La Residencia, a Belmond Hotel, opened on May 17th. As the hotel, voted number two in Spain and Portugal for 2020 by Travel and Leisure, begins a new season with occupancy levels already higher than predicted, we talk to new General Manager Thomas Moons.
Thomas first got to know Mallorca, Deià and La Residencia in 2019 when he was based in Lima, also working for Belmond.
‘My wife and I liked the place and the artistic vibe so much,’ Thomas told me. ‘We were sitting on the terrace of Café Miro here, listening to live music and sipping G&Ts. I thought coming to work at La Residencia would be the ideal scenario for us. Amazingly, that’s exactly what happened. Back in Lima a year later, my boss said, “If you could choose anywhere on the Belmond map where you could choose to work, where would that be?” Right away, I told him Mallorca and here we are. And we’re very happy.’
Thomas has been with Belmond since February 2012. As someone who previously managed enormous hotels with upwards of 300 rooms before he started with the company, he’s more than comfortable overseeing the 72 rooms at La Residencia, especially with his team.
‘The team is extremely experienced,’ he says, ‘and guests come back year after year because of them. In the past few days, I’ve seen guests and staff kissing and hugging on arrival because they haven’t seen each other for so long. That’s part of the beauty of La Residencia. People see it not so much as a hotel but as a residence where they stay with friends.’
Thomas is also delighted with the way the hotel is integrated with the village of Deià and how it reflects the artistic spirit of the village. ‘From the paintings, sculptures and objects you find in every corner of the hotel to the painted plates at our El Olivo restaurant made by our resident artist, it’s clear that art is at the beating heart of the hotel. I’ve never experienced anything quite like this before.’
I mention that I was moved to see that much-loved Deià artist Arturo Rhodes had held a performance on the lawn of La Residencia last week, just days before he passed.
‘Arturo has been part of the hotel for years and years,’ Thomas explains. ‘Every year he did a performance on the opening day of his exhibition and it was eagerly anticipated. This year, Arturo was going through something especially challenging. It was really important for us at the hotel to offer him the opportunity to continue his own tradition. We organised a guest cocktail and informed those who witnessed the performance what was happening with Arturo. Several approached him afterwards to thank him and acknowledge his courage and strength. This was my first guest cocktail event, and it was a privilege that it was such an intense moment.’
This year, guests at La Residencia can enjoy a cocktail of life-affirming experiences.
Tennis aficionados are invited to take part in a tennis weekend with former Association of Tennis Professionals Top 20 Men’s Singles player Nicolás Almagro. The event includes an exclusive tennis clinic with Nicolás and private sessions with another Lux Tennis professional player.
Guests can also take part in a vintage tournament and other tennis-related activities. The event will be rounded off with a celebration dinner at El Olivo at which Nicolás will be present.
La Residencia and its grounds will be filled with the sounds of music throughout the season. The first concert of the season, Bluegrass band The Pilgrims performing in the hotel’s Mirador on June 11 is already oversubscribed, indicating how keen locals are to celebrate the hotel coming back to life.
There will be live music in Café Miro every single day. Café Miro will also offer different Mallorcan and Spanish specialities every evening as part of their new ‘art of aperitivo’ such as a degustation of Spanish cheeses or a Mallorcan gin tasting.
As part of the emphasis on local culture and traditions, the hotel has introduced a pa amb oli – bread and olive oil – and sobrasada sausage station at breakfast where a Mallorcan chef prepares delicious healthy pa amb oli for guests.
Even closer to home and in keeping with La Residencia’s growing emphasis on sustainability, the hotel has created Flor d’Oli, it’s own signature infusion made using olive leaves from La Residencia’s own trees blended with roses from its garden and hints of chamomile and lavender. This has been created in collaboration with Katja Wöhr, founder of luxury Mallorca salt brand Flor de Sal.
The olive tree has also inspired La Residencia’s new capsule jewellery collection designed by Isabel Guarch.
Guests who can tear themselves away from everything that’s happening at the hotel are invited to experience the Mallorcagram, a celebration of our picture-perfect island that explores the north-west coast, taking in beautiful, photogenic locations such as Port de Soller and Fornalutx.
Find out more about what’s happening at La Residencia, a Belmond Hotel, this season here.