Perched on a small hill above the historic market town of Velez-Malaga (inland between Nerja and Malaga), the hotel has spectacular views of both the coast and the marvellously hilly Axarquia region. With its folds and difficult geology, it is easy to see why until relatively recently this was a lawless region, known for its bandits and rebels, who fought on after the Spanish Civil war against Franco into the late 1950s.
Bedrooms are joyously comfortable with original Parisienne-style furnishings – a wooden raffia bench, a dressing screen, decorative mirrors - and calming pastel colour Chinese-imitation fabrics. There is a pillow menu and all the usual trappings of TV, hairdryer, safe, etc. Bathrooms are simple but well thought out, with stylish fittings, in particular the circular stone sink and silver soap stand. Some of the standard double rooms do not have baths. The best double rooms have terraces with superb views.
The whole hotel hinges around its stunning central courtyard, an architectural triumph of light and balance. Reminiscent of the days of the Raj, in part due to its ferns and other foliage, it is inspirational and calming. There is seductive up-lighting and candles are lit every evening. On one side is a sitting area with the latest magazines and newspapers, and in winter I've been known to spend hours reading by the small fireplace with a glass of red.
Eating and drinking
Off the main central courtyard is the restaurant with its charming veranda allowing wonderful views over historic Velez-Malaga, particularly charming at night, when it's well lit up. The menu is interesting without being spectacular, but at least changes by the season. The chef spent time in France so has some Gallic flair. Starters include carpaccio of beef, foie gras and taboule with lemon. I particularly liked the main fish course of red mullet.
Outside are the lovely grounds, which while young in terms of their landscaping will grow into something spectacular. Huge banks of lavender, rosemary and agapanthas – and best of all a sea of hibiscus – lead you down to the alluring outdoor pool.
The service is 'laidback', which I find is commonplace in the Spanish countryside. Go with it and try not to get impatient. 'All good things...', as the saying goes.
Who stays there
Plenty of French, Dutch and local Spaniards planning to have their wedding here.
If it were on the other side of Malaga, towards Marbella for example, you'd be paying a lot more for a hotel of this standard.
- Business Centre
- High-Speed Internet
- Room Service
- Swimming Pool
- Families with younger children
- Seasoned travellers
- Great views / scenery
- People watching
Pros & Cons
- Lovely grounds
- Charmed location
- Great restaurant
- Sometimes a little lacking in service