From Caravanserai along the Silk Routes from Turkey all the way to China, Spas throughout the Roman Empire and monasteries in the Middle Ages, providing shelter to fellow travellers has always played an indispensable role in man´s quest for knowledge and new adventures.
The ubiquitous hotel of the 21st century continues to entice millions of people to move around the globe, and in turn, their quest for new experiences and unique accommodation has inspired the boutique hotel.
Mallorca, the largest of the Balearics, has been synonimous with holidays for over a century and though the style of tourism has taken many turns, the island is rapidly establishing itself as a high-end, European idyll, part trendy beach holiday and part cosmopolitan culture trip.
Given the substantial numbers landing in the Balearics every season, hotel offerings on the islands are wide ranging in style, size and location; there are mega-hotels and all-inclusives cramming up the southern costas, mountain refuges in the Serra de Tramuntana and luxury estates in the interior. And then there is the new breed of boutique hotel, mostly in the capitals, but also dotted around the islands' villages and countryside. In Mallorca it is here in the small boutique hotels where tourists get a flying chance at experiencing a dose of something unique.
In order to qualify as a boutique hotel you need to be fairly small; they typically have between 10 and 100 rooms. Mar Calma Hotel has 20 rooms, spread over 4 floors, with 17 double rooms, 2 single bedrooms and the master suite on the top floor with its own private terrace. It is this smallness that gives the boutique hotel guest the feeling of staying in a private home. A lounge or common living room of some kind lends itself well to this, by allowing people to meet and interract.
In the Balearics we like to socialise outdoors of course. The climate begets this. We provide a pavement cafe for morning breakfast in the sunshine and evening cocktails when the sun goes down.
Customised services, luxury toilettries, bespoke amenities, a pillow menu, a spa or hot tub, disabled access, a mixologist bartender...are just some of the added extras that a boutique hotel will offer. Because while the large hotels can give you sprawling rooms and marble pannelled entrance halls, they cannot compete with the singularity and highly personalised service of a small boutique hotel.
Often this is most apparent at the front desk. While the big chains have more on offer, they will never know your name when you return for a second year, let alone when you walk through the door on day 2 of your holidays. However, a boutique hotel in the Balearics will, and with pleasure, because that is what makes the experience worthwhile for all parties.
Individuality sets you apart from me, in much the same way as it separates ideas, places, businesses, food and music. With accomodation this uniqueness provides the base for everything else. A boutique hotel has its own unique vibe and character that immediately sets the tone and this tends to be thanks to the fact they are usually independantly owned and run.
In the Balearics ecology has begun to get more attention and the pressing need to protect and preserve the natural beauty of the islands is slowly becoming understood. Setting our hotel apart by being more and more eco-friendly is one way we can be true to our beliefs while providing our guests with a respectfully sustainable holiday.
It can be historic, old fashioned, trendy or dazzlingly modern, but a boutique hotel will always have great style. This will sometimes be in keeping with the building or the location, and other times the fancy of the decorator or the owner. In the case of Mar Calma Hotel, the style is modern minimalism which works well with the Mediterranean climate, scorching heat outdoors minimised by sleek cool interiors, and functional in a hip kind or way.
In cities, boutique hotels tend to be located in the hippest or up and coming parts of town, in the Balearics and away from the island capitals of Palma, Mahon and Ibiza, boutique hotels are often housed in private buildings, near but not on the beachfront, slightly back from the throngs.
Mar Calma Hotel in Puerto Pollensa does this rather well. Primarily because you cannot get more central while off the main drag if you tried. The square is round the corner and the beach one block away, yet this small distance gives the hotel a more relaxed and local feel, adding to the general sense of being a visitor rather than a tourist.
Character is a large part of the uniqueness and individuality of a hotel, and as much as the design and style of its interiors can enfuse you with a sense of comfort, the location can awe you, and its small size can embrace you, it is ultimately the people who run and work in the establishment who will make it a gratifying experience. And in the case of a boutique hotel, the more off-beat and electic the better.
We are certain that Carlos' quirky humour, Paula's sunny morning smile, our barman's uncanny ability to guess your perfect cocktail and Mari Carmen's beauty and warmth are the primary reason our guests leave delighted and inspired to return.
Another way of providing an experience that stands apart from the norm, is for boutique hotels to invest and promote culture, art and sport. This is sometimes achieved through themed decor or by promoting heritage or events.
Our window display plays hommage to the handmade designs of local artisans and the walls of the hotel display some of our most acclaimed artists, but that's not all; Mar Calma Hotel actively sponsors local NGOs (Dentistas sobre Ruedas) and adventure sport activity organisers, as well as being actively involved in most if not all local fiestas and events.
Their cuisine, like every other element of the boutique experience has to be of the highest and best quality. Locally sourced products, innovative cooking and a trendy and comfortable dining atmosphere sets the boutique hotel apart from the competition.
The Mar Calma Hotel is so boutique however, that there is simply no room for a restaurant kitchen on the hotel premises, and so offer a fabulous freshly-cooked breakfast on the sunny terrace and mix what are possibly the finest cocktails in town, after-hours in the same spot.
But don't panic, Mallorca's wonderful array of eateries provide ample choice for the discerning foodie.
Boutique hotel guests much like the boutique hotels they stay in, are individual, trendy and open minded. They are people of every age and nationality with a taste for luxury services, unique experiences, foreign travel and local products, be it a gift or a delicious meal.
If you are still undecided or would like to find out more about boutique hotels in the Balearics, read more: