Holed up in a fabulous fortress
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.
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