Gran Hotel sold to French company
The imposingly elegant Gran Hotel in Soller has just been sold to a French industrial company, Sermeta, owned by the rather rich businessman Joseph la Mer. It's reported that he paid €10 million to buy the hotel from the Soller born businessman Andreu Gelabart.
Gelabart says that all the staff of the hotel will continue their employment under the new owners so that a smooth transition takes place when the hotel reopens as usual on 10th February after its winter break. He added that the new owners have plans to enlarge the Gran – though no details are available yet – and buy another three hotels in Mallorca.
The move is a bit of an historical turnaround as for many years, because of the difficulty of travelling by land through the Tramuntana mountain range, much of Soller's wealth was built on exports, particularly oranges, to France. Many of the fine buildings in Soller owe their origins to riches made in this trade.
The Gran Hotel itself was originally a house, built in 1880 for the family of businessman Ramón Casasnovas, who later used part of it for his tanning and shoe-making factory from where many of the boots used by soldiers in the Great War in France (!!!) were made.
The architect was Joaquim Maria Pavía Birmingham, whose mother was English, and was influenced by British architecture which you can see in the almost Gothic facade of the Gran Hotel. Another of Pavia's works in Mallorca is the Consell building in Palma and you certain similarities with the Gran can be observed.
In the 60's the building was converted to a pension and a then a hotel by one of the Casasnovas family, but fell upon hard times during the cheap and cheerful mass tourist boom of the 60's and 70's and remained abandoned for years.
In 2002 Andreu Gelabart, who was born in Soller but had emigrated to the USA and become very successful, bought the building and opened the 38 room Gran Hotel in 2004 – at that time the only Five Star hotel in the area. Elegant and understated the hotel has catered for discerning travellers to Soller since then, with a well renowned restaurant, pool with views and on site Spa for guests.
It really is a beautiful building, and in the handiest of handy locations for everything that the fascinating town of Soller has to offer. I've often stood gazing in through the gates and wondering what it must be like to stay there. I really must go, how about you?
You can find all the details, photos, prices and book on line using this link – Gran Hotel, Soller.