Tuesday, June 6, 2017

HIDDEN MALLORCA AT CASTELL SON CLARET

The second in our series on Hidden Mallorca – Castell Son Claret is a refined hideaway with a two-Michelin star restaurant – Mallorca’s only...



People make the pilgrimage all the way from Palma to Zaranda just for the evening or overnight to taste their way through the long menu from two-Michelin star executive chef Fernando Arellano. Other guests stay longer at Castell Son Claret to combine good food, exercise and quiet relaxation.

Tranquility surrounds Castell Son Claret – you can almost hear the silence between birds and crickets calling. Wrapped In beautiful landscaped gardens at the end of a palm lined driveway in the foothills of the Tramuntana range, this small castle became a private boutique hotel in 2013.

Apart from Zaranda, the hotel offers restaurant Olivera, also mentioned in the Michelin guide, where you can dine in a winter garden or out on a charming stone terrace graced by  olive trees and lavender.

Mediterranean ambience. Lovely spot for breakfast with bread and cakes from their own bakery plus lots of healthy items
Between mealtimes guests can be seen sunbathing silently by the sparkling garden pool, but most seem to disappear for spa treatments, hammam rituals, self-drive touring – or sporty activities.


Exercise is a very important drawcard at Castell Son Claret. There are two rambling trails on the estate totaling some 7 km. We saw a couple striding back from their circuit with Nordic walking sticks – not surprising since the quiet and tasteful hotel has a strong appeal for Northern Europeans.

You can walk the trails alone or with a guide, or keep on walking into the mountains. Cycling is a very important sport on Mallorca – and Castell Son Claret is well sited for a scenic road trip to Valldemossa along the astoundingly beautiful northern shoreline and back through the mountains...


Stunning views from the northern coastal drive
Historical Valldemossa




View from Es Grau, a popular pitstop for cyclists on the picturesque north coast

If the hills sound intimidating, you can get help in the form of an e-bike set to your capabilities – book at least a week in advance. Another sport is tennis on site.

In tune with its country setting, the décor at Castell Son Claret is a contemporary interpretation of old Spanish country style. Earthy and soothing elegance featuring oak panels, leather headboards and wooden beams.




Our room, a deluxe room, looked out over a Juliet balcony to the white garden paths and the impressive driveway. 


But our hotel inspection had us hankering after a very appealing room with a vast terrace (if you want to book, ask us for the magic number)...


For those who at all costs must have a big balcony we also recommend one of the Tower Suites.



 Then again – for those who love gardens there are demi-suites with exuberant flower filled garden terraces, set away from the main building. Or for more space and private pool – consider a pool suite.


Come evening it's time to gravitate towards the bar – a gentleman’s club feel  under centuries old Gothic arches. Here we had some of the most delicious cocktails ever...


We simply had to flash the iPhone at our Tramuntana cocktail that looks good, tastes amazing and reflects the environment – a perfect suggestion before an environmentally friendly (and curious) tasting dinner at Zaranda. 

Tramuntana cocktail: Local liquor palo containing herbs, fresh lemon juice, mint,
home made syrup of the estate’s flowers topped with ginger beer.

A delightful gastronomic Olive Daiquiri. Their Sollers Orange Mojito
was another masterpiece.

To dine at Zaranda needs forethought – booking months ahead. Otherwise Olivera offers tastes from the same master. Some examples:

Pesca del dorado, 30 eur – delicious fish with bulgar and carrot creme, well presented. But try to sip your wine as you wait instead of eating too much of the”pan y apretivon” (dangerously delicious fresh made farm bread and virgin olive oil and dip).



The outside entrance to chef Fernando Arellano's creative domain - in the restaurant castle-style slots see through to the magic kitchen 
Zaranda's locally made table ware. It is like the thrill of hearing the orchestra tuning up as you wait for the two-Michelin star masterpieces from the kitchen. This is surely worth it. Zaranda’s 5 course meal with wine pairing 190 eur, 10 course with wine pairing 215 eur. items included waygu beef brisket and suckling pig – along with adventurous sea urchin, cuttle fish, congereel canelloni, artichoke with black truffle and foie gras roasted pigeon breast. Many other wonders of the earth may be on the menu

Another option is local dining in the village Es Capdella which is only 1,6 km – quite walkable. We ate well at Bar Nou (it's popular and should be booked ahead). Other local dining options are Rocamar and Flanigan.

Those hankering for a swim in the ocean and a beachy relaxed mood can enjoy a recommended beach club some 20 minutes away.

Quick facts

No. of rooms: 38
Distance from airport: 40 mins
Distance from nearest town/shops/restaurants: 1.6 km to village Es Capdella
Dining: 2 restaurants & bar, incl. 2 star Michelin restaurant
Facilities: Outdoor and indoor pools, spa, gym, hammam, tennis court, 2 hiking trails on the estate, tai chi, yoga, cycling guides and trainers.


Who to stay

Foodies,  seekers of peace and quiet, and those who would like some nature-blessed exercise.  There are a few accommodations for families but it's so blissfully quiet that it would be better to stay  only with older children who want to join in a cycle tour and keep a low profile in adult company.

 Summary

A tranquil boutique country retreat with the island’s only 2-Michelin star chef. A spot for superb  cocktails, walking, cycling, tennis, hammam rituals and spa treatments, and resting  by the quiet pool or in the beautiful garden. The small castle has been decorated in a contemporary interpretation of old Spanish country style. Earthy and soothing, fresh and new.

The driveway to Castell Son Claret and Zaranda
For the Select Collection web page on Castell Son Claret, FOLLOW THIS LINK


Images by Select Collection and Per-Olov Broddeson, words by Select Collection and Gillian Stanbridge

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