Hotel Cort is a 19th-century bank given a boutique beachy makeover by designer Lázaro Rosa-Violán – with madcap Moorish tiled floors, maritime-chic suites and island-inspired flotsam and jetsam, including surfboards and models of yachts. This Balearic bolthole is close to the beach, but it’s worlds away from a run-of-the-mill resort; the locally loved restaurant and bar spills out into historic Plaça de Cort – a lively and landmark-laced Mallorquin meeting spot.
Bottle of cava in your room on arrival
In the know
Also need to know:
For disabled guests there’s a lift, and Room 11 – a Junior Suite on the first floor – is adapted for guests with mobility issues. Smokers can enjoy a surreptitious puff on the restaurant terrace or the sun porch.The hotel’s eye-catching design is the work of Lázaro Rosa-Violán, who’s a dab hand at hip hotels – he’s given a va-va-voom makeover to sophisticated Argentinian Smith stay Hotel Pulitzer too.
A fold-up map of Palma to navigate the myriad alleyways leading off from the main square. If you’re not shy, you needn’t pack a bikini – on some Mallorcan beaches your birthday suit will suffice.
This city-centre spot is the place to be seen; ensure you will be in bright-white or tropically toned outfits, and jewellery that sparkles in the sunlight.
Mr and Mrs Smith reviews
Hotel Cort is in a city square. It’s a bruised stone building with shutters flopping open to reveal its boozy innards. Little tables outside wobble on the cobbles while people mumble in a cocktail of different languages. Behind the stone walls is a small selection of brilliant rooms. They are all connected by a baffling series of corridors and terraces. I want to write that it’s a bit like a 3D chessboard but I’m not sure what one of those is. It’s like staying in an Escher drawing, but way sexier and less creepy. Let me start by saying that it’s the very definition of a Mr & Mrs Smith hotel for me. It’s a heaving, crumpled, romantic old beast of a building that feels intimate, modern and easy inside. You can waft in and out as you please and use it as a base to explore from. You can also hole up in the room doing nothing, with the mumbling of the town square and the church bells outside to remind you that you’re on holiday.
Did you know that Mallorca is the perfect place for a city break? I didn’t. I had no idea. I also found out the hard way in front of our taxi driver that Palma and Parma are two different places and we were in not that had no affiliation with ham. I thought Mallorca was going to be Irish pubs, the Macarena and middle-aged Brits that look like leather sofas waddling around fighting and kissing each other. Palma has none of that. Looking out onto the square outside the hotel, you could be staying in a delightful city in France, Italy or indeed, Spain.
The star of the square is an olive tree that has got way out of hand. It’s so old that it’s given up growing upwards and has basically just started hugging itself into a chode of barky arms. There’s a church with a bell that goes off every few minutes. There’s a breeze. It’s always there. It’s really hard not to smoke. If an alien David Attenborough was making a documentary about humans and he wanted to make a point about the fact we like to gather in squares, he and his film crew would use this one.
Our room was great – it was sort of colonial. Wooden shutters. Wood panelling. Bright. Clean. Overlooking the square with little balconies. There was a separate living room bit next to the sleepy bed bit. Massive bed. Double shower. (Seems romantic at first but then all you really want to do is wash your pits and parts without Mrs Smith seeing.) There was a hot tub on a little roof terrace next door. Fluffy robes. Slippers. Padding around. Whispering. Lovely stuff.
Let’s talk tech. I warn you now I’m going to rant about technology. I know it doesn’t seem that sexy but technology plays a large role in my enjoyment of a hotel. Over the years I’ve built up an arsenal of equipment that makes me ready for any situation. I carry the following: an HDMI lead, a four-way plug adaptor with a foreign convertor, Google Chromecast and every possible variation of audio lead to plug into the stereo. I carry them all in a beige bag I refer to in my head as the ‘tote bag of tech’. Mrs Smith always looks excited when I pull it out the suitcase, presumably hoping it’s full of handcuffs. It’s hard not notice her face drop as I feverishly untwine an ethernet cable. What Mrs Smith doesn’t realise is that some of the sexiest and most romantic times in our life have been facilitated by technology. We love Babington House. We stay there once a year. It’s our special place (along with the whole advertising industry.) The rooms have great TVs and they’re set up like home: Sky and a DVD player. There’s a library of current films for free that you have the fun/stress of picking together. You take a few back to your room, light a fire, order wine and burgers and snuggle up. It’s heaven and very few hotels get this right. I always end up plugging my computer into the TV. So… how does Hotel Cort stack up? Well, it’s got the right idea but it’s not quite there. There’s an HDMI slot by the sofa so that geeks like me can get straight into the system – if you have a lead. They offer iPads with useful content but music has to be played through the television and the on-demand service was ropey. They’ve thought about it all and probably spent a lot of money but you just want to pick up a remote control, snuggle into bed and watch a brilliant film without getting your laptop or lead involved.
Is anybody still reading this? I’ll liven things up a bit.
Let’s talk about the day I accidentally took Mrs Smith to Magaluf. To cut a long story short, the beach club we were booked in at (Nassau) gave our sunbeds to a hotter couple. We looked up another beach club on our phones. Café del Mar popped up. Oooohh! We loved Ibiza back in the day. What’s more I read an article once that said Mallorca was the new Ibiza. I called up and the woman at the end spoke perfect English and said there were VIP beds available. I booked them without consulting Mrs Smith. It took one hell of a sales job to convince her to get into the taxi. She said: ‘It’s not going to be anything like Café del Mar in Ibiza, they’ve just licensed the name.’ I persisted.
We drove a long way. A really long way; my heart sank as I saw the sign that said ‘Welcome to Magaluf’. I didn’t even know Magaluf was in Mallorca. All I knew was that people that I don’t like call it 'Shagaluf'. We drove past a series of Irish pubs playing the Macarena and swerved to avoid people who looked like leather sofas fighting and kissing each other. You can’t miss Café del Mar, it’s behind KFC. I couldn’t help noticing that it was nothing like Café del Mar in Ibiza and they’d probably just licensed the name. We took one look at our VIP sunbed and free cocktail then drove straight back to the safety of Hotel Cort to wire up my laptop to the telly and watch a film.
Can I just point out that we don’t just watch films the whole time when we’re away? We usually watch one film. We also have romantic time. (Sometimes even twice.) Through my mistakes and discoveries I can help you have a perfect weekend break. I’m almost reluctant to share this information as it’s something I’ll be doing again and again. Definitely stay at Hotel Cort. It’s magnificent. Have dinner there in the square. In the day, go to Beach Club Gran Folies. It’s paradise. Drink cocktails by the pool, dive off cliffs, eat food under the shade looking out to sea. In the evening, have dinner back in Palma at Patrón Lunares. It’s quirky and delicious. And it’s really easy to get to Palma. Mrs Smith and I, and my HDMI lead, will be back there soon.
Plaça de Cort 11, Palma de Mallorca, Mallorca, 07012
0.0 mi / 0.0 km from city centre
- Internet services
- Onsite laundry
The restaurant may look like a wayward trattoria, with wine bottles lining the walls and nautical knick-knacks – set to a soundtrack of animated Spanish conversation – but this clutter is carefully considered to create a cosy unpretentious space. Foie-gras ravioli, steak tartare and cod confit grace the hotel’s Mediterranean and Mallorquin menu, and the restaurant’s Raw Bar dishes up ceviche and oysters sourced straight from the sea. The kitchen is fabulously flexible too: if you’re vegetarian, lactose intolerant or require gluten-free meals, they’ll whip something tasty up – and they serve a top-notch home-made breakfast here.
Join the lively crowd at the Raw Bar to put the old oyster-aphrodisiac myth to the test.
You can wine and dine all day at the restaurant from 7.30am to midnight.
Generous ham and cheese platters, salads, light meals (grilled chicken) and a tempting array of desserts are available around the clock; order from the restaurant menu from 7.30am to midnight.
The bar is part of the restaurant, serving classic cocktails, spirits and an impressive selection of wines – take a glance at the bottles on the wall to see what tickles your fancy. Order a glass of robust Mallorcan red and take it to the terrace on the square to watch well-heeled locals wander by.