The cobbles that were once prominent are now smooth. Edges rounded by feet, hooves, and wheels over centuries.
Welcome to the old town of Palma, or ‘El Casco Antiguo’.
They are shiny now, the cobbles. Polished new, just like the modern shopping district of Sant Nicolas, and the elegant Avenue St Jaume III, neighbours that rub along nicely.
But here it is quiet. Reverential. A tranquil enclave in a vibrant, bustling city.
Soft giggles and children’s chattering’s float through the air from the local school, breaking the silence and warming the heart.
A sign of young and old intertwined.
Christians, Moors and Romans have all left their mark. An insightful trail of architecture solidly frames the labyrinthesques streets and punctuates its corners.
As does art.
Stately homes from the 17th and 18th century feature heavily. Exquisitely restored, many are now boutique hotels, such as the Boutique Hotel Sant Jaume.
The hotel is perfectly placed. Embedded in the historical fabric of the city within touching distance of ultra-modernity. Flanked by one of the oldest surviving Gothic churches, the Iglesia de St Jaume and the Baroque Convent of Santa Magdalena, stepping in from the closeted street is an epiphany.
An illuminating one.
Streams of light refract off every surface.
The atrium expertly funnels the Mallorcan sun, bathing you in its warmth as you check in.
The artistic journey begins.
A commissioned 12-metre three dimensional white and cobalt blue installation by leading Spanish artist Robert Ferrer I Martonell sets the tone.
Other pieces of work by Stefania Pomar, Victoria Masdeu, Jordi Alcaraz and Carlos Irijalba would not be out of place in an esteemed art gallery or museum.
The walls are a luxuriant deep-sea blue. Parquet flooring, palm trees and cactus in ornate stone pots and brass globe lights make it a heavenly oasis.
Fashionable sofas swathed in mushroom, sage and copper are the perfect accompaniment to a tantalising glass of cava by the chic lobby bar, all while being soothed by the dulcet tones of guitar jazz.
The urban haven vibe continues throughout, none more so that at Cantina Panza. Grey banquettes, burnt orange chairs, copper artwork alongside large metal cutlery centrepieces prepare you for indulgence. Renowned chefs Fernando Perez Arellano and Itziar Rodrigues create mouth-watering dishes. Feast on Callos a la Madrileña or veal stew followed by Grandma’s rice pudding with blueberries.
Cantina Panza is not the only masterpiece in the portfolio.
IT Mallorca Unique Spaces was established by founder Miguel Conde in 2011. Several years later, Miguel and his architect wife Marta have built a profound collection mirroring their love of history and art.
Boutique Hotel Sant Jaume is one, Boutique Hotel Can Cera is another.
Venture ten minutes on foot to Can Sera, a magnificent former palace, for tapas. Stepping through the vast heavy metal door is akin to entering Narnia. Another homely oasis appears offering not just tranquillity but opulence and privacy.
The Mediterranean inspired menu features S’Aglà’s cheese accompanied by Albert Adria’s conservas traditionally soaked meats and sourdough breads. Don Bocarte anchovies are a must. As is the melting semi cured Majorcan cheesecake from the famous Lluis Pérez Pâtissier. Wash it down with a large glass of Verdejo with an espresso chaser.
Feeling suitably satiated, bed beckons.
The hotel has 36 rooms and 6 junior suites, 3 with terraces. The most coveted of them all must be the Suite Sant Jaume or room number 401. It is on the top floor adjacent to the plunge pool and the jasmine scented roomy terrace. The 50 square metre room has a 30 square metre terrace surrounded by ornamental hedges protectively huddling a jacuzzi that has startling views over the cathedral and old town. The suite is styled in light grey peppered with colours via bespoke art and painted tabletops.
Reminiscent of the street cobbles outside, vibrant pebble shaped artwork adorns the walls of the open plan bathroom. The double sinks chime when gently tapped. Bamboo accessories maintain a commitment to sustainability. Mint and Eucalyptus fragranced toiletries are in abundance.
Globe lights again drape down seductively over the Egyptian covered white sheets of the rather large bed.
Floor to ceiling windows again refract light in an ecclesial manner.
Spanish premium Numen water, in Baroque influenced bottles, is a welcome addition as are the gifts of Mallorcan condiments and Cava.
Both of which are best appreciated in seclusion of the awe-inspiring terrace just on the cusp of sunset.
There is a well-equipped gym on the first floor and a cosy wellness area with a solarium, sauna, and heated pool in the basement. A therapy room with a range of organic treatments and massages is also available and well worth a visit.
For a heavenly urban retreat that makes the soul sing visit the Boutique Hotel Sant Jaume.
Enlightenment is guaranteed.
For more information visit Boutique Hotel Sant Jaume