Even before the amazing Hotel Corazón opened in June of this year, I couldn’t wait to check it out. A couple of Fridays ago, together with my Charles Marlow colleagues Suria and David, I got the chance.
Midway between Deià and Sóller, Hotel Corazón is a 15-room hotel, farm, restaurant, art space and shop. It’s owned and run by first-time hoteliers and long-term creators photographer Kate Bellm and artist Edgar Lopez.
Kate has lived in Deiá for some years now. She’s the author of the hefty coffee table book La Isla.
Vogue described this as chronicling ‘a dreamy, carefree and oddly languorous existence of swimming, diving, skateboarding, and nude knitting on the coasts and in the underwater caves and amidst the cactus groves of Mallorca.’
The hotel’s website emphasises that this is somewhere radically different from the usual Mallorca luxury, boutique or ecotourism hotel.
Hotel Corazón challenges guests or rather ‘like-minded strangers’, ‘to be yourself or find yourself. Anything is possible and encouraged; you can’t break the rules because there are none.’
From the outside, Hotel Corazón looks like a traditional Mallorcan finca. It was formerly a farm growing produce for the local community. But once I passed through the classically beautiful entrada, it felt like time and space were starting to flow differently.
Deià architects Moredesign have created a space where, as co-founder Oro told me, ‘fused with the backbone of the classic seigneurial house, we designed continuous spaces that were very flowy, very open. Less conservative and rigid, more experimental, pop and fun. Working with Kate, Moredecor filled that space with objects and art from their travels.’
The colour tones used by Moredesign enhance this sense of gently flowing into a new way of being. Muted, earthy with a lot of terracotta, alabaster, ceramic, clay and natural stone.
A beatifically smiling long-haired, bearded dude named Oscar greet me at reception. It felt like he was genuinely pleased to see us.
The reception desk itself was the exact opposite of what you’re met with at a typical Mallorca hotel. I found out later that it had been made by current resident artist Yasmin Bawa to resemble Kate’s ‘favourite rock’.
We checked out the hotel’s merch while waiting to be shown to our table on the mercifully shaded terrace. Suria said it was the first time she’d seen anything in a hotel store she’d actually want to buy, including vividly-coloured dresses and rock and roll band style Corazón t-shirts.
I quite agreed. The scented oils and botanica candles on display, along with a couple of pairs of very cool cowboy boots looked tres cool.
In syncretic faiths like Santería, you light botanica candles decorated with images of saints to manifest something you’d like in your life such as money or love.
Sadly, the candles aren’t for sale — yet. Oscar told me that every day someone asks him if they can buy one. It turns out they’re made on the island and infused with the aromas of rosemary and palo santo, a sacred tree native to South America. I just love the attention to detail.
The rock and roll vibe is a nod to Deià’s deep connection to the music. Rock and rollers such as Daevid Allen, Robert Wyatt and Kevin Ayers all spent time here. The list of performers who’ve hung out in the village is long. Musician and painter Paul Simonon who’s just made a great album with Kevin’s daughter Galen often visits.
So, it was fitting that just as we’d sat down, David bumped into an old friend from the village who was with legendary rock and roll and reggae photographer Adrian Boot. David interviewed Adrian a few days later for this blog. Read the interview here.
Adrian was Bob Marley’s official photographer. Seriously impressive.
The rock and roll and Latin American imagery and the fact that the terrace with its dramatic views over Sóller valley was surrounded by cacti and succulents primed me for a Mexican-themed menu.
It was not to be. The menu at Hotel Corazón is another surprise. Featuring mostly vegetarian and vegan dishes and plenty of raw ingredients, our plates were a quiet riot of fresh delicious greenery.
The menu is the creation of chef Grace Berrow. Grace spent the first year of her life in Deià and lived with her family on a boat in Sóller. She’s formerly an owner of and chef at much-loved Patiki Beach in Port de Sóller.
For Grace, being chef at Hotel Corazón has been ‘a joy, really lovely. Kate and Edgar are true creatives. The values and purpose of the hotel are so in line with how I feel. It’s great to work with people with whom you share values.’
Grace’s philosophy behind the menu is to keep it seasonal. She uses whatever raw materials are at their best at a particular time.
‘I do as little to the ingredients to bring their raw magic to life as I can,’ she told me. ‘I just like to make the ingredients shine. It’s really important to me that the plates look and feel fresh.’
They certainly did.
I told Grace I was a little surprised that the menu wasn’t Latin American themed. ‘We’ll probably do more supper clubs or taco-y things in the winter,’ she said laughing. ‘Going into autumn, there’ll be lots of broths, soups and slow braised meats. Our menu is very much what Kate and Edgar like to eat. Kate’s very passionate about nutrition.’
David ordered an enormous pavlova and three forks afterwards. Another great taste collision.
Kate Bellm told Vogue Spain that what drove her and Edgar to open Hotel Corazón was the idea of creating a space in gratitude to the community and inviting friends and like-minded visitors.
Chef Grace and Oro of Moredesign backed this up.
‘Creating Corazón was a beautiful adventure among friends,’ Oro told me. ‘It was a very sweet and family-like experience.’
This sort of explains why Hotel Corazón feels the way it does. It’s as much about a gang of creative friends indulging themselves as it is being successful. Which makes a nice change for Mallorca.
Looking to the future, Oro hopes the hotel will become ‘like a clubhouse, a hangout joint where we can bring kids and dogs, eat fresh food, watch open air cinema, listen to bands. What we’re missing in Deià is that kind of open house and community feeling.’
For me, personally, joining Charles Marlow feels kind of similar. My values align with the values of the team and I want to play my part in creating a sense of community. It was really wonderful to see such a tangible representation of this spirit at Hotel Corazón.
Incidentally, I went back to Corazón with Charlie Hill co-creator of Charles Marlow and a guest a week or so later. Oscar remembered who I was and greeted me with another megawatt smile. I love his energy.