Long before the recent spate of intimate, boutique-style properties descended upon Mallorca, Spain, there was the family-owned Son Brull Hotel & Spa. Set within a former hillside monastery, this property gained prominence over the years as a 23-room rustic retreat.
Nearly 17 years after opening, Son Brull, located on the northern part of the Spanish island, remains a sought-after destination for its relaxed elegance. Now it's been rendered all the more glamorous with last summer’s arrival of four new villa suites.
Before the monks settled here in the 1700s, this honey-hued structure, built in the 12th century, served as a farmhouse—known locally as an alqueria—during Mallorca’s Arab rule. When the Suau family took over the property, this layered past is one of the aspects that appealed to them, and so its architectural heritage was carefully preserved.
"Son Brull was created to offer a space of natural relaxation in a chic way—no fuss, simple, and stylish," says owner Mar Suau. "We did not want a cold feeling in our interiors; we wanted to feel the warmth of the Spanish way of life, together with the modern Nordic touch that takes advantage of the light."
Fortunately, the Suaus had a designer friend, Ignacio "Nacho" Forteza, who was able to understand and precisely execute their vision. "Back then, Son Brull would have been dubbed a 'design hotel'," points out the Forteza, the co-founder of the Palma- and Barcelona-based studio Forteza + Aparicio.
Today, there is a deeper, more holistic appreciation for the design narrative’s intertwining of past and present, reinforced through elements like the hotel's candle-lit restaurant, the collection of Mallorcan artwork strewn throughout the hotel, and the bar, which is located where olive oil was once made for the monastery. "What was a black hole became a place with natural light that managed to show off this space with majesty," adds Forteza.
Forteza embraced materials like black-tinted concrete, gold leaf, oak, iron, stone, and pebble because the aim was to have "a hotel that would age well, would be a timeless intervention, would not go out of style, and would have charm," he says. No two of Forteza’s guest rooms are alike, whether it’s a wood beam ceiling, a freestanding bathtub, or terrace Jacuzzi to differentiate them.
For travelers who crave a more commodious layout and ultra-private atmosphere, the four new two-bedroom and two-bathroom villas, designed by Estudio Carme Pinós in Barcelona, can satiate those needs. Each of them are located on a more secluded stretch of the property, outfitted with a duo of fireplaces, floor-to-ceiling windows, and a garden with their own heated swimming pool.
"The desire to connect with the beautiful rural surroundings drove us to work with local materials, such as dry stone walling, reinterpreting Majorcan stone tradition, and creating green roofs with native species," says founder and principal Carme Pinós.
Her studio was also tasked with expanding the spa, where a corner fireplace and comfy sofas meld with the outdoors, including the showcase pool. Timber pergolas festooned with climbing plants "leave the glass façade in the background, so a better integration to the context is achieved," explains Pinós. "We could say that our choice has been to pick local, natural materials that helped to integrate the site to its setting, building the landscape through architecture."
Those seeking last-minute Valentine's Day plans can hole up here for two nights of meals, massages, and Cava, sweetened by the presence of an at-your-disposal rental car, for $497 plus the cost of accommodation.