Situated between the World Heritage Tramuntana Mountains and the Mediterranean Sea, a new gem of luxury and relaxation was unveiled with great fanfare in Mallorca. Richard Branson’s Son Bunyola Hotel, a Virgin Exclusive Edition, opened its doors in late June to guests seeking a truly majestic retreat. Spanning over 200 hectares (680 acres) of unspoiled natural beauty, the Son Bunyola estate is surrounded by recently planted vineyards, citrus orchards, olive groves and awe-inspiring mountain vistas rolling down to the seashore.
Guests looking for a peaceful sanctuary of tranquillity and calm will find a secluded haven. The property has been transformed, blending contemporary elegance with its rustic charm. The décor is inspired by the island’s colour palate, nature and culture, with neutral tones and soft olive hues, original stone flooring, wood-beamed ceilings and antique wooden doors, rustic wood furniture and traditional Mallorcan woven fabrics. Each of the 26 beautifully designed rooms and suites has its unique character, including two striking Tower Suites, one of which was originally a 13th-century defence tower. Rooms offer stunning views towards the sea, lush gardens and mountains, and some have private balconies. The overall effect is sumptuous yet unpretentious and feels homely.
The mid-summer opening ceremony attracted many distinguished guests, celebrities, and industry leaders gathered to witness the unveiling. The sophisticated celebration included live music and showcased the hotel’s excellent cuisine. Naturally one of the highlights of the event was the presence of Sir Richard Branson, who shared his passion and vision for his latest hotel.
”I fell in love with this property twenty-five years ago – as I fell in love with Deià almost fifty years ago. It took me as long to get people into space as it did to build Son Bunyola,” he said half-jokingly, alluding to the fact that he was due to start a galactic journey soon after. He recalled the ups and downs he has gone through to move the hotel forward, having sold it many years ago and then re-purchasing it in 2018, primarily due to the difficulty in obtaining permits. “The positive thing about it taking so long to make it a reality is that the environment and its coast have been preserved. We have to fight to keep it that way. “
In his address to guests, Branson spoke about the vision behind the Virgin Exclusive Edition brand, emphasising commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility. In restoring Son Bunyola, great efforts were made to preserve the original building, incorporate eco-friendly practices and keep its natural surroundings. The property harnesses renewable energy sources and utilises energy-efficient technologies, with a biomass boiler powered by recycled wood chippings. Water is from a natural well, with grey water being reused for irrigation.
Branson’s charisma and enthusiasm were palpable as he interacted with guests, sharing personal anecdotes and insights into the hotel’s creation. I enjoyed chatting with the man who has transformed industries and left an indelible mark on the world. He shared with me the Son Bunyola estate is open for everyone to enjoy. Non-resident guests can stop by for a coffee, lunch, dinner, or a cocktail on the terrace of Restaurant Sa Terassa or tapas in Sa Tafona, housed within the historic olive press.
I was delighted to see Branson’s vision for the hotel includes an extensive array of wellness activities and services. There is a stunningly positioned 28-metre infinity pool (heated in cooler months) with an adjacent jacuzzi, and two treatment rooms offering a wide array of facials, body treatments and massage. Complimentary yoga and pilates sessions are offered most days as well as private lessons, with a complimentary yoga mat for all guests. A long list of activities is also available to keep the family occupied, including tennis, hiking, cycling, watersports, creative workshops and cookery classes, with a fun array of activities available for children.
The opening of the Son Bunyola Hotel, the latest addition to the Virgin Exclusive Edition, marks the beginning of a remarkable chapter in Mallorca’s hospitality landscape. The combination of Richard Branson’s visionary leadership and the breathtaking beauty of the Son Bunyola estate has resulted in a new standard of environmentally respectful luxury retreat. As the doors of this exquisite hotel open to guests, they are invited to embark on a transformative journey of relaxation, luxury, and environmental consciousness. The opportunity to relax in such a serene and idyllic environment is truly a gift for the soul.
Amanda J Butler – Wellness Warrior and Founder of wellnesstraveller.co. The new destination for wellness in Mallorca – www.wellnesstraveller.com