Tucked among the meandering mediaeval lanes of Ciutadella old town, Menorcan hideaway Faustino Gran sits behind high whitewashed walls splashed with hot-pink bougainvillea. A tall arched doorway bids you inside this secluded sanctum, where hidden gardens brim with native flora and ancient stone carvings sit alongside vintage leather and plush velvet seating. Service, too, is silky and seamless. But the hotel’s more than just this enchanting 16th-century palace – it connects you with a cluster of locales and experiences that include two other historic mansions, a rural country club, and a trio of boats for coastal exploration. You may be nestled deep in the city here, but you’ll have the whole island at your fingertips.
11am, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from £185.59 (€214), including tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €4.40 per room per night prior to arrival.
Rates include a continental breakfast with a buffet set up in the main courtyard – weather permitting.
Such is their dedication to top-level service, the hotel has two concierges who belong to the elite hospitality association Les Clefs d'Or.
Faustino Gran is generally closed between November and March.
At the hotel
Country club, free WiFi, fitness centre, concierge, boats for hire, bicycle rental. In rooms: TV, Hermès products, bathrobes, air-conditioning.
Our favourite rooms
We generally preferred the rooms at the Cal Bisbe and Can Llorenç annexe buildings (50 metres from Can Faustino) with their lighter, more island-feel interiors. It’s also worth the extra outlay for a room-with-a-view, which can include the port, the cathedral or over Ciutadella old town.
Three pools are spread between the country club, main building and two nearby annexes. They are generally open from 10.30am to 7.30pm, and have cushioned poolside loungers and cocktails ferried back and forth.
An ancient grotto has been repurposed as a subterranean spa, where exposed rock segues into calmly flowing forms. There’s a natural stone pool in here as well as sauna and steam rooms, and massage treatments range from the botanicals-based to exfoliating Anakasumi sessions.
Some of the island’s most picturesque unspoilt coves require a bit of a hike, so pack more than your flip-flops for more adventurous beach days.
If you’re planning a day on the boat or the beach, the hotel can fix you up with a picnic basket filled with locally produced goodies.
Several room types can add little Smiths from four years and up for an extra cost. The restaurant offers a children’s menu of your usual kid-friendly fare. Baby cots are available free of charge.
We particularly love the tables that sit under the garden’s stone columned portico with a long cushioned banquette and straw-weave hanging lampshades.
For those balmy Balearic evenings, you’ll want something floaty – but fabulous.
There’s more than a touch of magic at the hotel’s Restaurante Faustino, especially come evening when lights cast the gardens in a golden glow and the tinkling grand piano drifts through the air. Chef Matias Salvia conjures up a balanced menu of Mediterranean fine dining with touches of French and South American influences. Ingredients are drawn almost exclusively from island produce, with much plucked from the hotel’s own huerta. A long wine list offers an impressive choice of Menorcan and Mallorcan labels, and a pared-down lunch menu is served in the garden or poolside.
Part of the open-plan lobby area, the hotel’s elegant old-school bar offers an excellent choice of local wines, craft beers, and perfectly mixed G&Ts and zingy pomadas made with the island's very own gin.
You can order up an à la carte breakfast, as well as choose from a menu of snacks and light meals during kitchen-opening hours.
Faustino Gran is located in the central old town neighbourhood in Ciutadella, Menorca’s other port city (after capital Mahón), set on the far west coast of the island.
The island’s only airport is just outside Mahón, 47km away or 45-60 minutes by road. The hotel can arrange transfers for €150 one way.
Hiring a car is by far the easiest way to explore Menorca, with the airport the best place to pick up your wheels. You’ll also find private parking a five-minute walk from the hotel (a valuable commodity in old town Ciutadella).
If you’re Balearic island-hopping, ferries regularly connect from Mallorca directly to Ciutadella and Mahón.
Worth getting out of bed for
As the island's former ancient capital, Ciutadella is a city saturated with a sense of history – and a fabulously picturesque place to lose yourself among its winding narrow streets. However, do seek out highlights such as the pretty 14th-century cathedral, the quaintly tiled municipal market and scenic harbour. The hotel can arrange a city guide if you want to delve deeper.
You can easily escape the city, too, with 15-minute transfers to the hotel’s country club. As well as its own pool and sun terraces, this luxury pine-surrounded outpost is a great base for exploring the scenic northern coast – on horseback if you’re that way inclined. The cove of Ses Fontanelles is a pleasant stroll away, or you can just jump in the hotel’s vintage ‘79 Land Rover. Menorca is also scattered with hundreds of Stonehenge-like Talayotic ruins to visit – so many, in fact, that you’ll stumble across one eventually.
Menorca has carved out quite the reputation for excellent food in recent years, and a fine example can be found at Cafè Balear. This harbourside restaurant has been in business since the Seventies, and you won’t find a better caldereta de langosta, the island’s signature lobster stew. Set just on the edge of the old town, Smoix represents the city’s more contemporary dining scene. The menu offers a modern take on traditional Menorcan cooking set in a low-lit industrial-chic setting.
Brunchy joint Nibs Healthy Bar offers a friendly hipster-tinged experience with a focus on barista-brewed coffees and colourful vegan-friendly goodies. For a more traditional taste of the island, family-run S'Àvia Rita bakes its own ensaïmada pastries and artisan bread with organic flour.
Ciutadella is certainly not the place for wild wee-hours shenanigans, but there are a couple nightspots good for an after-dinner tipple. Opened in 2022, Lolo’s belongs to the same group as Faustino Gran and has quickly established itself as one of the city’s top places for nightly cocktails, live music, and dancing. Quirky exotic-themed decor sets the mood at Cafè des Museu, together with a long list of top-notch cocktails that includes a perennial favourite: the Flaming Zombie.
Having lived in Barcelona the past few years and luckily spent time on all four of the Balearic islands, I always had a hunch Menorca was my favourite.
Relatively undeveloped compared to its neighbours, the small island – half the size of the Isle of Wight – is a Unesco biosphere reserve with what feels like endless picturesque beaches, the most turquoise water in the Med and no huge high-rise concrete in sight.
It’s a well known tale that Spain’s dictator Franco took a dislike to the island and denied it funds for tourist development and what the island missed out on then, it's benefiting from now. There’s something very quietly elegant about Menorca – no doubt what keeps bringing back the many French holidaymakers, their chatter backgrounding this trip.
There are two main towns at either end of the island, Mahon and Ciutadella, both historic and charming ports in their own right but the latter was the location for this stay – and we fell hard for it.
Luckily, Faustino Gran is located right in the centre. Not that it feels like it once you step through the gate. Made up of four former palaces, the main building is hidden by a small door and opens up to a white rose- and jasmine-lined patio where the hotel’s restaurant main reception, bar, first swimming pool and spa are located. It’s the heart of the hotel.
Our room was located in the second building, a two-minute walk through one of the lovely narrow streets of Citadella. It had lovely original details like wooden beams, high ceilings, a juliet balcony and traditional wooden shutters that kept the room pitch black and silent.
The design was in line with the hotel as whole: minimal whitewashed walls, light wood furniture and raffia lamp shades placed like large sun hats. The spacious marble bathroom came with a large freestanding tub and double sinks. Details like the symmetrically hidden loo and shower, Hermès beauty products and chic flip-flops didn't go unnoticed.
Downstairs, this building also has its own pool which was probably our favourite of the two. The courtyard space had views of the cathedral, trailing bougainvillaea and a jungle of plants that created a haven we managed to while away a good amount of time in. Although there isn’t a restaurant and bar in this building, staff serve the same pool menu and drinks that are available down the road.
I was in Menorca with one of my oldest friends to cram in some quality time before she has her first baby. Naturally, we took a very chilled approach to our stay. This meant lots of time horizontal at the pool but having the town right there was also very handy.
This makes it ideal if you want a car-free break like us, or simply appreciate the freedom of wandering into town for dinner, a spot of shopping or perhaps another ice cream. If you do, don’t miss Nonna Bazaar, Café Central and DelaCrem.
Faustino Gran is also a great base for exploring Menorca as a whole and some of the best beaches like Cala en Turqueta and Cala Mitjaneta are really close by. We ventured out of Citadella one day to the hotel’s beach house, Casa de Pau.
A short 20 minute drive (or taxi for us), visiting feels like a trip to a wealthy friend’s holiday home and they keep this atmosphere by limiting guest numbers. In a rural location, the house has a large swimming pool, pretty gardens and an array of sunbathing areas.
We lay by the pool (a running theme here) before tucking into the picnic lunch menu. Dishes are made with ingredients grown in the nearby veggie patch – salmorejo (an Andalusian gazpacho), burrata with tomato carpaccio or classic club sandwiches. Casa de Pau is also right next to Cala d'Algariens, a perfect crescent moon bay with white sand, and still, clear water ideal for swimming.
If taking to the water (not something this prone-to-seasickness pair fancied), the hotel can easily organise charters of their stunning boats. In fact, the staff can arrange pretty much anything. They are true experts on the island and friendly without ever being over the top.
Whether it was remembering our tea order at breakfast or saving us the last chocolate mousse for our picnic lunch, they go out of their way to make your stay feel seamless. Which would be a good word to sum up our entire weekend – I knew my hunch about Menorca was right.