Boutique Hotel Sant Jaume

Rooms 36   Architecture Cristina Martí Crespi   Interior Design Miguel Conde
The Original Miguel Conde

Hotels Facts & Figures
Rooms
36
Architecture
Cristina Martí Crespi
Interior
Design Miguel Conde
The Original Miguel Conde

Miguel Conde

Reinventing the Past

This transplanted Catalan entrepreneur has made Mallorca his home and proving ground, transforming old structures into new hospitality experiences.

“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.

One of the important things for me is to present the real Mallorca to guests. We live in a world now where things are becoming very much the same.

Miguel Conde

One of the important things for me is to present the real Mallorca to guests. We live in a world now where things are becoming very much the same.

Miguel Conde

How much do you personally get involved in the look of your hotels or, say, the cuisine in a restaurant?

I am involved from the very first moment that I visit a building—and then 100 percent! It becomes an obsession.

 

But what is it about a hotel that drives you?

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!

 

What is the process of discovery like for you when it comes to finding a building that could become a hotel?

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!

 

Your chef at Sant Jaume, Tomeu Caldentey, is the first Mallorcan to earn a Michelin star. Tell me how you two came to work together.

I met Tomeu through mutual friends and, from the first moment, we had a great connection. I explained the project to him and he was very excited. He had done restaurants on the other side of the island but he and I both found it strange that in Palma it was very difficult to find good Mallorcan food. He wanted to change the idea of food in the city, and I strongly believe that a restaurant is critical to the hotel experience. Through the food, you can show part of the culture of the property’s location. And one of the important things for me is to present the real Mallorca to guests. We live in a world now where things are becoming very much the same.

 

What is the biggest mistake that hotels make?

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.

 

 

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