Holed up in a fab­u­lous fortress

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - DESTINATION LUXURY - AZB KNIGHT

If you ar­rive by night at Cap Ro­cat near Palma, on the is­land of Mal­lorca, Spain, torches will be lit, flam­ing along the walls of this mon­u­men­tal for­mer fortress. By day, there’s a panoramic view over the Bay of Palma to wel­come me, plus a warm in­fu­sion of or­ange, car­damom and cin­na­mon, a cold ver­bena-scented towel, an in­vi­ta­tion to pool­side yoga, and a golf buggy at the ready to show me around the es­tate.

Across 2km of pro­tected coast­line, Cap Ro­cat was built in the 19th cen­tury, hewn from the rock on a grand scale to house canons, ar­se­nals and thou­sands of sol­diers. Now, this epic em­pire is ded­i­cated to the com­fort of just 48 guests. My suite is in the in­ner cir­cle of the fort, part of the old de­fence bat­tery with walls that are at least 1m thick. The re­sult is an em­brac­ing quiet, a recipe for the deep­est night’s sleep imag­in­able. The bed is a four-poster, the other fur­ni­ture chic with warm touches such as Moroc­can rugs and an­tique bed­side ta­bles. The bath­room is large; I reckon I could host a cock­tail party for 20 be­tween the tub and the shower.

The crown­ing joy of this suite is its roof ter­race. Break­fast is de­liv­ered to the first level in wicker pic­nic bas­kets; a few steps above, an enor­mous daybed looks out at the sea and glo­ri­ous sun­sets. I’d be con­tent up here all day, with a book and room-ser­vice, were the rest of the ho­tel not so al­lur­ing.

The cen­tre of the fortress, built around a large open court­yard, con­tains a se­ries of spec­tac­u­lar rooms, high ceilinged and fur­nished with a plush gen­eros­ity. In one of th­ese is the fine din­ing restau­rant, La For­taleza, a se­ri­ous space for grown-up eat­ing; the seven-course tast­ing menu can be paired with un­ex­pect­edly re­mark­able Mal­lor­can wines.

It’s an im­pres­sive offering, but my favourite of the two restau­rants is the ca­sual and open-air Sea Club on the cliff’s edge. The menu fea­tures freshly caught fish, crispy squid, paella, sal­ads and ice-cold cava. Lunch, in the form of club sand­wiches, ice cream and cock­tails, can also be brought to you pool­side, or at the ho­tel’s lit­tle “beach”, which is a tended patch of bluff, with a lad­der into the warm sea. Snorkels, pad­dle­boards, kayaks and sun loungers are all laid out.

On vir­tu­ally ev­ery sur­face and in ev­ery cor­ner of Cap Ro­cat you’ll find a blue re­mote but­ton that, when pressed, sum­mons a staff mem­ber to, say, book you a mas­sage, call a taxi, bring a snack or beer, a towel, a bi­cy­cle, a news­pa­per. The ser­vice is im­me­di­ate and charm­ing. When the blue but­ton lies dor­mant, the feel­ing is of bliss­ful soli­tude; even with the ho­tel at ca­pac­ity, it seems like a pri­vate pad.

By the pool, hedges have been planted be­tween the loungers for pri­vacy, and I have my own set of steps into the wa­ter. Look­ing across the sea to the other side of the bay, planes are leav­ing white sky tracks as they take off and land from nearby Palma air­port. Yet here I feel ut­terly, lux­u­ri­ously alone, as if the whole world be­longs to me.

CHECK­LIST

Cap Ro­cat, Ctra. de Cap En­der­ro­cat, 07609 Cala Blava, Mal­lorca, Spain. +34 971 747 878; cap­ro­cat.com.

TAR­IFF: From €450 ($669) a room for two, with break­fast.

GET­TING THERE: A 15-minute cab ride from Palma air­port.

CHECK­ING IN: egant cou­ples.

In­ter­na­tional mix of el-

WHEEL­CHAIR AC­CESS: There are al­ter­na­tive, ramped path­ways to most parts of the ho­tel, but no wheel­chair-adapted gue­strooms.

BED­TIME READ­ING: There’s a good lit- tle li­brary of page-turn­ers and glossy mag­a­zines; meaty clas­sics, too, in­clud­ing vol­umes of Robert Graves, the renowned au­thor and poet who lived and died in nearby Deia.

STEP­PING OUT: The restau­rants, bars and clubs of Palma are a 20-minute hop away by taxi.

BRICK­BATS: be bet­ter.

Bath­room prod­ucts could

BOU­QUETS: Lovely spa; squishy leather sun loungers; a col­lec­tion of snazzy bi­cy­cles and hel­mets for guests to use; break­fast is avail­able all day.

AZB Knight was a guest of Cap Ro­cat.

Scenic lux­ury in a suite at Cap Ro­cat, left; en­trance to the for­mer fortress, above

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