The Cort Will Rise: Hotel Cort, Mallorca
The eggs benedict is/are perfect, the poached eggs flipped carefully over the tumescence of Pantone-yellow yolk that gently floods the plate and the bread as the knife punctures the skin. The fruit platter had been extensive and delicious, the croissants warm, the yoghurt chilled, the preserves varied and the coffee strong and plentiful. The staff tending the reserved tables in the Plaça de Cort are attentive and friendly and all this is included in the cost, although you would happily pay an obscene premium.
Naturally, the location is also included. In the shadow of the 17th century town hall, the plaça is a mixture of the baroque and all the other periods that superseded it. A focal point of the old town, the locals meet to foment revolution and moan about Les Bermellones, the island’s penurious football team, with elegant disinterest in the business of the many German, Scandinavian and British tourists who drive 80% of the total GDP. If they envy the tables reserved for guests at Hotel Cort, they are giving nothing away.
Room 14 overlooks the plaça and, despite its centrepiece, a 600-year-old olive tree twisted into some vision of horticultural hell that Hieronymus Bosch neglected to paint, the view is as you would desire it, should you be able to choose. The immaculate waiters, white aprons and brillantined hair, move from table to table and the bells from the gothic Iglesia de Santa Catalina ring on the hour, every hour. Time ebbs. The temptation is to drift from bed (more of which later) to breakfast to bed, and then weigh up your options.
In truth, and if you have already seen the old town and ‘La Sue’ (the Cathedral of Santa Maria), there is no reason on a long weekend break to leave the hotel other than to venture out to eat at night and vary the dining experience. This is, of course, the very last word in indolent self-indulgence. And bloody marvellous it is, too. The rooms have everything from a private enoteca (red wine bar) to a pillow menu and the bathrooms are all Molton Brown, walk-in showers and heated towel rail loveliness. But it is the bed that is chief factor mitigating against the wanderlust of the sight-seeing traveller.
Some beds are merely comfortable. This bed elicits an audible gasp upon introduction. The linen is Egyptian cotton but the mattress defies explanation. I don’t care to analyse the technology used in its production lest the magic be ruined, but it is the best use of a king-size space in any hotel room I’ve inhabited in the last 25 years. Parting is indeed sweet sorrow, but a man has to eat and when the sun shines it would seem churlish to ignore its blandishments. For this purpose, the Hotel Cort has supplied a sun deck and a plunge pool, all but unoccupied on my visit, with towels, a direct line to the bar and a fridge full of ice-cold water.
Built on the site of a high street bank dating back to the 19th century and retaining the unorthodox and determinedly random geometric shapes of a children’s puzzle, the hotel ranges over different floors and buildings with a central well populated with spaces for contemplation and relaxation. The interior was designed by celebrated Catalan architect Lázaro Rosa-Violán with a vague maritime feel across most of the 16 suites – it is also close to the beach – but also a pared-back Scandinavian feel deliberately set at odds with crazy Moorish tiled floors. It all feels very now.
There is a ceviche bar on the ground floor that spills into the plaça and is much loved by the locals. The oysters and tuna tartar, prepared on the premises, can be eaten while perched at the bar or in the welcoming, plush seats deeper in the interior of the Majorcan/Mediterranean fusion restaurant. A table is not a problem for residents and it seems one can always be found or a time changed, no matter how short the notice. A recommendation for another restaurant in the city is accompanied by a booking made for you (at the excellent Forn de Sant Joan on this occasion) and a smile.
A generous upgrade policy exists but to be sure of the best spot in the hotel, book the Island Suite, a duplex apartment overlooking the plaça but with a private roof-top terrace looking out to the sea and featuring a jacuzzi, outdoor shower and sunbeds. Inside, there is a fireplace and a freestanding bathtub. As the self-declared raison d’etre of the hotel would have it, ‘EAT/SLEEP/DRINK/LIVE’. Quite. There may be better places in Europe to relax with a large Tanqueray and tonic as the sun sets, but none immediately spring to mind.
Plaça de Cort, 11, 07001 Palma de Mallorca. Visit hotelcort.com or call +34 971 21 33 00 for details. Contact the restaurant on +34 971 21 32 22.