“I am passionate about architecture and design, about art and nature, about food and wine. That is my life!” If Miguel Conde sounds happy, that’s because he is following one of the prescribed formulas for joy—turning what he loves to do into his work. Today, following his studies in Barcelona, he lives in Mallorca, where his work includes finding, renovating, and transforming old palaces into new hotels and sampling experiences that he can then incorporate into his properties.
I am involved from the very first moment that I visit a building—and then 100 percent! It becomes an obsession.
I really love architecture. That is why, when I started my career, I was doing renovations in Barcelona. Of course, I didn’t know what I was doing until I did it! And then I came to Mallorca, which has always been very special to me. It’s truly one of the most amazing places in the world, with beautiful countryside and incredible beaches and coves, to say nothing of Palma, which is one of the largest, best preserved old cities in Spain. Everywhere fantastic properties are waiting to be restored. I immediately knew that I wanted to be a part of that, to help the area, to add beauty. With Sant Jaume, for example, the original structure’s interior was very dark with a lot of walls. I wanted to bring in light. To create emotion and movement!
It has a huge, well-maintained historical center where people live and work—so it’s not just a museum. And from an international perspective, Palma is very well positioned to become one of the most fashionable cities in Europe—in fact I think it is!
I’m always in the market to buy! I know what’s for sale, what’s available. I normally visit a lot of properties, but only a few times do I arrive and say, “This is it!” When I saw (what would become) Sant Jaume, I knew immediately that it was perfect: great flavor, great street, a fantastic neighborhood. True, when I first saw the property it was a mess, but I had such a good feeling. It’s hard to explain; it’s a sensation. For me, it’s always, “No, no, no.” But with this one I knew it was a “yes” in 10 minutes!
I think it’s important to create a space that adds to the city, that is part of its location and connects people to that local experience. I love it when a businessperson comes in and says, “Miguel, your hotel makes it better here. It improves the neighborhood.” Also, when I stay in a hotel I don’t want to be a number, say, room 373. I want the people there to know me, where I like to sit, how I like my coffee, what time I like to have dinner. It has to be personal. The hotel has to be an extension of your home.