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Hotel Highlights

  • Romantic roof terrace overlooking the city
  • Five minutes from the beach, in the heart of Marbella old town
  • Gorgeous 17th-century town house, once home to Napoleon III’s wife


Once the home of Napoleon III’s wife, Hotel Claude in Marbella is a 17th-century townhouse, revamped and restyled to meld authentic period features with modern design pizzazz. Original elements such as the well and Moorish arches are complemented by huge purple banquettes, hanging glass lanterns and a shady roof terrace where you can sit to watch the world wander by on the winding streets below.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Hotel Claude with us:

A bottle of cava and a fruit plate on arrival

Latest deals

Exclusive rates, packages and special offers at Hotel Claude

4 nights for the price of 3


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Need To Know


Seven, including one suite.


1pm. Check with reception when you arrive if you want to arrange a later departure.


Double rooms from $229.10 (€205), excluding tax at 10 per cent.

More details

The à la carte breakfast (eggs, smoked salmon, Jabugo ham and more) is included in the room rate; or it's €15 with offer rates, otherwise a Continental buffet (croissants, breads, jams and juices) is included; and entry to the nearby O2 Wellness Centre.


To maintain the pin-drop-peaceful atmosphere, mobile phones are frowned upon. Guests can smoke on the roof terrace.

At the hotel

Library, roof terrace, DVD/CD selection, free WiFi throughout. Guests can use the nearby spa, pool and fitness centre. In rooms: flatscreen TV, DVD player, iPod dock. All rooms have king-size beds.

Our favourite rooms

Claude’s seven rooms are each uniquely styled – top of our to-book list is Francesca, the only room that looks out onto the old town’s main street. A large balcony and a huge floor-to-ceiling window keep it bright and airy, and the high, wood-beamed ceilings and decorative arch leading to the minimalist mosaic-fitted bathroom create a sense of spaciousness. Up in the eaves, Flammandes overlooks the roof terrace and has its own private stairwell leading up to a smart loft-style studio with glossy oak floors and a semi-open-plan bathroom. Listening to the church chime outside and looking out over the steeple, you feel like a princess in a tower. Savannah and North African-themed Marroquí are joined by a courtyard, making them ideal for families or friends travelling together.


A few minutes walk from the hotel, Marbella’s O2 Wellness Centre has two heated pools available to Hotel Claude’s guests.

Packing tips

Don’t bother bringing a deck of cards – there’s a load of games in the library to help you pass the time or practise your card-sharp skills for Marbella's casinos..


Make sure you have a taste for tapas; some of the Costa’s most tantalising bars are on your doorstep.


Baby cots can be provided free and babysitting can be arranged via an external agency (€15–€20 an hour). The restaurant supplies high chairs and a children’s menu, and will heat milk or baby food on request.

Food and drink

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Hotel Restaurant

None, but Hotel Claude's chef can provide light meals and snacks on request and, with 48 hours' notice, can rustle up dinner. In summer, you can eat by candlelight on the roof terrace.

Hotel Bar

There’s no bar area, but you can settle down with a cocktail in the library, surrounded by ceiling-high shelves of architectural and design tomes, or gaze out at the rooftops from the terrace. Soft drinks and coffee available from an honesty bar.

Last orders

Drinks are available through the night.

Room service

There’s a 24-hour snack menu.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Rat-pack suits and plenty of sparkle.

Top table

In one of the roof terrace’s many intimate nooks – try the pagoda surrounded by billowing muslin, or secure yourself the terracotta-toned private dining area.

Local Guide

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Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Worth getting out of bed for

A few miles down the coast, Puerto Banus makes for a reliable shopping/people-watching destination, with some excellent bars and cafés looking out over the inevitable harbour-load of serious yachts. Beside the port entrance, Salduba Pub (+34 952 81 10 92) is an alfresco drinking institution, and Pizzeria Picasso on the main street (+34 952 81 36 69) vies with Aretusa (+34 952 81 28 98) on the First Quay for the title of 'finest Italian in town'.

Local restaurants

Bodega la Venencia on Plaza de los Olivos (+34 952 77 99 63) does fantastic tapas. Another great tapas bar, La Taberna de Pintxo, 7 Avenida Miguel Cano (+34 952 82 93 21) charges according to the number of cocktail sticks you stack up. Zozoi on Plaza Altamirano (+34 952 85 88 68), serves modern, creative Spanish cuisine on two terraces, one at the back – quiet and romantic – and one out front in the bustling square.

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Coastal old-town Andalucía

Hotel Claude

5 Calle San Francisco, Casco Antiguo, Marbella, Málaga, 29601


The nearest airport is Málaga (AGP), served by British Airways, EasyJet and Aer Lingus. It’s within a 30-minute drive of Hotel Claude. The taxi fare should cost less than €70. It’s a slightly longer drive – about an hour – from Gibraltar Airport (GIB).


The hotel is 60km, or 30 minutes’ drive, from Málaga’s Maria Zambrano station, which connects the city to Barcelona and Madrid. There’s also a direct bus route from Málaga to Seville.


Private parking near the hotel costs roughly €20 for 24 hours; if you’re lucky, you’ll be able to nab a parking spot in the street outside the hotel. Car hire is available from Málaga or Gibraltar Airport, or from Málaga train station. The hotel is a little tricky to find, so listen very carefully: from the A92 towards Málaga, follow the road towards Marbella after Málaga airport, taking the AP7 toll road until exit 184. At the roundabout, turn left and cross the bridge then continue straight over at the junction, down the hill until you reach Calle Cortijo on the right. Take the first left (Avenida del Mercado) and drive downhill until you come to a crossroads, turning left onto Calle Salvador Rueda. Follow the road up until you reach Calle San Francisco on the right, but be warned – there’s no road sign. The streets are very narrow by this point. Go down Calle San Francisco, then take the first right onto Calle Leganitos. Turn left at the Guardia building, then left again, then left once more. Reverse until you reach a small church; the hotel is on the left.


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Hotel Claude
Hotel Claude 5 Calle San Francisco, Casco Antiguo Marbella 29601 Marbella Spain

Anonymous review

by , Travelling pen for hire

Rating: 10/10 stars
Something funny was going on – Marbella was doing weird things to our sense of time. Church bells were ringing for midday as we emerged, clumsy and blinking, into the glorious sunlight on the roof terrace for breakfast. As we settled into the cushions under a white canopy, we realised we had been seduced into a more relaxed approach to life. Green mountains rose to one side, the Med glisten…
Read more

Hotel Claude

Anonymous review by Jon Stibbs, Travelling pen for hire

Something funny was going on – Marbella was doing weird things to our sense of time. Church bells were ringing for midday as we emerged, clumsy and blinking, into the glorious sunlight on the roof terrace for breakfast.

As we settled into the cushions under a white canopy, we realised we had been seduced into a more relaxed approach to life. Green mountains rose to one side, the Med glistened to the other, and behind us – almost forgotten in London – was my body clock.

Despite our ninja-like stealth, a waiter immediately appeared once we had left our decadently comfortable room. Having surmised we were thinking breakfasty thoughts, he carried salads of figs, pineapple, mango and kiwi, accompanied by warm croissants, chilled butter, strawberry jam, honey, and chewy, crusty bread and light coffee and a jug of warm milk. Unlike us, it looked perfectly prepared on its white Villeroy & Boch tablewear with shining sugar tongs.

Given that there are only seven rooms, the waiter would have guessed that we would be arriving at some point, Mrs Smith pointed out wisely as I remained astonished at his foresight.

A light breeze blew as we awaited our smoked salmon and eggs, and admired Old Marbella’s red-tiled roofs. Hotel Claude’s 17th-century building is next to the church that had reminded us of our indulgently slack approach to meal times. One of its towers was emblazoned with blue tiles in a nod to southern Spain’s Moorish past.

In our defence, it had been late by the time we had had seafood and rosé for dinner at one of the pavement cafés in the old town, where fairy lights intertwined with tropical blossom. Meanwhile, the turndown pixies had been behind our carved wooden door and closed the shutters. With the lights off, we were cocooned from the world.
It’s not as if we had planned a busy day, quite the reverse, but we felt we ought to do something. The problem with finishing breakfast so late is that it leaves the conundrum of what to do when you would normally be eating lunch.

These Smiths are not great fans of the sun, so we decided to go to the spa hooked up to the hotel. It’s a walk beside the beach to get there, so we skirted along beneath palm trees and restaurant awnings, and took in Marbella proper. At one point, a four-mast frigate took up quite a lot of the view; further along, four girls with a chi-chi dog appeared off the beach in heels, with perfect make-up and hair. We noticed that long-term residents sport the sort of deep, deep tans that would make Bob Monkhouse look as pasty as, well, us.

At first, it did seem odd to be in a spa overlooking a beach but we got the hang of it. After we’d put a few perfunctory lengths behind us, we settled into the serious business of relaxing. Don’t think we didn’t mix things up, there’s not a bubbling tub or lounger overlooking the Med that we didn’t sample.
To add to the joy, windsurfers and kitesurfers would occasionally flit past at reckless speed – it looked like a lot of hard work. We drowned out the sounds of the people cycling on the spot, the whooping boxercisers or the semi-submerged old ladies dancing to techno.

As a town, Marbella does not enjoy an untarnished reputation, we did see occasional two-for-one beer offers next to breakfast menus – you see, other people were still ordering breakfast! – but a Spanish Southend it is not. Technically, we did have fish and chips for lunch, but our lightly fried sea bream came with salad was no grease-up on the pier.

Desiree, Hotel Claude’s glam manager, told us the gin palaces are moored in a swanky marina outside town and they attract a different scene. We had brought our own preconceptions of the whole place, but the reality of Old Marbella was a happy surprise. A potter around the narrow alleys revealed elderly ladies watering plants that tumbled over roofs and balconies of white-washed homes. There is a castle wall, which is part vertical garden and home to a tiny chapel. It’s all very charming – there are even flower baskets built into the streetlights.

Hotel Claude was once the summer home of the wife of Napoleon III and retains its old charm, while the decoration is contemporary and cool – a Cadbury’s-purple pouffe sits in the atrium.

A polished wooden ceiling soared over our rooms, which had all the mod cons. A Moorish-style arch divided bedroom from bathroom – replete with Molton Brown, bath towels and slippers, and even a completely unnecessary heated towel rail.

With sunset, we returned to sofas on the roof terrace, where candles were lit as we looked down on the palm trees. Plinky-plonky music played from speakers built into the terracotta-toned walls. We whetted our appetites with Tanqueray G&Ts and the chilled cava that had greeted our arrival at the lily-scented reception.

Desiree had recommended an excellent spot for dinner. As we swayed home – extravagantly late again – live flamenco vibrated around the square. At the hotel’s stucco façade, a brace of couples headed past in search of dinner. Clearly, we still had plenty to learn about Marbella life.

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel with us, we'll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members have to say about Hotel Claude in the Guestbook below…


Stayed on

We loved

The hotel staff was incredibly friendly and helpful. Breakfast on the roof was also very special.

Rating: 10/10 stars