Location: Set within the tranquil, alluring streets of Palma de Mallorca’s Old Quarter, in what is mostly an affluent residential neighbourhood, sits Can Bordoy Grand House & Garden, a new addition to the city’s burgeoning luxury hotel scene. Palma itself is six years into a regeneration project which has encouraged hotels attracting a more design-conscious traveller, as well as hipster cafés, top restaurants and design galleries. Can Bordoy, which opened in December last year, is the city’s hidden gem, with just 24 suites set in what was originally a private family home and later a school run by nuns. Its masterstroke is a secluded back garden (below)with a pool – a rarity in the medieval streets.
Architecture: Jaime Oliver and Paloma Hernaiz, the highly sought-after husband and wife team of architects behind local studio Ohlab, are responsible for the building’s dramatic overhaul. The Mallorcan four-wing family house, built around a central courtyard, had been unoccupied for years and was in great need of restoration and reconfiguration. Its owner, Swedish property investor Mikael Hall, was keen to honour Can Bordoy’s heritage, so traces of its history and imperfections, such as characterful cracks in the plasterwork and bubbles found in the old glazing, were left alone during the renovations.
While most of the dark-stained timber flooring had to be replaced, the architects ensured that, along with restored gilt ceilings in some of the bedrooms, it always felt authentic. ‘There are layers of history here and we wanted to keep them,’ explains Oliver. ‘But there were also new layers that we wanted to create. For example, where we’ve added a top floor to the staircase – instead of trying to replicate what was there, we’ve created something different. It looks modern.’
Interior: Of the three floors housing the 24 bedrooms, each one is individually designed. What they share is a sense of subtle elegance and serenity with chalky, warm white walls and shades of blue in the curtains, as well as madly comfortable walnut and velvet beds designed by Ohlab. ‘We wanted something quite theatrical,’ says Hernaiz. ‘Bathrooms are open to the bedroom, like a stage.’ The freestanding cocktail bars with integrated sound systems in each room, also custom-designed by Ohlab, are another highlight.
Ground floor communal areas feel relaxed and homely: the reception desk is actually part of the bar – made from local stone Gris Balear, it stretches from the entrance along the full length of the dining room, where you’ll find delicate accents of aqua, mustard and violet in upholstered seating. An adjacent living room, with a fireplace and antique chandelier, has faux creeping vines that visually connect you to the garden at the back, accessed via another dining area.
Furniture is a combination of recognisable pieces from the likes of Moroso, Gebrüder Thonet Vienna and Baxter, which sit comfortably beside hand-picked vintage finds. Slick architectural twists, such as the floating mirrored ceiling in the bar and the glass-bottomed plunge pool, reveal how much thought has been given to every detail. Suites from £325, canbordoy.com
As originally featured in Elle Decoration July 2019