the stretchy bottoms, because contemplating life changes and contorting into enlightenment must be done in comfort.
One of the casitas is adapted for guests with mobility issues; however, the rugged terrain over the estate may be tricky to negotiate.
Fostering a sense of peace and inner tranquility may not come easy with kids, but the hotel can accommodate them in the two casas, Sa Finqueta and Sa Meva Casa.
All ages are welcome and toddlers, juniors and tweens will likely benefit the most from a stay here.
The Sa Meva and Sa Finqueta casas are the largest with two and three bedrooms, respectively. They each have a private pool and plenty of virgin terrain to run around on in complete privacy.
While there are no specific child-friendly activities, kids can partake in the hotel’s daily classes, making perfumes from plants and flowers they’ve collected, beekeeping, art classes, basket weaving and more, so they won’t be bored. And you can let them loose on the soft sands of Cala Torta close by.
Children aren’t allowed in the indoor spa pool, but they’re welcome in the main open-to-the-wild pool. Parents will need to watch little ones who still need water-wings.
There’s no specific menu, but some of the simpler Mediterranean dishes should be acceptable to tots.
Babysitting can be arranged on request for €40 an hour.
The hotel is set in the tumbling wilds of the Parc Natural de la Península de Llevant, so the owners had to adhere to strict nature-friendly building regulations. They lovingly restored the farm buildings and furnishings, and the spa – their only new build – has a green roof and is constructed using natural materials, such as wood and stone. Geothermal and solar power keeps the place toasty and the swimming pool is cleaned through ionisation. Food waste is composted and water waste is cleaned via a reed-bed system; cleaning products are Earth-kind and most bath products come in maize-fibre bottles. And the way the hotel operates is eco-friendly too, with food and drink largely supplied by the onsite organic farm, gardens and vineyard – including olive oil and honey from four million bees – plus they support local craftspeople and have a heavily holistic approach to stays for guests, with a drive to fully immerse them in traditional Mallorcan culture.
Commune with nature – and each other – with a table on the grassy terrace. Try to get one under the wisteria-hung pergola for added romance.
Pure and simple.
Nature’s larder is well and truly open to the hotel: biodynamic wines come from the vineyard; all manner of herbs, vegetables and fruits flourish in the gardens; a heritage xeixa-wheat field gives the place its daily bread (and other carby treats); and the olive groves keep the oil flowing. Anything else is sourced from carefully vetted providers. Meals at ‘gastronomic space’ Beni Axir are on the healthy side, but Mediterreanean-ly so, so even something as simple as grilled fish with slow-cooked pulses is reliably delicious. The menu changes with the whims of land and sea, but you might have red prawns with lemon and mint, lamb with smoky grilled vegetables and galettes heaped with cherries and marcona almonds. Want to know the trick to a satisfying Med diet? Book a cookery class with Gemma Bes – Tomeu Eseva’s wife (and nutritionist to locally raised tennis superstar Rafael Nadal).
Drinks can be served on the terrace or in the lounges, or you could arrange a home-grown wine tasting in the original cistern, now a cellar and small bar (with an original pulley and artworks).
Breakfast is from 8.30am to 11am, lunch from 1pm to 3pm and dinner from 7pm to 10pm, and if you get peckish, snacks are available in between.
Dine in room from 8.30am till 10pm and you can order dishes from Beni Axir’s menu.
Es Racó d'Artà is in Mallorca’s wild east, among the heaths, mountains and forests of the Parc Natural de la Península de Llevant, close to the town of Artà, just over an hour’s drive from Palma.
All arrivals to Mallorca pass through Palma International airport, where direct flights from major cities throughout Europe land; those travelling from further afield will need to stopover on mainland Spain. It’s about an hour’s drive from the hotel, which cuts across the country, so you’ll see terracotta hills, windmill-topped green stretches and some picturesque small towns along the way.
The hotel’s location is a place of rare and remote beauty so a car will definitely be of use, especially to visit the beach which is a 10-minute drive away. While you’re onsite, eco-friendly golf-carts are the preferred mode of transport. Stop in the carpark onsite and someone will come along to pick you up in one.
Ferries run from Barcelona to ports in both Alcúdia and Palma. The journey from the former is a touch closer, along a route with some coastal panoramas to boot.
Worth getting out of bed for
While generally hotels tend to be quite caring in a ‘let me take your bags’, ‘let me show you how the coffee-maker works’, ‘can I get you another bottle of white?’ kind of way, Es Racó d'Artà puts you through wellness paces that may well change your life. You start with a deep dive into what you want from your stay, whether it’s peace of mind, to shut off from the world, to be healthier and happier… then staff synthesise these lofty aims into days well spent. Days kick off with yoga and mindful movement classes and then you might be taken on a guided hike (or go it alone with the hotel’s recommendations) or partake in an out-of-the-ordinary workshop, say capturing scents in nature, taking an up-close look at the hotel’s bees, sessions in how to use medicinal plants and herbs, and stargazing. There’s plenty to spark creativity too, with locals roped in for art workshops, basket weaving with palm fronds, pot throwing, and even forging with the local blacksmith – and cooking classes, and tastings of produce from the site (wine, olive oil, honey) reach your heart through your stomach. Bikes can be hired on request for rocky rides through the forest or you can scour the estate sedately on horseback. Keep it on the DL, but the hotel also happens to be close to one of Mallorca’s best-kept-secret beaches, Cala Torta, and Cala Estreta, a teeny cove for kayaking. Ask the kitchen to pack you a picnic and make a day of it. Beyond the hotel, the Parc Natural de la Península de Llevant has green- and purple-furred heathland, pine forests and cliffs that cleave the Med. There are several resident critters to spot too. Artà town is small, but has a charming historic centre and a market each Tuesday where you can pick up handicrafts. Atmospheric caves and the remains of Bronze Age settlement Ses Païsses sit just outside too. If you want to learn how to swing (a racket, that is) like local hero Rafael Nadal, why not visit his academy to learn the finer points of tennis play. All that self-building and reflection can put your mind in a whirl, so each day ends with soothing meditation and breathwork sessions.
You are indeed deep in the wilds here, but this is Mallorca, an island that glitters with Michelin stars, so much so that there are two lauded restaurants within easy reach of Es Racó. At Smith stablemate Predi Son Jaumell, just a 10-minute drive away, chef Andreu Genestra plunders the land and sea to compile eight- and 12-course tasting menus that pay their dues to traditional Mallorcan cookery while giving it an update. And, a 15-minute drive away, there’s Voro, the baby of Andalusian chef Álvaro Salazar, whose duo of multi-course menus changes frequently but might include Mallorcan black-pork buns, orange gazpacho with Bouchot mussels, and almond panna cotta with cauliflower and caviar. Artà has a range of restaurants along main drag Carrer de Ciutat, but split off into the smaller streets to find the town’s best-loved, such as Sa Gripia (Carrer de la Rosa), whose courtyard is usually full of happily munching patrons tucking into generously filled bocadillos, chicken mille-feuille, and fall-apart fresh fish.
Artà has a smattering of laidback low-key bars to hop around; however, to get the party started, head to Cala Rajada (a 20-minute drive away), where Angels nightclub serves up cocktails and beats till 1am, and beachside Euforia offers a more chilled-out experience powered by sea views, strawberry mojitos and passionfruit daiquiris.
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 simply sophisticated hotel on an important swathe of protected parkland and unpacked their braided-palm-leaf baskets and wholly natural Gaia spa lotions, a full account of their peace-be-with-you break will manifest. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Es Racó d'Artà in Mallorca’s northeast corner…
We’ve decided where we’d like to be when the zombie apocalypse breaks out: Es Racó d'Artà has a working farm, vineyard, beehives, orchards and fruitful gardens that provide a steady source of ample and delicious ingredients (and wine); it’s set in the glorious confines of a natural park, on Mallorca’s largest farm estate, to ensure you’re safely tucked away, cocooned in nature; solar and geothermal power keep the lights on in eco-friendly style (among other look-after-the-land measures); and, it has a spa – perfect for working out that ‘my brain might be dinner’ stress. Perhaps this is what one of Mallorca’s most lauded architects, Antoni Esteva (who was given the honour of restoring painter Joan Miró’s house among other big-deal projects) and design-whizz pal Jaume Danus had in mind when they took on the project, bringing the farm buildings back to life and creating a space of deceptively simple luxury (think swaddle-me linens, handmade furnishings with modern silhouettes, bold minimal artworks placed with the subtle composition of a Giorgio Morandi still life), and the kind of hulking wood beams and rugged stone walls that feel like a sculpture themselves. The former cistern became a wine, olive oil and honey tasting room; a scenery-cradled pool was added; the pigsty became a yoga and meditation studio; and outlier casas and casitas were added for that extra shot of seclusion. Of course, you needn’t be on the run from the undead to appreciate it – things are really very sedate here, with mindful hiking, forest fragrance gathering, medicinal plant workshops and breathwork and movement classes. So, hunker down, stay quiet and fly under the radar: revivifying the alive is what Es Racó d’Artà does best.