Blink and you’ll miss the turn-off along the curving highway that leads from Palma to Valldemossa on the island of Mallorca. Here, the old farmhouse and converted stables at Son Viscos Agroturisme are practically hidden behind rambling vines and lush surrounding greenery. This is not the same Mediterranean of parched scrubland and sunbaked beaches. Here, in the largest of the Balearic archipelago’s northern Sierra de Tramuntana, the landscape undulates and the canopy envelops.
Before the most recent wave of Mallorcan boutique hotel openings, there was Son Viscos. And a decade after opening under its longtime private homeowners (more recently hoteliers) Michael and Maria Roberts, the inn is settling into a golden era. Today, Michael Roberts and a small staff maintain the look and feel of a family home that might grace the pages of Architectural Digest. His collaborations with Mallorcan chefs, artists, and craftspeople make Son Viscos a worldly destination as well as a center for local creative culture.
A couple of designers, entrepreneurs, and travelers, the Roberts revamped their farmhouse first as a family home before opening it to guests as a bed and breakfast. Perhaps that’s why the centuries’ old inn retains its unique layers of history in form and function, from the original wood beams and dappled stone archways of the manor house and stables to the pristine lime-washed walls of the refurbished guest rooms. Each feels secluded and spacious; all are connected to nature through picture windows, and to the architecture via a flowing neutral color palette. This design choice creates a backdrop for the Roberts’ intentional placement of international art pieces and eclectic antique furnishings.
The Roberts family also own decor shops around the island under their brand Obsolete. So Son Viscos acts as a showroom for those interior design outlets, and a quite effective one, down to the bedrooms’ soft linens and the ambiance in the salon and library, where French perfumer Durance fills the air with fleur d’oranger. An honesty bar stocks bottles that you’ll be tempted to get the backstory on, and come morning, you’ll be following scents and sounds down to the open-air kitchen for a fresh breakfast of local cheeses, charcuterie, fruit, and French bread topped with tomato, sea salt, and olive oil.
The only place left to taste, smell, and touch on property is the terraced vegetable and flower garden, which unfolds before an English-inspired lawn and a natural-fed plunge pool that looks out over the peaks of the Tramuntana. It’s a surprising scene in a destination otherwise known for sun, sand, and sea, but it’s a very welcome one. After all, at some point you’ll need to leave Son Viscos to descend upon the tourist-packed beaches and town centers.
Location: Valldemossa, Mallorca
The Vibe: Imagine if your most stylish world-traveling friends, with impeccable but unfussy taste, opened up their Mediterranean holiday home to overnight visitors. That’s Son Viscos.
Food + Drink: Local chef Gonzalo Retenaga Santamaria is behind a pop-up restaurant on the property called Es Jardí de Son Viscos. Guests and visitors can book their tables for weekend brunch as well as private lunches and dinners, all featuring local products and seasonal produce (see also: fresh-caught seafood paellas). For overnight guests, the daily breakfast spread is a highlight – served in the bright kitchen and on the second-floor terrace.
Amenities: Meant to feel like a home away, the guest house’s amenities are spare but special nonetheless, including a natural plunge pool, on-property garden, communal living room, honesty bar, and occasional workshops and collaborations with local artists and practitioners.
Our Favorite Thing About the Hotel: With just five bedrooms, the intimacy and personal nature of the property can’t be overstated. You’ll see the proprietor, meet the chef, and hopefully converge with other travelers over drinks in the living room, or meals outside in the garden.
What’s nearby?: Valldemossa, Caló de s’Estaca, Cala Deià, Ca’s Patró March, Jardins d’Alfàbia.
Any neighborhood recs?: Take the country roads on a walk to charming Valldemossa. While there, visit Barbaflorida Cafe for lunch or dinner, and save time before or after to visit the Carthusian Monastery, where a complex history dates back to the 1300s. This was where lovers Frederic Chopin and George Sand holed up during the winter of 1838-39, and it still maintains an air of creativity and romanticism.
Rooms: Son Viscos’ five bedrooms include two deluxe rooms, two deluxe superior rooms, and one suite with a large private patio.
Pricing: Starting at 295 euros per night in the high season.
Closest Airport: Palma de Mallorca is 15 miles (25 minutes) by car.
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