Predi Son Jaumell hotel on Mallorca’s north-east coast is formed on the foundations of a 400-year-old estate, with an ancient sundial, traditional stone exterior and pig hooks still in place. New on the 17th-century scene is an ex-El Bulli chef, bold local art and a cool minimalist palette.
Double rooms from £171.33 (€190), including tax at 10 per cent.
Rates usually include buffet breakfast.
Keep an eye out for hidden relics from the estate’s 400-year past, including the three protected Bronze Age caves in the grounds, and a chapel with original doors and floors.
The hotel is closing for the winter on 14 November and will reopen 15 March.
At the hotel
Sun terrace, chapel, bikes to borrow, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: flatscreen TV, minibar and Aveda bath products.
Our favourite rooms
Wonder at the hooks and their possible uses in Room 3, a Junior Suite Garden Deluxe, which has a freestanding bath tub in the main bedroom and an arched stone ceiling. Spoiler: the room is the old pig sty, and the hooks were for weighing the inhabitants. The design of Grand Suite Deluxe 2 gave new life to some old crockery by arranging broken bits of plates on a wall behind the bed; it also has easy access to the pool thanks to a set of French doors. The panorama prize has to go to Room 9 (a Junior Suite Garden Deluxe) for its prime view of the castle, but if you want a private hammock-enhanced garden as well, go for Junior Suite Garden Deluxe 25.
Cabanas and white loungers surround the deep-green infinity pool, heated from March to May and October to November. There's a direct path that leads from Son Jaumell to the pretty beach at Cala Agulla – it's about 20 minutes by foot.
Keen walkers don’t need to pack their walking poles – the hotel has a supply to loan to happy hikers.
Massages are available on request. One room has been adapted for wheelchair users.
The hotel welcomes kids and extra beds are available on request; children aged two to 12 pay 50 per cent of the adult rate, based on double occupancy.
The sun-blessed island’s rainwater is in short supply, so the hotel collects and re-uses all that does fall. It also uses biomass to generate heat.
Bathe in the natural light by the window, or nab a seat in the sun out on the terrace.
Camouflage yourself in country casuals in complementary shades of bright white and beige.
The ex-El Bulli chef at the restaurant, Andreu Genestra, has skills worthy of where he honed them. The food is fresh and creative: dishes include monkfish with fennel and roasted plums, and beef with raisins and al dente vegetables, with a more casual menu of grilled meats, fish of the day and pasta at lunch. Please note, if you want a romantic evening meal of Michelin-star-holding quality it's essential to book ahead. The traditional Mallorcan decor is simple: stone walls, wooden beams and linen-covered chairs, and hooks on the walls leftover from when the building was the estate’s farmhouse. The neutral palette is broken up by the row of blow-glass green lamps hanging by the terrace.
There’s no separate bar, but drinks can be served wherever you’d like them. The hotel’s own wine is our tipple of choice.
You don’t have to worry about keeping time here: the restaurant opens at 7.30am and stays that way until 11pm.
You can order up anything from the restaurant while the kitchen's open.
Carretera Cala Mesquida Km 1, Desvío Camino Son Moltó
Predi Son Jaumell is on the northeastern coast of Mallorca, close to the castle village of Capdepera.
The hotel is roughly an hour and a quarter by car from the island’s main airport in Palma, served by British Airways (www.ba.com) and EasyJet (www.easyjet.com).
The nearest train station is Manacor, a 40-minute drive from the hotel. From here, you can get to or from Inca, Sa Pobla and Palma; see www.caib.es for more details.
It’s a five-minute car journey to the centre of Capdepera. There’s free parking at the hotel.
Worth getting out of bed for
Jump on one of the hotel’s free bikes and cycle down to the beach or explore the countryside on two wheels. There are also scenic walking routes close by – such as the trail from Sa Creu Vella to Es Telégrafo, which passes dunes along the coast and offers a glimpse of the Son Jaumell Tower – or set off on horseback from Rancho Cala Mesquida (+34 678 548742). Golfers, bring your clubs and tee off on one of the island’s many pristine courses – the closest is CapdeperaGolf, or try Canyamel, 11km away.
In Cala Ratjada, try Pasta Pasta (+34 971 818744) on Avenida América for lively Sunday brunches in the picturesque promenade spot; it’s also good for its namesake Italian staple. On Calle Leonor Servera, head to historic Ca’n Maya, still standing after 74 years and famed for its fresh fish. It has its own winery with an impressive selection of bottles to choose from.
Noah’s(+34 971 818125) on Avenida América is a laid-back tapas bar offering those after a view two options: the glittering sea from the white-wicker chairs by the water or the street scene from the terrace out front.
Like a clock whose hands are sweeping, past the minutes of its face,
And the world is like an apple, whirling silently in space,
Like the circles that you find, in the windmills of your mind.
Dusty Springfield’s bittersweet crooning is difficult to shake as Mr Smith and I set off from Palma airport to be greeted by what seemed like a million windmills. They are everywhere in Mallorca, dotting the landscape and providing a welcome reminder that, despite the popularity and bustle of many parts of this small island, Mallorca is still rural and sleepy. After an intense few weeks in our work lives, sleepy is exactly what Mr Smith and I wanted from a long weekend, so off to the Balearics we went to check in at Hotel Predi Son Jaumell, a countryside hotel in the eastern part of Mallorca which is attracting attention for its smart design and serious food.
Predi Son Jaumell is in the eastern part of the island, with slightly flatter and perhaps less dramatic scenery than that of the more tourist-friendly northern and western parts, but suitably restorative and ‘oh my!’ nonetheless. As well as the ever-present windmills, the drive to the east revealed rolling hills aplenty, rich green vegetation and another endearingly idiosyncratic feature of the Mallorcan topography: roundabouts decorated with sculptures, or in the case of the roundabout just before the Predi Son Jaumell, a ship. Go figure.
A sweet arrival it is: the short walk from the car park to the hotel opens up onto a handsome old farmhouse – a restored 17th-century possesió – which sits next to a couple of equally charming outhouses, with tables set up for lunch outside and more of that green vegetation providing a very pleasing backdrop. Check-in is inside the main farmhouse building which, like much of the hotel, has been modernised with a respectful interior that speaks the international language of contemporary, design-led hotels, but with plenty of original and local features to place it firmly within its rural Mallorcan context.
Our room features a cool, polished stone floor, contemporary furniture and fittings and wooden beams on a soaring ceiling. Rural-chic objets complete the look: a glass pot here, a hand-woven basket there, bringing nature inside in a way that seems intuitive rather than contrived. The rooms are called ‘suites’, and the quibblers among us might question that there is no separate sitting space in our room (a garden junior suite) and the bathroom is only separated from the bedroom by a partial wall. The loo and shower are enclosed, with glass doors that are half the height of the room itself, so there is a certain lack of privacy, if only of an audible nature. Luckily Mr Smith and I are a warts and all kind of couple. The Jacuzzi bathtub more than makes up for any shortcomings, and a pretty little outdoor seating area proved perfectly suitable later on for that all-important sunset glass of rioja, also a complimentary welcome gift.
With bags unpacked, Mr Smith’s very British type of paranoid hysteria about the weather suddenly kicks in, with a determined dash to the pool to ensure we not miss any minute of the Mallorcan sun which is feebly struggling to break free from the clouds. The pool area at the Predi Son Jaumell is a lovely affair: a simple, not too flash rectangle pool surrounded by smart, comfortable loungers and a few four-poster beds, with linen drapes for undercover snuggling. None for Mr and Mr Smith though – that would have been too great a waste of precious tanning time. Instead, the afternoon is passed reading the New Yorker on an iPad (the hotel has excellent free WiFi in all rooms and public spaces), catching the occasional ray and listening to the bells of the cows rattling about in the distance. Lovely.
That evening is the main event: dinner in the hotel’s restaurant, which is overseen by Andreu Genestra, a handsome young chef who grew up in the local town of Inca and trained at El Bulli. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve read or been told that the chef at the restaurant I’m eating at used to work at El Bulli, but either way, this guy knows what he’s doing. Dinner is a set menu of four dishes, beef with pureed potato, local fish with strawberries, melt-in-the-mouth lamb and a home-made vanilla ice-cream. All is fantastic, with strong, robust Spanish wines to accompany and at €40 a head, fantastic value. This is the kind of hotel where you definitely want to eat in and where guests at other hotels nearby and also a number of well-dressed Spaniards come to eat too.
The following days are spent indulging Mr Smith’s sun-chasing routine, and with a couple of local walking trips. The hotel provides complimentary bikes, walking sticks and itineraries: chief of these is a walk to the beautiful Cala Agulla cove – utterly quiet and serene – and a short hop and skip to the nearest town, Capdepera, with its impressive castle dating back to the 14th century. Golf, tennis, fishing and diving are also on offer in the immediate area, and can be arranged through the hotel.
Restored and re-energised after a few lazy days in the countryside, Mr Smith and I pack our bags to head back home, Predi Son Jaumell is quiet and low-key – this is not a place for scenesters or for those wanting the last word in luxury. The hotel and the area’s charms are subtle, its design and atmosphere calm, but if it’s an escape, excellent food and a restorative slumber you’re after, the Predi Son Jaumell would be hard to beat.