Sometimes you eagerly wait to watch your favorite soccer team play — and they give in within five minutes. From an own goal.
But then the disappointment is dispelled as they rally and win 4-1 with a boastful performance, including a goal courtesy of a 35-yard screamer after a 20-pass build-up.
It’s an apt(ish) analogy of my experience at the new Concepcio by Nobis hotel in Palma, which is part of the elite Design Hotels portfolio, an organization that manages some of the world’s finest properties.
Ted Thornhill has checked in to Concepcio by Nobis in Palma, a 31-room hotel in the Design Hotels portfolio. Pictured here is the highly Instagrammable plunge pool, where the ‘drama’ of Ted’s bread began…
The hotel has been converted into a hotel by the Swedish studio Wingardhs and the Spanish firms Jordi Herrero Arquitectors and Eduardo Garcia Acuna Arquitecto
Concepcio is a worthy recording, but first impressions were spoiled.
Shortly after arriving, we ordered some hummus at the plunge pool in the courtyard, 10 minutes before the poolside service ended, at 7pm.
But the dish lacked the required amount of raw vegetables, so I went to the restaurant a few minutes after 7pm and asked if we could have some bread to mop up the (delicious) hummus.
“I’m afraid the pool service has ended,” I was told.
“But I just want some bread,” I replied, eyebrows raised as far as I could. “With the hummus we’re still eating.”
“The shift is over,” I was told again.
We were alone at the pool. The restaurant was not busy. But no bread.
Pictured here is the dining room. Breakfast is served here and in the evening it becomes the slick Xalest restaurant
Concepcio by Nobis is named after its location, Carrer de la Concepcio. This is a central arterial road that leads you straight to the beautiful maze-like medieval Old Town
I was dissatisfied with this jobworth-esque customer service, especially considering the hotel’s position as a luxury retreat.
When we returned to our room the next night, the cleaning staff had not cleared the towels in the bathroom and I began to think of a headline: ‘The bathroom towel and the bread delivering mess that shames the Balearic Islands’.
I know, an overreaction (and the lawyers wouldn’t like that). But I had high hopes and even my partner, who is a very forgiving nature, agreed that the hotel should reassess its towel and bread protocols.
However, when we checked out six nights later, we bumped into the wait staff and sincerely swore to return.
What happened? Concepcio turned on the magic – and seduced us.
The interior design and architecture were the first stage in the temptation.
The 31-bedroom hotel occupies a site that dates back to the mid-16th century and is a property that has been a soap factory and private residence.
Beautiful green and white handmade watercolor style tiles run through the bedrooms and public areas
There is very little in Concepcio by Nobis that is not worth a photo shoot
This image shows exactly how Concepcio fits into the tangled web of the buildings in Palma’s Old Town. The green staircase you can see in this image leads from the pool to the restaurant
The light shade of the Christmas tree in the restaurant was one of Ted’s favorite design elements
Swedish studio Wingardhs and Spanish firms Jordi Herrero Arquitectors and Eduardo Garcia Acuna Arquitecto have done a fantastic job renovating the building, combining chic modernity with old-world elegance.
It was getting harder and harder to hold a towel and bread based grudge in a hotel that looked so damn good.
The eye-catching inventory of designer furniture, lighting and accessories – I especially liked the light shade of the Christmas tree in the restaurant – the grand staircase, the beautiful green and white handmade watercolor style tiles that run through the bedrooms and public areas, the alluring black beams and doors. It was all so very photogenic. Hell, even the blacklight switches were worth a cover shoot.
And that plunge pool in the courtyard – beautiful. A paradise for Instagrammers.
Then there was the location.
Concepcio by Nobis is named after its location, Carrer de la Concepcio, a central thoroughfare that leads you straight to the beautiful maze-like medieval old town – and its abundance of epic wine bars, cafes and restaurants.
El Camino, pictured, is an excellent tapas restaurant a few minutes’ walk from Concepcio, run by Englishman Eddie Hart, who co-founded London’s famous Barrafina restaurants
Of the latter, we discover a few superstars: Polka Dot Pattern (slightly outside the old town on C. de la Fabrica), aromata (two minutes walk from Concepcio), Botanic at Can Bordoy Grand House & Garden (ten minutes walk from Concepcio, enchanting area) and The route, a first-class tapas restaurant a few minutes’ walk away, run by Englishman Eddie Hart, who co-founded London’s famous Barrafina restaurants.
We sat at the long marble counter for lunch and between bites of exquisite food – including sublime scallops with a spicier sauce and impeccable jamon croquettes – and sips of excellent wine (even the four euro glass was heavenly) we watched with smug amusedness as our multi-tasking waiter turned down one person after another at the door hoping to get a walk-in seat.
Booking is a very sensible maneuver.
Riding the pre-war tram from Soller to Port de Soller (pictured) is great fun – for the whole family
Strolling through the super cute village of Valldemossa in Mallorca, pictured, is an absolute must
The more or less secret Cala Tuent on the north side of Mallorca. To reach this breathtaking bay you have to drive on one of the most spectacular roads in Europe
The alien Drach caves. The entrance fee includes a classical concert, with the musicians sitting in a boat
Concepcio also excels in the catering department – it delivered the most majestic room service burger I will probably ever have, I had the most gloriously fruity cava in living memory at the slick Xalest restaurant (the tapas was good too) and breakfast (in the same room) was always pure joy, not only because the chefs rustled up the creamiest omelettes every morning, but because the cheerful waiters were always on their game.
The hospitable, always helpful reception staff also receive a tip.
By the time we had worked through our week-long itinerary of fattening up in local restaurants, ambling through the super cute village of Valldemossa, driving around spectacular switchbacks to reach the hidden pearl beach of Cala Tuent, riding the fun antebellum(s) tram from Soller to Exploring Port de Soller and the Otherworldly Drach Caves on the far east side of the island, Concepcio led 4-1.
See you next year!
The view of Mallorca after take off from Palma (top of photo)
Ted and his family were hosted by Concepcio by Nobis for one night and paid for another five nights.
Rooms from £246. Come visit www.concepciobynobis.com For more information.
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