The Can Fressa team. | Phoenix Media Mallorca

From Titos to the Can Fressa boutique hotel, Helga Velasco has touched many lives during her years living and working in Mallorca.

Helga Velasco.

How did you come to be in Mallorca?

I am originally from the mainland, but I moved to the UK when I was 22 years old to work. I was working in nightclubs and studying English when I met some people from Mallorca. They invited me to come over for the summer and so I came over. I was introduced to Tony Palmer who gave me a job at BCM and it all started there. They were crazy days in the 90s! Then I moved to Titos and launched Titos (in) which was a special Sunday night event. It was the biggest and most popular night of its kind for years. We filled Tito's with electronic dance music on Sundays, which was something that you couldn’t find in other big clubs at that moment, and it became really popular.

The Can Fressa cafe chefs.

What do you attribute your success to?

You have to be obsessed, you have to work three times more than the other. And you have to be more focused. And I had a great team. Because it was on a Sunday a lot of people had that day off, so I could get the right people to come to work with me, and we worked really well together from the bar staff to security. We would have 2000 people in the building! From the beginning I was given free rein to design the night as I wanted, and I would say that the defining factor was quality.

How do you define “quality”?

We focused on quality music, quality DJs, decoration, everything had to be excellent. But all good things must come to an end eventually and I moved into organising events during the daytime, I worked on all kinds of large events, private and corporate. Throughout all of my work I think the key word is still “quality” which is what everyone wants to have I think.

Poolside at Can Fressa.

Why did you open Hotel Can Fressa?

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When I met my husband he already owned it and had started to renovate it but together we applied for the tourism license and developed it into what it is now. The house has 17 bedrooms, so either we had to have 17 children or open a hotel! It is a traditional Mallorquin stately manor house which once belonged to the descendants of the Viscount of Bearn. It is one of the oldest houses in Alaro and was built in the time of Jaime I the conqueror. Some guests have told me that they have seen or felt ghosts, but I haven’t, they are always very kind to me! Just around the corner you will find the main square of Alaro. The hotel is used by groups and families.

Lunch is served.

And Cafe Can Fressa?

The concept is that we wanted to have somewhere close to the hotel which could serve our guests. There was nowhere so we opened the cafe in 2022. We serve breakfasts, and brunches. We don’t have a set menu and serve fresh food every day. We are open every daytime from 8am, and we are also open on Saturday evenings for dinner. To be a cafe now means a lot. Cafes don’t just serve coffee. We also serve great wines, and cocktails, we serve food, we are a great place to meet and to work remotely. Alaro itself is very popular as a centre for cyclists so we also find we are visited a lot by cycling groups who want to eat lunch with us before they head off again on the road.

Sa Portassa Wine Shop.

How did the wine shop Sa Portassa happen?

The area around Alaro is a lot like Tuscany I think, there are so many amazing vineyards here. Clients and neighbours often want our recommendations for wine or olive oil so we have discovered and gathered together a great selection of wine from local vineyards and also from the mainland and France and we needed a place to store and sell it from. The “Portassa” is a place where the animals would have been kept, out the back of the store you can see the old feed troughs for when it was a stable. We were helped by the mayor of Alaro to open up and they even give us space outside on market days to put out tables to sell wine from. It’s very popular with cycling and private groups as well for tasting sessions. 20% of the population of Alaro is not from Mallorca or Spain. We have international people living all around us, and I love it! I think in another life I was not Spanish for sure. I feel very comfortable with people of different nationalities.

The main hall of Can Fressa.

What is the key to being successful in hospitality?

You have to physically be IN the business day in and day out. And you have to be good to everybody: to your staff and to your clients, and to your suppliers. And I go back to the concept of quality again. It is more expensive at the end of the day, but it is also better. Paying some more for a good quality tomato, for example, is money better spent, than buying a tasteless tomato, do you know what I mean? It comes back to you, it shows your client what matters to you.

Service with a smile.

You can read more about the hotel at and visit Sa Portrassa on Saturday mornings during the Alaro market opening hours. The Can Fressa cafe is open during the daytime and open on Saturday evenings.