Finca Cortesin HOTEL, GOLF and SPA, Casares, Malaga
A five-star hotel, spa and golf resort, Finca Cortesin on the Costa del Sol is considered by many to be one of the finest hotels in Spain.
Most of Andalucia's landmark hotels - ones which are well known for their unusual or visually stunning buildings - are housed in historic buildings: old convents, castles or palaces. But a few are in cleverly-designed modern structures - though you'd never know it. Finca Cortesin, with its vegetation-covered white walls, cobbled courtyard, flower-filled patios, tiled fountains and tall, graceful palm trees, looks like it's been there for generations. In fact, it was finished in 2009.
One of the hotel's interior designers used flooring from period buildings, including an 18th-century Portuguese convent, to give its public areas a "lived-in" feel, as well as donating religious antiquities, ceramics and furniture of his own. Tapestries and paintings adorn the walls, so you feel like you're in a private home. The setting is peaceful and privileged: in rolling countryside, you have views of the Mediterranean, and are overlooked by the peaks of the Sierra Bermeja.
The hotel has 67 luxurious rooms and suites, but they are laid out over such a large area, with some around the two-storey patio and others near one of the two outdoor swimming pools, that it feels very private. The rooms themselves are extremely spacious and light (38m2-79m2), plus outside space, with floor-to-ceiling windows and balconies or terraces looking over the mountains or sea. Décor is in neutral tones with splashes of bright colour - understatedly classy and chic. They have vast bathrooms, with huge tubs, his-and-hers sinks, and separate walk-in showers big enough to fit a small family. Some suites have their own plunge pools. Well-equipped minibars offer champagne, sherry and wine, as well as snacks such as chocolate-covered fruit. Exquisite home-made sweets are left in each room to welcome the guest, a thoughtful detail which will delight adults as much as children. There is free WIFI throughout the hotel.
The hotel's signature restaurant, Kabuki Raw, serves avant-garde Asian fusion cuisine, overseen by Head Chef Rafael Carrasco and managed by the Kabuki Group, a world-leader in Japanese cuisine. El Jardin de Lutz is headed by Executive Chef, Lutz Bösing, and offers traditional Spanish cuisine. This restaurant is decorated with antique Portuguese dishes and tiles, and has a beautiful terrace by the lawn with sea view. In summer, there is also a world-class Italian restaurant.
The Blue Bar has an elegant, country house feel, with high ceilings, wood parquet floor (reclaimed from a Venetian palazzo) and exquisite handmade blue wallpaper decorated with birds, which looks antique but was made to order in China. English portraits, glass-fronted mahogany cabinets and tastefully worn chairs and rugs add to the ambience - clubby without being stuffy. As well as the outdoor section of the bar, there's a Moroccan chill-out area decorated in rich reds.
The hotel has won numerous awards, including from Conde Nast Traveller, featuring on their Gold List of the best hotels in the world.
What is there to do?
You can swim all year round in the spa's magnificent indoor pool, surrounded by soft creamy stone floor and walls. With tall, arched windows looking onto the garden, potted palms, lounger chairs and columns, it has a colonial feel. Spa treatments include a full selection of massages from the expert Thai therapist, as well as body and facial experiences. In addition to the Turkish bath, Jacuzzi and sauna, you can also try the snow cabin.
In the warmer months, there are two enormous outdoor pools - one for families, which has a restaurant serving light meals, and one for adults only. The Finca Cortesin beach club, which you are taken to by shuttle bus, offers another huge pool, surrounded by palm trees, with a restaurant and bar, and a private area reserved for hotel guests only.
Golfers will be in their seventh heaven, as the estate has its own Championship Golf Course, which hosted the Volvo World Match Play Championship. The Club House has its own restaurant. You can also go horse-riding, play paddle or tennis, and the hotel has a well-equipped gym. Activities which can be arranged for guests include scuba diving, sailing and helicopter rides.
Photos by Hotel Essence Photography
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How do I get to FiNCA CORTESIN?
Finca Cortesin is located south of Estepona on the Costa del Sol. You leave the AP-7 motorway at Exit 153, then take the A-7 coast road towards Manilva and Algeciras. Before Manilva, turn off on the MA8300 heading inland towards Casares. Finca Cortesin Hotel is about 1 km up this road, on the right hand side, with its own roundabout.