Puro Hotel first opened its doors in 2004, so the guest rooms were ready for a redo 12 years later. (That’s a lifetime for hotels, which tend to undergo renovations every seven years or so.) “It looked really ’90s—dark floors and glass handrails. It could’ve been anywhere in the world,” says Jaime Oliver, principal of OHLAB, the local firm commissioned to begin a phased renovation of the hotel, starting with 22 guest rooms.
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The 51-key property is located in Palma, the cosmopolitan capital of Mallorca, Spain, and it is situated on the grounds of an 18th-century palace in the city’s historic La Lonja district. OHLAB’s brief was to transform the hotel’s rooms into earthy sanctuaries filled with spalike features and a strong sense of the island itself, which has an exotic history influenced by Roman, Moorish, and Spanish conquests.
Taking advantage of the building’s irregular configuration, the architects gave each guest suite a unique layout. To achieve the spalike atmosphere the client wanted, they gave the en suite baths unusual pride of place in the rooms. While bathroom floor plans are not identical, many mandate tubs visible from or even inside the living areas. In one room, the architects plumbed one of their freestanding, sculptural bathtubs next to a mezzanine staircase well inside the living space.
According to OHLAB cofounder Paloma Hernaiz, “Instead of designing one model room, a series of strategies keeps the atmosphere coherent.” Chief among those strategies was maintaining the same material palette across all the rooms.
Room No. 10, for example, incorporates this palette in its own unique layout. The 425-square-foot suite, with a living room and bath on the entry level, has a sleeping loft on a mezzanine accessible by a stair with a natural hemp balustrade. Except for a pair of doors carved with mandalas, which slide to separate the bathing and living areas (the only original elements that the architects kept intact), the bath is designed as an extension of the main room—practically on display.
The tub sits directly under a ceiling-mounted showerhead. There is no enclosure for privacy, only a clear floor-to-ceiling glass partition separating the fixtures from a trough-style sink. The glass prevents unwanted splashing, but when the carved doors are open, bathing becomes an act of theater, with the living area as the front row.
In line with the project’s brief, the bath’s material palette connects it to the local culture and imparts a calming aesthetic. The texture and profile of a custom concrete sink on one wall are inspired by old stone drinking troughs found in Mallorca’s countryside; a wood plank shelf beneath it provides simple open storage for towels. The architects added a contemporary touch by eschewing traditional light fixtures for LEDs, hidden from view in channels along the floor’s edges and behind the mirror, to give the space a warm, dramatic glow. Phase 2 of the renovation—OHLAB’s second act—will begin in late 2018 and include the redesign of the ground floor, common areas, and the hotel’s other guest rooms. Stay tuned.
Rebecca Lavín, José Allona, Amaia Barazar, Rosa Fuentes, Silvia Morais, Manuela Sánchez, Jorge Ramón
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