When you stagger into a hotel at 5.40am, courtesy of the French air traffic controllers’ strike and an inebriated schoolboy who combined to delay the plane by some hours, you really need your bed. Thankfully, those at Castell Son Claret feel as though you’re lying on a cloud.
Other nice touches at this Mallorcan five-star hotel, which opened last year, include the provision of baskets to carry clobber to the pool or beach and jaunty sunhats, cold flannels handed out by the cheerful pool barman, the delicious frothy juice made from the 325-acre estate’s own lemons and the absence of sunbeds blocking the mountain view from the pool.
Castell Son Claret is only a 25-minute drive from Palma airport, but is a world away from the more crowded areas of that part of the island’s coastline. A converted castellated manor house which dates back to 1450, it’s set in a tranquil basin in the Tramuntana Mountains, a UNESCO World Heritage site; there’s no other building in sight and the undulating skyline, wildflower meadows and clanking sheep bells make a supremely restful backdrop.
The hotel is German-owned, and the clientele is chiefly peace-seeking British, German and American guests. It’s the sort of place you can happily visit alone – a couple of people were evidently reveling in their solitude. The glorious gardens -a sea of blue agapanthus amid the soothing water features when I stayed – have plenty of shady places for silent reading, dozing or contemplation.
The chef, Fernando Perez Arellano, however, is pure, smoldering Spanish; his paella, cooked in front of us in a vast pan, was sublime and memorable. And his assistant, Birmingham-born Claire Hutchings, the runner-up in Masterchef last year, makes a perfect foil. The hotel has a Michelin one-starred restaurant, Zaranda, set in a romantic courtyard.
The nearby village of Es Capdella is a working one, not a holiday-home honeytrap – the bar is properly earthy, with a hilariously grumpy barmaid – so there’s not much noise from traffic or tourism in the vicinity. It all makes for peaceful walking and cycling – if you can really be bothered to do it. You’ll find parting from this hotel to be really quite painful.
Rooms at Castell Son Claret start at around €300 per night (www.castellsonclaret.com)
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