Three miles from the sleepy seaside town of Estepona, this terracotta resort is a great spot for travellers seeking a true getaway on the Costa del Sol. Just a short drive to the flashy veneer of Marbella, it provides all the amenities you need, so you never have to go there unless you need to. Explorers, take note, however – the Kempinski is perfectly placed for trips around Andalusia. The charming village of Ronda, majestic Alhambra and even Gibraltar are an easy drive away.
The property is 20 years old and, while our sea-view room was comfortable and luxurious, it was a little dated. But, we’re told that renovations are due soon and, if the recently redone lobby is anything to go by (a modern dreamland of YSL’s Jardin Majorelle), those for a penchant for the contemporary will be in for a treat. The main restaurant, an NYC-style brasserie called Baltazár Bar & Grill, has already been expertly decorated and throughout the property there are whimsical touches, such as the vibrant-hued parrots Lola and Paquito who greet guests with a friendly ‘holá’.
The area is not known for its beautiful beaches, but what the Kempinski lacks in seaside, it more than compensates for with its three pools, beach club and gardens. The resort also boasts a fantastic spa, where we were buried in a bed of warm, volcanic sand as part of its signature therapy.
The food and beverage offering is impressive for a property of only 145 rooms. We grazed on substantial tapas at Black Rose, the hotel’s terrace bar. Breakfast, too, was impressive and the grill at Baltazár cooks beef and tuna to perfection.
The staff are efficient, polite and meticulous, with a certain Andalusian flair – our server regaled us with tales of the local area (and her thoughts on who was hot and who was not in the visiting Russian football team) while we enjoyed a beer.