Review: Castell Son Claret
Erica Bush explores this 15th-century castle in Majorca
LOCATION: Tucked into the foot of the Unesco World Heritage-listed Serra de Tramuntana mountain range with nothing but rolling green peaks, fields of grazing sheep and gorgeously kept gardens for surrounds. Hilly hairpin bends and quaint Spanish villages set the scene for the 30-minute hotel transfer from Palma airport.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Arriving by night, it’s the castle’s towers I spot first, which glow invitingly in the darkness. A long driveway grandly lined with giant palms leads the way to reception where, even though it’s late, staff are waiting with smiles and cold towels. The 132-hectare estate is extremely peaceful – there’s nothing but the sounds of crickets and the distant ringing of bells from the aforementioned sheep. The air is filled with the scents of bergamot and orange, and minimal light pollution means the sky is freckled with stars. The next morning, the property comes alive with colour: the castle stands tall in sun-bleached stone; lush mountains frame my every view; and the estate’s gardens brim with Mediterranean pine, eucalyptus, lavender, rose, olives and limes.
THE FACTS: The castle in its current form dates from 1888, though the estate was founded in 1450. Carefully restored by German hoteliers Christine and Klaus-Michael Kühne, it opened as a luxury hotel in spring 2013 and boasts 41 suites and rooms. The main castle is home to 23 rooms, while the rest can be found across six outpost buildings (formerly stables) dotted around the grounds. Many boast a terrace, garden or private pool. Facilities at the property include a tennis court, small fitness centre (due to be significantly upgraded in time for next season) and a saltwater infinity pool, where guests spend most of the day lounging in the sun and drinking chilled rose, while dragonflies flit across the water. The hotel’s spa, Bellesa de Claret, is also not to be missed, with an indoor pool, sauna, hammam and treatments using ingredients from the gardens. There are two restaurants: Mediterranean-inspired Olivera and the two-Michelin-starred Zaranda.
EXPLORE: Breathe in the pine-scented mountain air and take a walk or run around the grounds – the hotel has laid out three routes of varying lengths. Or whizz to the nearby towns of Calvia or Peguera on one of the hotel’s bikes.
WOW: Sitting at the alfresco Castell Bar, sipping a cocktail as the sun sets over the mountains. Barman Roberto makes his signature cocktail using Majorcan liquor Palo, lemon juice, mint and a homemade syrup concocted from the property’s flowers. He serves it flamboyantly by torching a pine cone at the table and insists I simultaneously “sip and smell”. It’s here that I decide I never want to leave.
BOOK IT: Rooms start at €305 and suites at €755 a night, including breakfast, Wi-Fi, parking and taxes.