Hotel Son Brull, Mallorca, Spain, review: An effortless blend of the historic and the contemporary

Our rating

5 out of 5

THE PLACE

Hotel Son Brull, which sits at the foothills of northern Mallorca's craggy Serra de Tramuntara mountain range, was a Jesuit monastery 300 year ago and 600 years before that, an Arab farmhouse. Like all Relais & Chateaux properties, it is family-owned; run by three siblings together with a loyal staff, many of whom have served the 27-room hotel since it opened in 2003. Two new family villas - and a sleek contemporary wing with a new spa - were completed last year.

THE LOCATION

Expect to wake to the sound of cow bells - this is very much the countryside - but Pollenca, surely Mallorca's prettiest town, is just a five-minute drive away. Some of the island's least-crowded beaches are also  within easy reach. While we were staying at the hotel, London's The Times declared this area Mallorca's "sleepy side" and singled out Son Brull for its rustic charm.

THE SPACE

There's history everywhere here, from the enormous creaking wooden doors to the uneven main staircase worn down by monks going about their daily routine. In the bar, an ancient olive press stands sentinel. Outside, the heated infinity pool is surrounded by daybeds and the sunny terrace has views across an ancient olive grove.

THE ROOM

We're staying in a generously-appointed Junior Suite which overlooks the hotel's infinity pool and restaurant terrace. A Bang & Olufsen TV is suspended from the ceiling and there is a huge spa bath plus an over-sized shower.

THE FOOD

Whether you dine in the more casual bistro or the upmarket 365 restaurant, the food is mostly sourced locally. At breakfast, try the Mallorcan-style poached eggs with sobrasada, and in the evening, as the last light seeps from the day, order a plate of wafer-thin jamon iberico de bellota with a beer on the terrace. The highlight of a meal at the upmarket 365 restaurant is the crispy suckling pig served with roasted peach, onion and almonds. Don't overlook Son Brull's own gin, citrus liqueur and wine.

STEPPING OUT

Mallorca's north is popular with Lycra-clad cyclists but if you prefer a less taxing mode of transport, borrow one of the hotel's complimentary e-bikes, or hire a peppermint-green electric motorcycle and head into Pollenca. Hike up the 365 stairs to the Oratorio del Cavari and pause at the top to light a candle in the tiny chapel and take in the expansive views of the valley, or head to one of the area's secluded beaches, such as Sa Calobra where the mountains slope towards the sea.

THE VERDICT

While its extraordinary past is evident at every turn, Son Brull effortlessly blends the historic and contemporary and is perfectly positioned to explore the best part of this Spanish idyll.

ESSENTIALS

 Rooms from €220 a night, including breakfast and VAT.

See relaischateaux.com

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HIGHLIGHT

Waking early to find the only sounds were cow bells clinking, birds chirruping and the sound of my bike tyres on the gravel driveway.

LOWLIGHT

Discovering, after a 45-minute ride from the airport, that the taxi driver could not process my credit card as there was no cellphone signal (and Uber is banned in Spain). Luckily, the hotel paid and added it to the bill.

Lauren Quaintance was a guest of Relais & Chateaux and Son Brull.