As I’m being chauffeured to a 5-star hotel in Mallorca, I already feel pretty fortunate; however, whilst en route to Castell Son Claret, our driver tells us that we must be very lucky indeed…because today is one of only 30 or so days that it rains on the island. Nevertheless, one of the best testimonials that I can attribute to the luxurious castle-turned-boutique resort, above even its vivid scenery, genial staff, rejuvenating spa and exceptional cuisine, is the fact that the wet weather doesn’t dampen our spirits one little bit. Once the black Mercedes has wound its way up to the isolated fortress at the foot of a mountain that it has been guarding since the 1400s, we enter reception to a chorus of greetings and begin what is an outstanding experience from start to finish.
In the short three years since its reinvention from a castle to a hotel, Castell Son Claret has become renowned for how friendly and courteous its staff is; this is immediately demonstrated by Roberto, the lovely barman, who presents us with a pair of fresh lemonades made from the lemons that hang from trees just outside our room, garnished with a lavender sprig. With Madeleine Peyroux’s ‘You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go’ tinkling away in the background, this is a life that I’m sure many a guest dreams of getting used to.
After draining our refreshing beverages, we’re offered a buggy ride to our room to shield us from the rain but, realising it’s only a 20-metre dash in very light drizzle, decide to burn the calories and go by foot. The room is gorgeous, all elegant furnishings and stylish décor; in the ‘living room’ area is a table festooned a welcome note and basket including fresh fruit and a pastry made fresh from the hotel’s kitchen. A glass of Cava in one hand and a nectarine in the other, I waltz around the bedroom, taking in the large bed, straw hats and bathrobes, writing bureau and another LCD TV to join the one ten feet away in the lounge. With a bath big enough for two (or three if you’re feeling particularly adventurous), his and hers sinks, a dual power shower-cum-miniature-wet room, the bathroom is like a mini spa in itself. It’s easy to feel at home straight away (to be honest, I wish my home was more like this) and the temptation to just unwind right here is pretty high. But there’s a proper spa to check out…
Chilling out in a sauna sounds oxymoronic at best, but it’s the best way that I can describe the next few indulgent few hours, hopping between steam room to swimming pool to sun lounger whilst sipping on cooled tea and forgetting that the outside world and its rainclouds even exists. We leave just before the metamorphosis into human prunes becomes irreversible and head back to the pad to freshen up before our meal in the fabulous double-Michelin starred Zaranda.
Waking up to brilliant sunshine seeping through the shutters, a light breeze hits us as we open the door and we’re presented with the vision of Mallorca that I’ve seen in so many holiday snaps and tourist guides. The scenery afforded by the surrounding foothills is magnificent and we take a quick stroll around the hotel before arriving for breakfast in Olivera, the hotel’s other, terrace-based restaurant. There’s a superb selection of fresh fruit, cold meats, home baked bread – the beer bread is my favourite – and a menu of freshly prepared dishes from which I choose the baked eggs that arrive still in their hot miniature pan and are absolutely divine. So assiduous are the chefs in their culinary preparation that they iron their own yoghurt; I don’t press them on this (pun totally intended, athankyou!), but simply enjoy the cold, macrobiotic delight and look out on the beautiful view from the courtyard.
With 132 acres belonging to the hotel, there’s no shortage of places to explore so we dump our bags at reception and walk through the lush fields to the local village of Es Capdellà. After we get our bearings and fend off a proselytising Catholic expat (don’t ask – at least there’s a door between you and a Jehovah’s Witness), we set off on an hour-long hike through gorgeous landscape to the local vineyard of Bodegas Santa Caterina, dodging the many cyclists that use the route for triathlon training. One wine tasting, a bottle of rosé and a tapas platter later and we’re weighing up the merits of returning to London versus emigrating here and hiding in Castell Son Claret’s broom closet; London wins out (just) and we stroll, at a much more leisurely pace this time, back to the hotel where we have a brief dip in the pool and chill (ha!) in the sauna before being driven back to the airport.
For an independently owned hotel without the backing of a large conglomerate, Castell Son Claret is nothing if not ambitious; the fact that Zaranda has recently won its second Michelin star and is fast becoming a destination dining venue is proof that their hard work is paying off – indeed, the resort is described to us as not a hotel but two restaurants with bedrooms.
Come rain or shine, I’m certainly going to be trying my luck back on the island in the very near future (don’t worry, I’ll tweet the dates beforehand so that, should our visits collide, you can make sure to bring your umbrellas).
Castell Son Claret, Carretera Es Capdellá, km, 1.7, 07196 Es Capdellá, Calvía, Mallorca, Islas Baleares, Spain.
Tel: +34 971 138 629
The hotel is located near the west coast of Mallorca and is about a 30-minute taxi ride from Palma de Mallorca Airport which is 34 kilometres to the east.
Type of Hotel: 5-Star Boutique Hotel
Number of Rooms: 24 rooms and 14 suites, including complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the hotel.
Insider Tip: Make sure that you have breakfast on Olivera’s beautiful terrace.
Reviewer’s Rating: 10/10
David Harfield is a freelance food and travel writer and the director of the social media solutions company PepperStorm Media
Photographs courtesy of Castell Son Claret