The Business Year

Isabel Vicens

SPAIN - Tourism

Isabel Vicens

General Manager, Palace Can Marqués

Bio

Isabel Vicens is the General Manager of Palacio Can Marques. She is a keen professional of the luxury hospitality industry with more than 10 years of international experience. She is always striving for excellence focusing mainly on results and meeting customer expectations.

A restored historic palace in Palma turned hotel, Palace Can Marqués strives to maintain its history while incorporating modern amenities and hospitality.

What was the process of restoring the old palace of Can Marqués and transforming it into a flagship hotel at the heart of Palma’s old town like?

The palace dates back to the second half of the 18th century and is a special building architecturally speaking. Most of the old buildings in Palma are typically square with a space in the center and stairs from the center to the sides. Here, we have an architectural masterpiece with six- and 11-m ceilings at the entrance to the palace. It is hard to imagine how this was built in the 18th century. The German owner, Kim Schindelhauer, fell in love with the island and bought this palace 20 years ago, and it was his home up until three years ago. His wife is an interior designer, and bearing in mind the boom of boutique hotels, they decided to turn it into a hotel. The priority has always been to maintain the history of the building rather than converting it into as many rooms as possible. The garden areas, the living room, and 75-sqm rooms were maintained. Many of our competitors are based in old buildings in Palma that have been restored, but we are fortunate to be a palace. We are a far cry from the typical hotel. Here, we have tried to maintain the original pieces, such as the wooden doors and the handrails. In addition, one point is that each room is unique has different characteristics, while incorporating amenities such as air conditioning and heating in a non-disruptive way to preserve the charm of the palace.

How has the hotel been adapted to cater to an increasing corporate demand of tourists in Palma?

At the corporate level, we are not a business hotel, though we do have a 380-sqm room with plenty of space for meetings. In fact, it is the space we use to accommodate those who come to the meeting, since it has three rooms inside. This gives space for special business meetings at a higher level that can easily create a positive atmosphere for business to happen and people to come to agreements.

How did the hotel deal with the pandemic, and what measures did you take?

The German owner did not feel they could deal with the pandemic sufficiently and passed the hotel management to Puro Group, the most prominent hotel group in Mallorca that is investing heavily in the five-star sector. The pandemic has helped us to target customers who have not been affected economically by the pandemic, have continued to travel, and are not only looking for sun and beach, but also a gastronomic and cultural experience. In this process, Puro Group is working to promote the five-star segment. Puro Group is not only present in Mallorca, but also Denia, Barcelona, and Vilamoura in Portugal, and there will be further expansion in the future, which is a sign of the group’s commitment to the tourism sector despite the recent difficult circumstances.

What is your outlook of the long-term prospects of the tourism sector in Mallorca?

Currently, restrictions and vaccinations are the order of the day, and although people are willing to travel, they remain extremely cautious. Everything is last minute. We are optimistic and strive to keep the hotel open in the long term. We are determined to continue offering our services to the whole world. As an island, it is important that we have the support of the public sector. We need both the Mallorca Turismo Foundation and other associations to get involved and promote Mallorca as a destination, because there are many people who make their living from tourism. The long-term vision of the tourism sector is to develop a more sustainable economy and find new offerings for tourist so that they can live new and different experiences in Mallorca. At the end of the day, the kind of tourism we offer is not just for the summer, but all-year round. 

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