Sir Richard Branson Has A New Hotel Opening In Spain

Six years ago, the estate’s three villas opened, but construction on the hotel only began in 2021

Virgin Atlantic Chief Richard Branson has a new hotel in Mallorca, Spain. Mr. Branson claims that this Passion Project—a collection of villas and hotels—will not entirely be used for commercial gain. He said:

“We’ll never make much money out of these projects. They are expressions of love”

Branson’s most recent project, Child Bunyola in the Spanish island of Mallorca, looks sufficiently beautiful and simple. It is a 26-room hotel on a 1,300-acre estate with three villas and a 16th-century finca that is surrounded by the Tramuntana mountains and the sea.

The serial entrepreneur, on the other hand, has had a very long time to reach the starting line. 25 years ago, Branson bought the Son Bunyola estate for the first time.

He sold it in 2002, only to purchase it again in 2015 after failing to obtain planning permission. Six years ago, the estate’s three villas opened, but construction on the hotel only began in 2021. It opened the week before.

The Hotel:
One of the towers on the main, cream building is from the 13th century. On the inside, there is a sense of grounded luxury; the floor of the yard is studded with stones, the furniture encompassing it is a delicate rattan.

A large zinc bar brimming with spirits is one of the first things you’ll notice. It’s family-accommodating as well, and with float toys in the pool to beds and high seats.

The colors are soft; an eau-de-nil green and blues dominate, bringing Mallorca’s vibrant skies down to a morning mist.

The striped awnings are a tribute to shade and summer serenity, and the occasional geometric patterns are alluding to Mallorca’s Moorish past. Costs start from 600 euros, including breakfast.

Vincent Padioleau, general manager of Son Bunyola, started working for Branson twenty years ago. Samuel G Galdon, the chief culinary expert, worked at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saison when Branson claimed it, as well as La Residencia in adjacent Deia.

At age 73, Branson paid his first grown-up visit to Mallorca in his 20s. Despite Branson’s comments, the Virgin Limited Edition portfolio now includes eight properties, which are one of the Virgin group’s most quietly successful parts.

This project is exclusively owned by the Branson family. ( The only exception is the Kenyan Mahali Mzuri tented safari tent, a partnership-owned conservation project.) They all share a strong sense of the place.

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While Mont Rochelle in Franschhoek offers a cooler, more African-oriented take on South Africa’s most famous wine-growing region, Necker Island has a Caribbean vibe.

Everything about Son Bunyola, from the food to the scalloped pool parasols, screams Mediterranean. The stylistic layout was made by Mallorcan organization Rialto Living and Branson’s design brief was simple.

The ambiance here is purposely that of a home, instead of a hotel and a portion of the carpets and different materials were made for the hotel by the Eve Branson Establishment, a Morocco-based foundation established by Branson’s mom. The entire estate is seen from a vast terrace.

The 28-meter pool with views of the terraces is a seductive draw. There are also hiking trails and cycle paths – a coastal path now links Son Bunyola with villages on either side of its land.

While it has taken 30 years to create Son Bunyola, this is not the end of the project. From the entrance gate to the main building are lines of newly planted vines of the native Malvasia Mallocan grape plus almond and 7,000 olive trees. Donkeys and goats, which help keep olive trees healthy (and naturally fertilized) are also on order.

Another ruined finca will provide twelve more suites when it opens in 2025. A vegetable garden has been started where a natural spring can sustain it.

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