Sant Francesc Hotel Singular, Palma
Room type: Sant Francesc Suite
Duration: 28th June > 30th June, 2017
Booked with: Direct with hotel
I’m gonna be honest: this review was a real struggle to write much about this. You see, good is boring. It’s the luxury equivalent of “nice”. It does not lend itself too well to a full-blown review.
It took a lot of work to get me to Mallorca. Psychologically, going on a holiday here is like telling me we’re going to Prague for a luxury stag-do with a bunch of impoverished students. It does not scream luxury. It was only in being featured in Conde Nast’s Gold List and the newly appointed GM, Miguel Feliz, being the ex-Director of Rooms from The Connaught, that I felt any inclination to go. On top of that, I was still enjoying the benefits of Park Hyatt Sydney trying to ruin my holiday/life/dreams (delete as appropriate depending on current mood) by using all comped World of Hyatt points across Europe to get upgrades to suites, so I could go to Park Hyatt Mallorca too.
Naturally this meant all correspondence was with Miguel and was handled with more grace than a single white-glove wearing hooker.
Sant Francesc is just 15 minutes from the English colony known as Palma Airport: here you will find more English per square mile than even the most patriotic parts of Great Britain, i.e. Yorkshire. Most people – present company included – are keen to see the familiarity of home, even when abroad, yet when it comes to Spain it’s fair to say we don’t always send our best and brightest. Let’s just say that you’re more likely to overhear discussions on what benefits were used to pay for the holiday, rather than an insight of the Bitcoin market bubble.
All of that can be avoided with some Bose headphones and a 15 minute cab journey, where a breath of fresh air awaits. Sant Francesc must market itself as a dry hotel, as there were no English in sight; it is all about peace and quiet, not how many beers you can down in 3 minutes whilst looking like a lobster after having done the same the day before and passing out in the sun.
My usual quip about €60 for their car or €15 for a taxi will still apply.
The hotel has a very Aman Venice feeling to it; the renovation of a classically European design; a mansion that was recently lived in; the preservation of large parts of it, just updated with classic merged into modern. It feels more like a house than a hotel.
What may surprise you is that Sant Francesc is within Sant Francesc Square. I don’t know how people make up this stuff, it’s uncanny. It is within the old town, the historic centre, that felt central enough that anything was less than a 15 minute walk away.
The rooftop pool is definitely the standout piece of this hotel. It was a perfect area to relax and even to work: a gentle breeze, quiet atmosphere, semi-decent music and still no English people. I spent an abnormal amount of time up here, but it was let down by three rather significant issues: the pool was not heated, so was abnormally cold. The size of the pool means you’re more likely using it for a bath than you are for swimming, but if you do fancy a dip, all of the chairs are based right around the freakishly small pool so everyone is sat looking right at you from a matter of inches away. Do not be surprised if people at the other end of the pool start joining in your whispered conversations. Lastly, smoking is allowed on the terrace, so unfortunately you will die of lung cancer within 6 months of leaving the hotel.
They wouldn’t get this one wrong, would they? The newly appointed GM, a close friend and ex-boss of my partner and long time acquittance of myself, knowing exactly what we wanted. Surely not? Sadly, they did everything. Goddamnit, even less for me to write about.
When your penthouse is 60sqm, it normally means you’re staying in a Holiday Inn; when there are only 42 rooms, you can sigh in relief that you’re not in one. The Sant Fransesc Suite is their top suite, and evidently their most beautiful. But before I get onto that, we need to talk about Kevin, which is the name I’ve given to the bathroom setup, as it is a relentless, unsympathetic mess that feels like it was the child of neglect and wants only to humiliate you.
This is a case in point where aesthetics trump functionality; where the bizarre decision to place the toilet and sinks at different ends of the 60sqm room. Going to the toilet became known as the “walk of shame”, due to having to go about your business, then walk down to the sink, placed near to the bed, to wash your hands. Still, they had a 55″ curved TV, so I guess it wasn’t so bad after all.
Other than this rather large issue, I really liked the design of the room: simplistic in many areas, but intricate in preserving those of the past, such as the ceilings. I still do not understand the strange double-ceiling and why it is there, so I’m going to assume it’s a nude painting of the previous GM on the ceiling and that is why he is no longer there. As my usual critique, I struggle to call anything a suite when it does not have a separate living room and bedroom, so zero points here for trying to convince me otherwise. It did contain all the space I needed, but were I jet lagged and trying not to bother my partner I may think again.
The suite (ahem, room) offers 2 balconies that look directly onto the square and the church, not that you will be able to see it, as the bed is so large that you may get lost in it and never found again. The blackouts are also so good that you may never want to stop using them.
There are some additional, minor changes I would hope they can easily implement: plugs by the side of the bed, as they are only present on the desk; better noise isolation, as I could occasionally hear noise outside; including bath salts to go with the massive bath, and ideally fixing the front door that seemed to randomly just not close itself. As I’ve experienced once too many times before, the shower is also incredibly sensitive. You move it and nothing happens but 10 seconds later a sudden change in temperature.
- Plenty of seating areas
- Rooftop pool, including another bar
- Quadrat restaurant and garden
- Rooftop terrace restaurant
Spa / Gym
They do have one, but as it only contains treatment rooms I never made my way over to check it out.
They do have a gym, but it was so small that if you were the only person you would still need to queue.
Hide in your hotel to avoid the English crowds.
Sant Francesc Hotel Singular – try saying that whilst gouging on some of their delicious food.
F&B is a strong point, with their pastry chef a genius and even their Japanese rooftop bar menu far exceeding anything I would expect to receive in a London hotel, let alone one in Mallorca. Less impressive was Quadrat for lunch, where I failed to find anything positive at all, except maybe the price tag of €26 for 3 courses.
The breakfast buffet is small, but the a la carte offering was substantial enough to offer some variety. It’s just a shame that each meal took about 8 hours to arrive, so we had to regularly call the Red Cross to help us survive. And that a coffee delivered to the room cost €22.
There is enough solid service here that would warrant a positive write-up. But then came the bribes/gifts from the GM: pastries sent to our room; strawberry milkshakes randomly arriving; sweets daily restocked in our room. Turndown gifts were included each night. On arrival, there are personalised newspapers with our names on that give suggestions on places to eat and activities to do.
They asked us to sign for lunch on our first day, but we then started testing them and never bothered thereafter – no one cared. We were here under the GM’s protection. We were gods. Gods, I tells ya!
They could definitely improve around the pool, as it was rare for anyone ever to come by and offer anything, yet at the same time, every few hours someone comes by with complimentary ice cream and fruit snacks by the pool.
€85 in a taxi or €230 in their car for a trip to Park Hyatt, which was approximately an hour away. To no one’s surprise, the GM came to wave us off. To my surprise, he did not prevent me making the mistake of going to the Park Hyatt. Minus 10 points.
It seems occupancy is very high, regardless of the season, so it’s worth booking this in advance, especially if you plan on staying in one of their higher suites.
- Food exceeded expectations
- Easy to get to and easy to get anywhere within Palma via the medieval tradition of walking
- Lack of spa facilities
- Exquisite design that captures European elegance
- Knowing the GM
Sant Francesc is a truly beautiful boutique hotel that has excellent personalised service to match. I cannot believe that I’m saying this, but I would even endorse going to Mallorca to experience it if you’re based in Europe. Unless you’re English, then just stay home and give the rest of the world a chance. Yet it does not quite have enough about it to warrant a stay were you to travel from afar to get there. It doesn’t quite have that je ne sais quoi that a property like Aman Venice has.
I will not lie and say that our experience was somehow not due to both of us knowing the GM extremely well – we were flagged up to such an extent it was almost humorous. But even with that, it was evident there are some very good staff here.
Whilst the property is small, it seems to pack in (almost) everything I’d want; an outdoor garden, indoor bar, plenty of seating areas, comfortable indoor dining and a rooftop pool and seating area. Sure, I only have a few days left to live due to the impacts of spending 2 days next to a toxic warehouse of human infliction, but it’s a small price to pay when the price started off this low for something so….good.