In the heart of Palma de Mallorca, an old abandoned house with a large garden is brought back to life by the award-winning design of Spanish studio OHLAB. Welcome to the “Can Bordoy - Grand House and Garden” luxury hotel, a 24-room boutique hotel with a swimming pool and spa, located in the historic heart of town. With a floor area of some 2,500 sq. m spread over multiple floors, the old building was completely renovated while respecting its hallmark romantic atmosphere and eclectic style.
Headquartered in Palma de Mallorca and directed by Paloma Hernaiz and Jaime Oliver, OHLAB did both the external architecture and interior design. Inspired by the principles behind kintsugi, the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with gold dust, the OHLAB team spent three years working on the Can Bordoy hotel. Indeed, the architects explain that just as the Japanese technique enhances fractures rather than concealing them, their work on the existing building enhanced the elements enriched over more than 500 years of history, while keeping them distinct from the new elements.
The hotel’s ground floor opens onto a large garden where the restaurant’s external dining is located, in a green area that, together with the inner courtyard and the panoramic rooftop terrace, comprises the complex’s total 1,000 sq. m outdoor space.
The interior design was conceived to evoke the rooms of a house rather than a hotel; there is an entrance hall rather than a hotel reception, a restaurant that resembles a dining room, rooms and lounges that look like the rooms of a house, and so on.
After analyzing the building’s various construction phases, restoration was undertaken of dilapidated or missing parts using simple, appropriate materials like lime-based mortars, traditional plasters and stucco, as well as high-quality natural stone. At a later stage, work was carried out to convert spaces to their new uses, adopting an approach conceived to create dialogue with the existing architecture.
In the room that houses the reception and bar, a mirrored ceiling conceals the new installations while doubling the space. The main staircase is lit by a skylight flooded with water, a small pool with a see-through bottom that creates an interplay of light and reflections. In the bedrooms, beds and nightstands finished in walnut and velvet, topped off with brass-shaded lamps, create intimate and delicate spaces that contrast with the rustic texture of the existing walls and ceiling. The new en-suite bathrooms are concealed by outsized velvet curtains reminiscent of a stage setting. In the building’s basement, the spa is surrounded by the building’s original 12th-century stone walls, exposed concrete structural reinforcement, and natural stone finishes.
Furniture forms a vital part of the design: the eclecticism of the architecture is reflected in the selection of furniture from different periods, hailing from both the island and European capitals. Local crafts and antiques are juxtaposed with the furnishings already in the building, alongside carefully selected contemporary furniture. OHLAB also custom-designed a number of elements specifically for Can Bordoy, including the collection of beds and the bar furniture in all rooms.
Location: Palma de Mallorca, Spain
Client: Mikael Hall Completion: 2019
Gross Floor Area: 2,500 m2
Architecture, Interior Design and Landscape Masterplan: OHLAB
Structural: Hima Estructuras
MEP: Ingenio Consultores
Landscape: Salva Cañís
Acoustics: Tafor Consulting
Photography by José Hevia, courtesy of OHLAB
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