21-07-2015Joan Torres

Palma, it is being said, now has more luxury boutique hotels in its old centre than any other European city. There are eighteen at present, to which a further five will be added in 2017.

These hotels don't mean great numbers. Once the five are completed, the 23 hotels will have something over 500 rooms between them, with the average being, therefore, around twenty. Ownership is principally foreign and Catalan.

Of the five new hotels, two will be in the C. Sant Jaume, one of which will be from the Catalan businessman, Miguel Conde, who manages the hotels Can Cera, Calatrava and Can Alomar. In C. Concepció, the twenty-roomed Súmmun Prime Boutique Hotel will open next year. The owner of Bar Bosch is building a boutique hotel in C. Brondo. It will have twelve rooms.

In Sa Gerrería, Conde will be adding the Sa Gerrería Fabrik Hotel by converting the old porcelain factory. He is also behind a hotel being developed away from Palma: Can Aulí Boutique Hotel in Pollensa.

Javier Vich, the president of the Palma Hoteliers' Association, says that Palma has become a city-break hotel destination in which the boutique hotels mark a trend across Europe. The existing eighteen hotels, with some 350 rooms, correspond to the size of a single beachside holiday hotel. "This offer (the boutique hotels) has provided promotional leverage for the revitalisation of restaurants, retailing and culture."

The regional government's director-general for tourism, Pilar Carbonell, has described as "excellent" the commitment of investors to convert old buildings in the city's centre into small luxury boutique hotels. "We are capturing a niche market that we didn't have, one characterised by its spending, which is therefore beneficial for restaurants, shops and cultural attractions." The rehabilitation of old buildings is bringing about, she notes, improvements. "Were it not for these investments, they would remain closed or in a process of deterioration."

Antoni Noguera, the deputy mayor for urban planning, has also highlighted the positive benefits of these hotels in providing a quality of service that is attracting a market segment which offers benefits to the other sectors that both Vich and Carbonell have identified. "The aim now is make sure there aren't too many hotel places. We are committed to sustainable growth and on this we are constantly speaking with the hoteliers' association."

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