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Body & Soul: The Sant Francesc Hotel Singular

A historic 19th-century manor in Mallorca finds new life as a five-star hotel

Written by Jenny Bradley Pfeffer

Sophisticated doesn’t begin to describe it. Elegant only skims the surface. The Sant Francesc Hotel Singular in Palma, Mallorca, is nothing less than an architectural treasure.

Once a manor house dating from the 1880s, the historic structure was given a major—if highly respectful—facelift when transformed into a hotel in 2015.

Careful consideration was put into material choices. Stone from local quarries was used in the reception area.

“The building was, and is, very beautiful,” says owner Andrés Soldevila Ferrer. “The level of protection was really high. The biggest challenge was to preserve the original architectural beauty of the building, yet find a way to design a hotel that had an interior design that is not too intrusive with the style of the building.”

A private balcony in the Sant Francesc junior suite overlooks Palma’s historic old town.

To that end, architect Tolo Cursach and designers María Jose Cabré and Nuria Ferrer Klein were brought in to oversee the renovation and assemble a skilled team of artisans—including master craftsmen, a fresco restorer, and a ceramics specialist. Materials were also carefully screened. The reception fireplace is made of Santanyi stone from Mallorca. An Italian leather reception table and iron-and-leather bench were custom-made by local craftsmen. Cabré designed the bar out of Marquina marble. 

The updated Sant Francesc Suite offers nods to the hotel’s history.

Even the luxury bedding is Spanish—made by Bassols, a Barcelona-based company founded in 1790.

To ensure the exterior of the hotel merged harmoniously with its old town surroundings, aerial photographs were consulted before paint colors were chosen.

Built in the 1880s, the building that is now home to The Sant Francesc Hotel Singular was reopened after a historically considerate renovation. Architectural elements like this enfilade of archways create a dramatic space for dining in the hotel’s Quadrat restaurant. 

“Our aim was to respect the existing structure and highlight the beauty and legacy of the building,” Soldevila Ferrer says. “We took into consideration the colors of the local stone, the colors of the city and surrounding buildings. Because the building has been here for so long, it was not about standing out, but blending in.”

Culinary options abound—alfresco dining, signature cocktails and tapas in the lobby bar, or more formal fare at Quadrat restaurant. 

What does stand out are the hotel’s sumptuous suites and amenities—from the modern take on Mediterranean cuisine at Quadrat restaurant to the rooftop pool and “couture” treatments at the Singular Wellbeing spa. 

And for design lovers, the Sant Francesc Suite—with its private balcony, original moldings, and restored ceiling frescoes—is a must. 

Original ceiling frescoes were painstakingly protected and preserved. 

“It preserves the feeling of a true -Mallorcan manor house yet looks modern and feels warm and comfortable,” Soldevila Ferrer says.