If you associate Majorca with overdeveloped coastlines, jam-packed beaches, and partiers drinking to excess — well, you’re not wrong. But of course there is far more to the island than booze-soaked, purpose-built tourist zones. Majorca has a rich historic heritage and an vibrant artistic, cultural, and culinary scene (there are around 10 Michelin-starred restaurants). The island’s top boutique hotels reflect its creative side, and serve as intimate and often innovative antidotes to the sprawling all-inclusives found along the coast.
Built in the 19th century, the stone-walled, clay-tile-roofed mansion housing Hotel Salvia is a wonderful example of traditional Mediterranean architecture. Interiors are stately yet inviting, with beautiful antiques, large windows, and lots of traditional hand-painted Mallorcan tiles. All seven rooms are individually decorated with rustic-chic decor, but you can expect to find beautiful bathrooms (most with claw-foot tubs), flat-screen TVs, stocked minibars, and serene mountain views in every room. The adult-only luxury boutique has a tranquil pool and restaurant renowned for its wonderful Mediterranean cuisine and Spanish wines.
Located in the heart of Palma's historic center, the upscale and peaceful Boutique Hotel Calatrava is just steps from La Seu Cathedral and the seaside promenade. The 16 rooms are as contemporary and chic as Salvia's are rustic and traditional; both have bathrobes, minibars, and boutique toiletries, but we think Salvia's have the upper hand thanks to their Mallorcan charm. Still, the rooms at Calatrava are luxurious, airy, and thoughtfully decorated with a nod to the city's modernist heritage. And whereas Salvia has a pool, but no spa, Calatrava has a beautiful spa with heated loungers, a Finnish sauna, and private yoga -- but no pool. Calatrava's on-site gastropub feels plucked straight out of the trendiest districts of Barcelona. It has a private alfresco dining area and a small epicerie (grocery store) selling fine Spanish wines, olives, and spreads. The hotel's breakfast room on the fifth floor is stunning, and with its unobstructed views of the bay of Palma and Portixol, it is one of the hotel's most outstanding features.
There are many things about Son Brull Hotel and Spa that put it in the running for the quintessential Mallorcan boutique hotel. It’s set in a beautifully restored 18th-century monastery out in the country, and has an infinity pool, chic spa with indoor/outdoor pool, and fine-dining restaurant with immaculately presented and creative dishes. Son Brull's tapas bar is set in what was once one of the largest olive press mills on the island, and a range of homegrown produce -- gin, olive oil, wine, almonds, honey -- is available to buy. The hotel's 23 stylish rooms come with high-tech amenities (free Wi-Fi, Bang & Olufsen smart TVs), free Cava, and bathrooms jetted tubs and organic toiletries. They're even more modern than the rooms at Calatrava, but offer no sea views, as Son Brull is located in the foothills of the Tramuntana mountain range.
Posada Terra Santa's 16th-century construction is apparent from its Gothic arches and stone walls, and its historic character is complemented by modern decor and comforts. In the 26 chic, sunlit rooms, this means pillow menus, flat-screen TVs, minibars, and free Wi-Fi. Bathrooms are spacious and spotless, with luxurious walk-in rainfall showers (with the exception of one suite), fluffy robes, and high-end toiletries. Despite its location in the city center, the hotel maintains a tranquil and oasis-like ambience, with a lovely rooftop pool area, dimly lit spa, and casual but romantic restaurant. As a whole, Terra Santa isn't as sharply contemporary or features-laden as Son Brull, but some travelers may prefer its central location in the historic heart of Palma to Son Brull's peaceful countryside setting.
Hotel Cort -- in the picturesque center of Palma's Old Town -- is one of the city's most renowned boutique hotels, and it's easy to see why. Its street-level bistro/raw bar has attractive geometric Moorish tiling and a cobbled alfresco terrace, and is often buzzing with a lively mix of guests and locals. An impressive a la carte breakfast is included in the rate, where guests can pick anything on the menu from the likes of cooked-to-order eggs, smoked salmon, and freshly squeezed orange juice. In addition to a mezzanine-level bar, there is a sunny rooftop terrace with loungers where guests can order up drinks, plus a very small plunge pool. Though no two of the 16 rooms are the same, they all follow similar styling that combines exposed timber flooring, painted wood fixtures, and traditional patterned fabrics. Lounge areas with comfy sofas and shelves filled with books and vases give a homey feel. Amenities include smart TVs, two minibars, and large, comfy beds with heating control panels. Bathrooms are finished in hand-painted tiles, with heated flooring (during winter), Egyptian cotton towels, and Molton Brown products as standard; some also feature double showers and separate tubs. The result is an atmosphere that feels simultaneously homey and sophisticated, as well as both traditional and on-trend, all tied up with a subtle island theme and quality finish.
Fontsanta Hotel Thermal Spa and Wellness is a spa lover's and foodie's dream destination, with its own thermal hot springs, luxury spa, and gourmet seasonal Mediterranean/Spanish restaurant. Located in the countryside surrounded by nature preserves, Fontsanta has two outdoor pools have lovely stone decks with cushy sunbeds; Guests who want more privacy can stake out one of the daybed areas with private hot tubs located around the grounds. The restaurant offers foodie-quality gourmet dining under the stars, and the bar’s terrace features comfy egg-shaped wicker chairs. Then there's the spa, with beautiful peaked roofs, a sauna, a solarium, a thermal hot tub in a stunning vaulted stone cave, and a general aura of romance, like a little Spanish chapel of Zen. Vacation packages dedicated to yoga, detoxing, relaxing, or food and wine are available. Chic, peaceful rooms have open-plan marble and stone bathrooms with huge open showers and soaking tubs. Some rooms have romantic pitched roofs, and others are duplexes. Most have furnished balconies or patios with lovely views of the countryside. Fontsanta doesn't have nearly the charm of Hotel Cort, but its grounds and shared amenities far exceed those of its predecessor.
This luxurious boutique with beautifully renovated interiors opened in 2014 as the third Palma hotel of a Majorcan husband and wife team (the other two being Can Cera and Calatrava -- both on this list -- though the decor here feels slightly less inspired than the decor at Calatrava), who excel at instilling elegant old buildings with contemporary, chic furnishings. The owner's hand-picked art collection and rotating art exhibitions also bring an upmarket gallery feel to the hotel's immaculate public spaces. Outdoor spaces also impress, featuring the popular third-floor bar patio and a gorgeous rooftop space with a lookout tower for panoramic views over the city. While there aren't any real spa facilities to speak of, indoor and outdoor massage booths offer a wide selection of body treatments with locally grown organic products. But the lack of a fitness room also feels like an oversight for a hotel of this level. The 16 guest rooms and suites are particularly spacious, equipped with super comfy beds and impressive tech, though some are prone to street noise. Clientele to this undeniably luxury-level boutique property tend toward well-heeled couples on city breaks, though the hotel does also cater to families with kids in the form of some interconnected rooms.
The 20-room Santa Clara Urban Hotel & Spa is an upscale boutique in a historic 17th-century building. Its location on a picturesque street in Palma's charming Old Town is a real draw -- it's set away from the tourist hordes, yet easily walkable from most attractions and the city's long sandy beach. Other highlights are the peaceful rooftop terrace and superb panoramic views, plus lounge chairs and drink service. The chic, contemporary rooms have high wood-beam ceilings, flat-screen TVs, minibars, slippers, and robes, and some have small balconies. Guests hoping for a full spa (or even a small pool) might be disappointed, but the basement wellness area with a whirlpool tub, sauna, and steam room is serene and secluded.
The 75-room Esplendido Hotel is a stylish, upscale hotel with retro decor and terraced garden. Sophisticated rooms have the same vintage vibe as common areas, with Nespresso machines, free minibar drinks, Korres toiletries. Some rooms can be small, but many offer superb sea views. There are two pools -- one family-friendly and one adult-only, plus a third tucked away in the hotel's deluxe spa. Yoga and Pilates classes are available at the small fitness center. A free buffet breakfast at the Mediterranean restaurant and free Wi-Fi add to its value, as does its prime location: the hotel is right on Port de Soller's bay-facing promenade, steps from a long stretch of sandy beach. The hotel's beachfront area offers loungers and umbrellas.
Can Cera Hotel is a romantic boutique hotel housed in a centuries-old building that was once the luxury residence of a politician. Much of the structure's original majesty has been preserved (see: the hotel's marble staircase and imposing, traditional Mallorcan patio covered with elaborate stone archways). Several lounge areas are each uniquely decorated and filled with art books, intricate light fixtures, preserved period furniture, and woodwork that alone merits a property tour. Rooms are more stately (and less quirky) than the ones at Esplendido; instead of the sea views found at Esplendido, guests will find glass galleries with French doors, live plants, and Roman blinds for added privacy. Tapas and wine are served at the Gastro Bar (unlike Esplendido, Can Cera charges for breakfast). The spa is outfitted with a Finnish sauna and a small whirlpool. Can Cera's guests are a cultured crowd that values privacy, personalized service, and attention to historical and artistic details.
Housed in an elegant 1929 building on the beach promenade, Illa d'Or is a classy, upscale hotel combining old-school service with contemporary interiors and historic 1920s heritage. It's located overlooking Pollensa bay at the north end of the seafront promenade, a little away from most dining, though certainly one of the resort's most tranquil settings. The 120 rooms are fresh off of a 2014 through 2015 renovation; many have sea-view balconies. A sleek spa with a multi-jet therapy pool makes up for the less impressive outdoor pool, which gets a lot of shade.
The boutique Puro Hotel is a hip and stylishly urbane 51-room property with a beach-club vibe, all contained within an 18th-century mansion and private annex. Its upscale La Lonja location -- with charming narrow streets and designer shopping -- is certainly one of the more bustling areas of the city, and most Old Town attractions are a short walk away. A combination of high-tech features and extensive minibars impresses in striking bohemian guest rooms, though they lack coffee- and tea-making facilities (so do Standard rooms at Illa d'Or). Free breakfast comes with chilled Cava, while in the evening the fusion restaurant transforms into a popular and buzzing cocktail bar with DJs. Other property features include a holistic spa and two terraces (one on the roof).
Innside Palma Center is a trendy upscale hotel located within easy walking distance of Palma's picturesque Old Town and its numerous eateries and attractions. A complete 2015 renovation and rebranding transformed the interiors into chic, contemporary spaces awash with artwork and fun, quirky touches. The 101 bright, minimalist rooms feature flat-screen TVs and free minibars -- though most lack tea- and coffee-making facilities and some bathrooms compromise privacy due to open showers. Features include stylish basement spa, library, restaurant, and a rooftop terrace with a pool, cocktail bar, and separate sun terrace. The combination of chic, arty vibe with excellent facilities and a decent location provides some stiff competition for Palma's better-known Puro Hotel (above), which is both more central and more expensive.
The 40-room HM Balanguera is a design-packed urban boutique on a quiet residential street in Palma, well-placed for taking in the main sites. It doesn't have a restaurant or spa, but there is an inviting rooftop pool with cabanas and city views. The lobby is strikingly artsy and the rooms are more subtly decorated, conveying a rustic, restful ambiance.
The 41-room upscale Hotel Tres is a stylish charmer on the edges of Palma's Old Town. Located in the La Llotja-Born area, the boutique hotel is surrounded by tapas bars and small shops and is within a short walk of many sights. Stylish, modern rooms blend contemporary design and clean, Scandinavian aesthetics with rustic elements such as exposed wood ceiling beams. Chic bathrooms are stocked with Molten Brown toiletries and fluffy bathrobes, though lack privacy due to sheer curtains instead of doors. There is no spa, but a rooftop pool, sauna, and sun deck offer gorgeous panoramic views of the city, while the ground-floor Bistro Bar is a great place for light meals and delicious cocktails and a courtyard patio offers palm-shaded seating.
This hip 20-room boutique hotel is just a five-minute walk from the main beach, in the center of the popular Majorcan resort of Puerto Pollensa. Interiors are hip and sleek throughout, with plenty of playful touches that add to the youthful vibe. While on the small side, rooms are modern and have attractive gray-and-white color schemes; some also feature sea-view balconies, though others are prone to nightly street noise. A high-quality breakfast is included in the room rate, and a chic TV lounge and pleasant rooftop terrace with whirlpool tub provide plenty of space for guests to relax. There is no full restaurant, spa, pool, or fitness center.
This upper-middle-range boutique hotel urban refuge is stylish, colorful, and bursting with hand-selected art. Its 64 guest rooms are minimalist and modern; some have balconies. The fitness center and spa area is small but serene. The restaurant has street-side terrace seating and serves seasonal cuisine, both buffet-style (for breakfast) and a la carte; there's also a cocktail bar. This character-filled hotel has a central base in Palma within walking distance of a bus stop and department store shopping.