Sunday, September 24, 2023

Virgin’s Son Bunyola Hotel in Mallorca May Be Its Most Sustainable Yet


Virgin Limited Edition is adding a new property to its roster, the Son Bunyola Hotel in Mallorca is slated for a 2023 opening, offering guests the best in world-class, sustainable luxury.

Mark your calendars for next summer in Mallorca. That’s when Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson’s new eco-friendly hotel, Son Bunyola Hotel, is set to open.

The new hotel is coming to Virgin Limited Edition property in a restored 15th-century finca with 28 rooms and suites, a swimming pool that boasts world-class views, and two on-site restaurants.

The hotel is in the Serra de Tramuntana region, a UNESCO World Heritage site on Mallorca’s north-western coast.

Branson first purchased the property in 1987. But he sold it in 2002 when plans to develop the property into a luxury hotel were refused. He re-acquired the property in 2015. Development on the hotel concept began last year.


“The north-western coast of Mallorca has always been a very special place for Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Limited Edition,” Jon Brown, Managing Director of Virgin Limited Edition, said in a statement.

“We are absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to restore this beautiful monument and honour its rich history, and look forward to welcoming another small luxury hotel to our portfolio.”

Preserving Mallorcan heritage

“Celebrating and preserving the heritage of this important Mallorcan landmark has been at the very forefront of our restoration plans throughout and thanks to the fantastic work of Gras Architects, the Finca has very much been designed to enhance the incredible natural surroundings it is blessed with. This is of course combined with our commitment to sustainability, something which is ingrained in everything we do – from energy saving to rainwater harvesting and environmental protection – some of the fundamental values of the Virgin Limited Edition brand,” Brown said.

“Very much in keeping with our collection’s home from home style, we are also delighted to be working with Mallorcan-based interior designer, Rialto Living. Known widely for their stunning residential designs, they were a natural fit for us, and are working to ensure the design of the hotel provides our guests with the same exceptional standards that Virgin Limited Edition are renowned for, alongside a welcome injection of beautiful Mallorcan charm.”

The finca, an historical monument, is “central to the private estate and fundamental to the history of the local area,” said Virgin Limited Edition. It is surrounded by vines, citrus fruit trees, almond, and olive trees.

Sa Terra Rotja, one of three Virgin Limited Edition villas on the Son Bunyola Estate

“The hotel will retain all the original features of the finca, bringing it back to life as a stunning new hotel in one of the most prestigious and protected areas of the Tramuntana region, along with incredible sweeping views of the Mediterranean coastline,” says the company.

Virgin Limited Edition says it has put sustainability “at the heart of this conservation project,” with a number of initiatives starting with the early design phase.

Hot water for the hotel will be preheated using energy produced by the air conditioning and refrigeration cooling systems, and the installation of a biomass boiler will run on recycled wood chippings, the company says.

The buildings’ thermal insulation has been upgraded and water is being collected and reused for irrigation. It also features a building management system to monitor and control lighting, air conditioning, and power consumption within the property.

Sustainability at Virgin Limited Edition

Virgin Limited Edition, which has properties in Kenya, the British Virgin Island, Morocco, South Africa, and the Swiss Alps, has been steadily transitioning to more sustainability measures.

Much of Branson’s recent commitment to sustainability came after his Necker Island home was destroyed in 2017 by Hurricane Irma.

“During the rebuild of Necker Island, we are proud to have introduced a new standard of sustainable hospitality in the British Virgin Islands,” Vanessa Neal, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Virgin Limited Edition, told Forbes recently.

“From a revived conservation program for endangered species of wildlife and the introduction of staff uniforms created from recycled ocean plastics to energy and waste measures that include installing three giant wind turbines and a large solar farm to support our goal of achieving net-zero fossil fuel consumption on the island by 2030.”

Kenya’s Mahali Mzuri | Courtesy

Solar panels now power Kenya’s Mahali Mzuri, and Morocco’s Kasbah Tamador, reducing oil use by 40 percent, according to the company. There are also solar projects at Necker Island in the Virgin Islands and at Ulusaba in South Africa. Necker has its own microgrid; in addition to solar, the property also includes three wind turbines, which reduces the dependence on generators, for about 90 percent of the day, reducing CO2 emissions by 2.5 tons, the company says.

Other measures are in place including LED and energy-saving bulbs, green housekeeping, bans on plastic straws, and efforts to reduce food miles. It also prioritizes a number of community-based and charitable efforts aimed at giving back and empowering the regions it calls home, similar to efforts common for Club Med.

“At Virgin Limited Edition, we pride ourselves on marrying luxury travel with offering unique experiences that celebrate local culture and landscape – to create memories that our guests will remember for a lifetime,” said Neal. “Underpinning all of this, however, is our fierce commitment to honoring and protecting the locations we occupy around the world and the people who inhabit them, ensuring they continue to thrive for years to come.”


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