Sumptuous holiday homes: part two - La Casa de la Princesa

Vintage tuscan-style manor

Our next stop on the tour, took us to Genova in Mallorca; to the aptly named ‘La Casa de la Princesa’, or 'The Home of the Princess'. Throughout its life the home has welcomed the aristocracy through its doors. Owners have included Danish royalty, a German baroness; even a young King Juan Carlos I of Spain is said to have spent time there as a child.

Now owned by Kathleen Bendelack from the UK and her Spanish husband, La Casa de la Princesa has been restored with influences from the Mediterranean, Tuscany, the English countryside and even Africa.

Mansion Palma MallorcaHow did you come to own the house?

We had been living in the heart of the Mallorcan countryside for 10 years and decided that we wanted to find a home closer to Palma with its conveniences. 

When we saw the property we just fell in love straight away. It was really run-down, completely abandoned, but you could clearly see its potential. It had a mysterious quality, hidden away down a tree-shaded lane, yet the beauty was it was situated in Genova, a suburb of Palma itself.

When does the property date from?
The home is about 150 years old and was a former residence to Danish royalty, a German baroness and we understand the current King Juan Carlos I visited the house as a child.

Is the home a typical Mallorcan-style property?
Not at all. The design has a distinctly Tuscan-feel; even the gardens are not in the typical Mallorquin-style. 

What was your philosophy with the renovation and redesign of the home?
We wanted to return the property to its former glory. The previous owners had unfortunately taken away its simplistic beauty and we wanted to restore this quality. Now the home has a classic feel, with key adaptations to incorporate modern comforts. You can see this in our English country-style kitchen; classic, yet perfectly equipped for today’s needs. 

English country-style kitchen

Were there any notable challenges during the renovation?
Not especially. We tried to keep the whole project as simple as possible; using unpretentious craftsmanship.Restored original wood beam For example, we stripped every piece of wood back to its natural state and then carefully refinished it. All the ceilings are beamed, which gives it a lovely cottage-feel.

One of the major challenges was to bring more light and space to the interior, without producing an austere or cold effect. The original home had many small rooms, typical for the era. It had a sewing room for example. We knocked through some of the smaller rooms to create larger, open spaces. The result is a light, spacious and airy home, but which has retained the warmth of its original smaller rooms.

Who or what was your inspiration throughout the renovation?
It was really a motivation, rather than inspiration and that was to return the home to its original physique. To make it majestic, without being imposing - it’s a large property with extensive (11,000m2) grounds. Our task was to bring its past to life. 

What is your favourite corner of the house?
Definitely the mirador. The covered terrace looks out across the landscaped gardens, towards the sea. It reminds me of the mirador in the film Out of Africa

Genova holiday rental

Did you have a hand in the design of the gardens and exterior spaces? 
The gardens have a layered landscape design, not typical of the local region. On the land we grow olives, almond, lemon and mandarin trees. The overall design is very simple, not at all contrived. 

Vintage full circular swimming poolThe swimming pool is a near full circular shape and has an unmistakably vintage feel. We also created a delightful covered dining area; renovated from an old shed and naturally shaded by overgrown trees, it’s a perfect dining area for the long summer months. 

Especially beautiful is a staircase that leads up to the back entrance of the house. During the spring months, its cloaked with almond blossom. We call it the stairway to heaven.

What does the local region have to offer its visitors?
The village of Genova is a suburb of Palma, the capital of Mallorca. Yet, in itself it has much to offer, with over 20 restaurants, a convenience store, bakery and a lovely organic fruit and vegetable shop.

We are just a few minutes drive from the coast and Palma’s city centre, with its magnificent port, museums, beach club, chic boutiques, the San Catalina market. Palma is a stunning and cultural city. 

Film location Palma Mallorca

Aside from holidaymakers, does the house get booked for other types of visits?
The house has been used on several occasions to shoot commercial adverts. It has been used as a location in a film and for modelling shoots. 

How would you sum up La Casa de la Princesa?
The perfect countryside hideaway, minutes from the big city. 

La Casa de la Princesa is a country mansion comprising four bedrooms, four bathrooms and sleeping eight guests.

Inspired to visit more of Spain’s most gorgeous and historic holiday rentals? Visit Almiral de la Font an idyllic 'masia' in Sitges, in part one of our Sumptuous Holiday Homes tour.