A quick glance at a map of Spain will have your eyes drift towards the usual suspects. There is little left to be said about Madrid, the fiscal powerhouse of the country, that hasn’t already been said, its royal seat chronicled for centuries, the horrors of the Guernica a calling card for all that leaf through a Lonely Planet guidebook. Barcelona, to the right, the beating heart of Catalonia that meets the Balearic Sea, has largely been defined by its envelope-pushing kitchens; cabinet of footballing honours; and Gaudí’s flowing, organic lines and madcap constructions.
Lesser-documented and found off Spain’s west coast is Sóller, the Mallorcan town of 14,000. It is said that in the 16th century, sweet, fragrant orange trees from India were transported here, which formed the foundations of the area’s trade with the ports of Marseille and its subsequent era of wealth.
This particular period of Sóller’s past is given a subtle nod at Mon Cor – a 1903 luxury property built by a French merchant and a local woman, and renovated by Berrow, a developer – in which a cluster of citrus trees skirt one corner of its outdoor courtyard.
Mon Cor is a refined space, a pared-back space, somewhere that eschews the usual island-home trappings of glossy manganese Saltillo tiles and ceiling fans in timber. Furniture is clean and lyrical, and an organic feel is retained throughout, notably in the the kitchen in which bespoke fittings are done out in oak, a stone sink has been restored, and worktops – on which you can envisage a display of sobrasada spreads, overflowing bowls of almendra, and plates of queso Mallorca – are crafted from natural stone.
Original tiles, in the Moorish style, have been preserved in the master bathroom, offering colour and pattern to a scheme that largely trades on simplicity and monotone hues, and wooden ceiling beams, found throughout, draw the eye towards the high ceilings. Meanwhile, in the bedrooms, windows perfectly frame views of the Tramuntana Mountains, a range whose span extends from the Cap de Formentor on the island’s northernmost point to near Andratx in the southwest.
For oenophiles, a temperature-controlled wine cellar adds a major pull to the property, the way in which large, unadorned Manhattan walls are a magnet for collectors of Rothkos and Twomblys. The rack, defined by its chevron pattern and its wall-length diameter, makes for a fine way to display bottles sourced from vineyards around the world, as well as local labels from Binissalem and Pla i Llevant, the island’s main winemaking regions.
Outside, a salt-water pool, which has been carved into an elongated oval shape and heated throughout the year, anchors the courtyard in which stone walls encase the premises and are festooned with palm and jasmine plants that perfume the space.
When wanting to explore Sóller at large, a short drive (Mon Cor features a garage that was originally designed for affluent merchant families who were the first to bring automobiles to the island) will take you to the old town, with its markets and squares, and tramlines slicing through its streets – a little further along, you’ll be met with the breeze and blue of the Med.
Want more property inspiration? Check out Bing Crosby’s California home, which had its own wing for JFK…
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