We just love properties steeped in history and Glòria de Sant Jaume is exactly that. Set in a small alleyway in the heart of the city, it was built in the 16th century as a thank-you to the Catalan nobility who helped the street’s namesake conquer Palma. It remained the home of the great and the good of the city until the 19th century when its owners sought absolution by giving half the house away to a convent. Until this day, nuns live in the building, so it was unsurprising to look up during tea one day in the hotel’s courtyard garden and see a lady in a habit smiling down at us.
The fancy lobby pulls together four centuries of architecture into a space for today’s travellers – chic, modern and playful all at the same time. We were impressed – the property is listed, so it can’t have been easy to make the hotel’s contemporary needs work around its period features.
The staff were very friendly throughout our stay, although we’d say that there were times when the building’s history was overegged. You can’t blame them for being passionate about the hotel’s heritage, but the place is authentic enough in its own right.
We adored one of the best rooms in the house on the top floor (ironically, it’s where the servants used to live), much more bijou and urban Parisian than some of the other suites we experienced on the island. In fact, everything at the Glòria is more intimately proportioned, perhaps suiting those who want to explore the city rather than escape from it all in a weekend hideaway.
Downstairs, where the house’s well and water source once were, we bathed in the hotel’s basement pool, not to mention in one of the two plunge pools offered by the Glòria (the other being on the roof).
In the hotel’s restaurant, we grazed on delicious Balearic-Asian fusion and, considering the food was so good, were surprised to find we were just one of a handful of Sunday-lunch diners.
Carrer de Sant Jaume 18, 07012 Palma
Photography by Philippe Degroote