Just two minutes' walk up a pedestrianised street from Nerja's famous Balcón de Europa, it's quiet and intimate. I feel less like a tourist here somehow.
Close attention to detail has been paid in all of the seven bedrooms, which are each named after local beaches. Five of them are suites, each with their own private terrace overlooking the sea. There is an amazing penthouse suite, which spans the width of the hotel with a sitting room (containing two sofas, one of which is a sofa bed), a TV area and a wonderful private terrace overlooking the gardens and the Med.
You walk into an opulent lobby, sumptuously decorated with paintings of ballet dancers and the beautiful traje de luces worn by one of Andalucia's most celebrated bullfighters. Best of all is a well-executed fake Velázquez painting, which has a story of its own. The staircase has elegant wrought-iron railings and chandeliers, while there's a charming tapas bar to one side.
Eating and drinking
Carabeo could easily be termed a 'restaurant with rooms' with its highly-rated Restaurant 34, one of Nerja's best places to eat. It is in the Michelin guide, and offers a good mix of classical and more contemporary Spanish dishes. Expect some terrific extra virgin olive oil, free range eggs and fig chutney from the family finca (country house). The son, who is currently running the show on a daily basis, trained at the Savoy in London, before moving to the nearby Berkeley hotel and this shows. I loved the fabulous starter of scallop wrapped in jamon Iberico, and the roast suckling pig was a real treat. I finished with a splendid chocolate fondant pudding with blackcurrant coulis, dark chocolate biscuit and coconut ice cream. Delicious.
The grounds are not huge, but there is a welcoming pool in the garden, which becomes the setting for a candle-lit restaurant in the evenings.
Service is exceptional from a team of knowlegeable local Spaniards - 28 in all - who all speak impeccable English.
Who stays there
A huge mixture of northern Europeans and, unsurprisingly, the likes of singer Sade, model Helena Christensen and the odd boy-band celebrity, I'm told.
For a hotel offering five-star service, a wonderful location, and which has tons of character, I'd say it's great value.
- Seasoned travellers
- Celebrity spotting
- Great views / scenery
Pros & Cons
- Tip top restaurant
- Des res location
- Sea views
- Pool area becomes a restaurant at 6.30pm