A former 16th-century Majorcan finca, the hotel opened its doors on June 16, 2023. It is the first Virgin Limited in Europe, joining the Virgin Limited Edition safari and lodge hotels already present in destinations such as the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean, South Africa, Morocco, Verbier and Kenya.
Hotel Son Bunyola is located in the heart of the Tramuntana mountain range, on a 520-hectare estate that stretches along almost five kilometers of Mediterranean coastline. The estate dates back to the 16th century and has been restored, preserving original features such as the roof tiles, the staircase, the historic oil mill and the old church altar, which now takes center stage in the Sa Terrassa restaurant.
Directed by Gras Architecs, the transformation of the estate into a hotel began in June 2021, with a historic reconstruction project focusing on the existing buildings and structures. The interior was renovated by Mallorca-based interior architects Rialto Living.
The hotel offers 26 rooms and two Tower Suites, one of which is housed in a former 13th-century medieval defense tower, as well as three villas with private pools: Sa Terra Rotja with four rooms, Sa Punta de S'Aguila with five rooms and Son Balagueret with four rooms. There are two restaurants (one of which is open to the public), treatment rooms, a 28-meter swimming pool with Jacuzzi and a tennis court. Activities include outdoor yoga, historical walks, cycling and hiking around the property.
The hotel project has taken more than 20 years to come to fruition due to difficulties in obtaining the necessary permits to restore the property and bring the hotel into service. Richard Branson, founder of the group, had sold Son Bunyola in 2002 failing to obtain a license to develop the estate, then bought it back in 2015 to begin restoration in 2021.
"It's been 25 years since we came to see this building in this beautiful region of Majorca. This building was falling into disrepair, but the grounds were exquisite and the mountains behind it were magnificent. And we thought we could turn it into a very small, beautiful boutique hotel. The planning authorities decided to leave the property as it was, so we sold it and got it back a few years ago. We talked to the authorities and they decided it was better to have a building here than to let the property fall into ruin." - Richard Branson
The addition of this establishment expands Mallorca's luxury offering.
"The northwest coast of Majorca has held a very special place for me since I first visited it with my parents as a child. Today is a momentous day, as we open our magnificent Son Bunyola hotel, after 25 years in the making." - Richard Branson
80% of the 120 employees hired are Spanish, and some of the team currently working at Son Bunyola are children who lived on the property in the 1970s.
The company is also very committed to the environment and reducing its impact: it has recovered the agricultural part of the estate and supplies organic herbs and vegetables to restaurants. In addition, it has 12 beehives and will harvest its first crop of honey in October. She also plans to produce her own olives and almonds by 2024 and her own wine by 2026. To this end, she has planted 2.5 hectares of vines to grow Malvasia.
In addition, the hotel's hot water is preheated using energy recovered from the air-conditioning and cooling systems, and a biomass boiler runs on recycled wood chips to limit the use of propane. Thermal insulation in the building has been improved, and the hotel has its own water purification system.