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Hotel Artmadams. History of Ciutat.

There are buildings with history and history with buildings. The Artmadams Hotel is both.

In 1940, Dr. Antonio Grau commissioned architect Guillermo Forteza (Palma, 1892-1943) to design a renovation project to adapt the existing villa and transform it into a clinic, with living quarters on the upper floor. It grows from approximately 620 square metres to just over 1,600 square metres.

Forteza is remembered as the architect of schools due to the many schools he designed. However, the imprint of his work is much more profound. It includes iconic buildings such as Es Sindicat de Felanitx, the Plaza de las Columnas in Palma, the Es Molinar and El Terreno churches, and the Marivent Palace.

Rationalist in style, heir to the noucentist and classical trends of the time, the building had a rectangular tower shape with different heights. The main staircase, the hall and the family home’s wooden staircase still stand today. On the façade, the five-sided balconies and a semicircular projection are some of the hallmarks of the building, which nevertheless did not stand out and went unnoticed among the houses in the Son Armadans neighbourhood.

In the 1960s, the clinic was transformed into a two-star hotel, but still retained Dr. Grau’s home. The built-up area is significantly increased to around 4,900 square metres, and the garden is eliminated.

At the end of the 20th century, the building changed owners and came into the hands of Jaime España and family, who increased its surface area to the current 5,500 square metres, remodelled it thoroughly, upgraded it into a four-star property and decided to turn it into something more than just a hotel. He wanted to turn the old Dr. Grau building into a cultural emblem of the city.

COVID was the definitive boost to Jaime España’s idea. The first thing was to change the property’s name from Hotel Armadans to Hotel Artmadams, a subtle nominal difference that implied profound renovations.

The most striking is the façade. The aim was to turn the visible face of the hotel into the iconic image of the building. But a powerful, groundbreaking, provocative image that would not leave anyone indifferent. Not even the authorities.

After the pandemic, Jaime España took advantage of a new building renovation and commissioned José Luis Mesas to turn the façade into an immense mural of more than nine hundred square metres. Bold colours, daring shapes and fun patterns. Urban art by a self-taught, risk-taking and innovative pop artist with achievements such as creating the largest painting in Spain, exhibiting in the Mayte Spínola museum, or giving two of his works to Pope Francis.

The work did not go unnoticed by anyone and completed the transformation of the hotel into not only a modern, refurbished, quality hotel but also a cultural hub, allowing local and international creators and artists to exhibit their work in a friendly and suitable environment. The mural by José Luis Mesas managed to turn the building renovated by a renowned architect, which until now had gone entirely unnoticed, into one of Palma’s icons, one of those photos that everyone wants to take and which even forces the tourist bus to slow down so that visitors can recreate themselves in the figures and colours that flood the façade.

The Hotel Artmadans currently is a first-class building, with 89 rooms renovated to the highest standards of comfort, equipped with exhibition rooms with state-of-the-art infrastructure and a collection that includes more than four hundred sculptures and paintings by renowned artists. A superb restaurant and an urban terrace where you can enjoy a drink or dinner while discovering the work of José Luis Mesas and the meticulous details of his fun drawings and bold colours in an environment where art envelops everything.

Jaime España went for it when he decided to revolutionise his hotel. He knew that change would not be easy. The work of José Luis Mesas is still in court due to municipal bureaucratic issues.

Art is not made to meet aesthetic standards or official parameters. It is a free, creative and, in many cases, groundbreaking decision. Aimed at raising awareness and creating opinions.
And as in the mythical TV series, the only thing left to say is “to be continued”…