Need to know
130, including 78 family suites and 14 luxury villas.
12 noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm. Guests can stow luggage and relax in the bar, restaurant, café or gardens if they arrive early.
Double rooms from $583.70 (€473), excluding tax at 10 per cent.
Rates generally exclude breakfast (the Continental buffet costs €31 a guest, or a full English is €36), but include one free green fee a person a stay at the golf club.
Prince Alfonso ensured success by inviting his jet-set friends there, but the hotel’s legendary status hinged on its telephone – the only one on the coast at the time. The lethargic connection speed meant a thirsty, hungry and bored bunch of louche lollygaggers, so the restaurant, bar and bedrooms followed sharpish. If only sluggish WiFi had the same effect…
At the hotel
Spa, café, beach club, botanical gardens, kids’ club, gym, free WiFi throughout. The beautifully landscaped 18-hole golf course and equestrian centre is a 20-minute drive from the main building. In rooms: flatscreen TV with movie channels, DVD and CD player, radio, free WiFi, Nespresso coffee machine, minibar, safe, air-conditioning, black-out curtains and Babor bath products.
Our favourite rooms
With white-timbered roofs, a pretty pastel palette and sea views over the Strait of Gibraltar, the Deluxe Beachfront Rooms will thrill any romance-seeking sun worshippers. Want to sneak in a late-night skinny-dipping session? Book a villa with a private pool, where there’s also a secluded dining terrace and a fairy-tale four-poster bed.
There are three. The garden pool close to reception is a peaceful spot surrounded by greenery, with a sunlounger and table-strewn terrace. The livelier Beach Club pool is larger, with throngs of sunloungers and socialisers on the wooden deck, and a small Jacuzzi. The indoor spa pool is better suited for lazy soaking. All are heated. The beach is open to the public, but it’s still a serene place to take a dip.
The Thalasso Spa's treatments focus on stress reduction; however, you'll feel any tension melt away as soon as you set foot in the cream-hued, beach-set space. There are 12 treatment rooms – some with sea views – a restful seawater pool, hammam, and steam baths, and an invigorating wood-burning Finnish sauna. Thalasso treatments are offered in a variety of programmes, ranging from pick-me-ups (the brisk 20-minute water-jet massage), to decadent week-long programmes with up to three hours of treatments a day. Body wraps, scrubs and facials are on the menu alongside therapies for dedicated beauty seekers, such as peels and lymphatic drainage.
Chanel Resort wear – no matter how impractical a swimsuit with a full train is – and the Asprey travel chess case, for a cerebral yet stylish Beach Club distraction.
The hotel’s rocky paths and meandering layout make it unsuitable for guests with mobility issues.
Welcome. There’s a 5,000sq m kids’ club and golf and riding lessons can be arranged. Cots and extra beds for under-12s are free and can be added to all rooms; all restaurants have children’s menus; and babysitting is available for €15–36 an hour.
3–7 year olds.
The Two-Bedroom Villa with Swimming Pool is private with plenty of space and a garden for little ones to run around in. The pool can be screened off for safety, and there’s a dining terrace for memorable family meals.
The kids’ club’s activity programme is child-captivatingly creative: kids can nurture their own crop in the vegetable garden, blend a signature scent, cook up local dishes in the kitchen, learn hip-hop and flamenco, take drama and cookery classes, paint, craft, and play music. Treasure hunts and family-friendly film nights are held there too. Off-site kayaking can be arranged for older children, and tennis, horse-riding and golf lessons can be booked.
There’s supervised swimming in the kids’ club lagoon, and children are welcome in both the garden pool and Beach Club pool; but, both of these are unsupervised.
Highchairs, weaning spoons and child-friendly cutlery can be provided on request. All restaurants have a children’s menu, but the Beach Club’s buffet is the most flexible dining option. The Grill is a more grown-up affair.
Staff from the kids’ club can babysit for €15 an hour; book a day in advance.
No need to pack
Pack nappies, lotions, baby wipes and formula if you don’t want to have to venture offsite. The concierge can help to acquire anything you’ve forgotten.
The kids’ club is an amazing space, complete with a perfume-making lab, kitchen, garden, cinema, yoga studio and playgrounds. It’s stylish too, with Scandinavian-style furnishings and flower-filled outdoor spaces.