The Best Hotels in Costa del Sol

Hotel Gran Miramar in Málaga is just one of Costa del Sols palatial hotels; enjoy the best of Spanish luxury Andalusian-style with beachfront swimming pools, restaurants and spas
Hotel Gran Miramar in Málaga is just one of Costa del Sol's palatial hotels; enjoy the best of Spanish luxury Andalusian-style with beachfront swimming pools, restaurants and spas | © Gordon Bell / Alamy Stock Photo
Jo Fernandez-Corugedo

Miles of sun-drenched coast, characterful seaside towns and lively holiday atmosphere, Spain’s southern Costa del Sol has long been a poster child for summer getaways suitable for every age and budget. In central Málaga or along Marbella’s Golden Mile you can find the best bargain B&Bs, rural boutique gems and grand-luxe seafront classics in Andalusia; here’s our pick of the best.

1. Palacio Solecio

Boutique Hotel

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 Courtesy of Palacio Solecio / Expedia

History and architecture buffs will swoon over this 18th-century former palace in Malaga’s old Jewish quarter. It’s a head-turner, with its grand stone staircase leading to classically-styled bedrooms with pale parquet floors and rooftop views of the old town. Dining is a special experience in Balausta with its glass-roofed interior courtyard complete with arches and pillars, where Andalusian dishes include refreshing gazpachuelo concocted by the Michelin-starred chef. Take a walk to the Picasso Museum, in honour of the city’s most famous son, one minute from the hotel.

2. Gran Hotel Miramar

Resort

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 Courtesy of Gran hotel Miramar GL / Expedia

This listed wedding-cake fronted hotel near La Malagueta does grandeur very well, with an elegant spa, two pools in rambling gardens and five restaurants; take a romantic paseo past the scenic Bay of Malaga before dinner. Rooms in blues that mirror the Mediterranean have views of the city, sea or royal courtyard. For a truly special occasion book the Crown Suite with a hot tub on its generous terrace overlooking the skyline and gardens.

3. Marbella Club Hotel Golf Resort and Spa

Boutique Hotel, Luxury, Chain Hotel

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 Courtesy of Marbella Club Hotel Golf Resort and Spa / Expedia

Love luxury? Splurge on a night or two at this former family residence turned resort hotel in sumptuous gardens on Marbella’s fabled Golden Mile. Villa-style rooms in pastel shades feature grand marble bathrooms and cushy robes to laze in after a long soak. Of its many bars and restaurants our favourite is the Grill, for cheese soufflé and chateaubriand. When digested, progress to languid lengths in one of three pools or a scrub in the thalassotherapy-based spa.

4. Marbella Heights Boutique Hotel

Hotel

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 Courtesy of The Marbella Heights Boutique Hotel / Expedia
If your idea of a clubbing weekend involves golf balls and a caddy, head for this place in the hills of Marbella’s Rio Real: next door is the prestigious golf club of the same name. Pared-back, Asian-style rooms have views of the course, the mountains and the Mediterranean, with intricate wall-carvings and vibrant silk throws and cushions. Non-golfers are also in luck; there’s morning yoga, an outdoor pool, an elegant spa and wine cellar for an aperitif with some Iberico ham (which they’ll happily add to your breakfast omelette too).

5. Eden Roc BeachFront Apartments

Apartment

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 Courtesy of Eden Roc BeachFront Apartments / Booking.com

Here’s a great option for friends on vacation: a modern apartment in Marbella sleeping five, with cool tiled floors, a gleaming white kitchen and corner sofas to lounge on the morning after the night before. There are sublime sea views and you’re within easy walking distance of the Puerto Banús marina, known as a playground for the rich and famous. The beach is within towel-throwing distance – but if you’re feeling lazy, there’s a cool slice of outdoor pool and a sunbathing patio at the apartment.

6. Villa Málaga B&B

Bed and Breakfast

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 Courtesy of Villa Málaga B&B / Expedia

Crowned with terracotta tiles, this pink-painted B&B is a serene place to stay in the residential area of Gibralfaro, a 20-minute walk from Malaga’s 14th-century castle ruins and La Malagueta beach. White-walled rooms and bathrooms are livened up by smart accents of green and blue and there’s a communal kitchen (although buffet breakfast is available). Fill up on fresh fruit, Spanish cheeses and crusty bread before you head off to the beach. At the end of the day, admire the marine and mountain views from the terrace as you sip a sangria.

7. Soho Boutique Colón

Hotel

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 Courtesy of Soho Boutique Colón / Booking.com

In the beating heart of Malaga, Soho Boutique Colón is an attractive proposition, with its on-trend teal-tone interiors, chevron parquet flooring and cream bathrooms. Step out and everything you want to see is within walking distance; after your à la carte breakfast, visit the nearby Renaissance cathedral, then the fine art and archeology focused Malaga Museum. You’ll still have time for an indolent afternoon bronzing on La Malagueta, followed by a pre-dinner stroll along the palm-lined promenade.

8. Hostel Patio 19

Bed and Breakfast, Hostel

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 Courtesy of Hostel Patio 19 / Expedia

In this 17th-century former family home, fuss-free dorms and rooms punch above their weight with attractive framed sketches, cosy armchairs and elegant wrought-iron beds. Wake to take a leisurely breakfast on the patio: the buffet is loaded with fresh bread and fruit – or return here at the day’s end for refreshing drinks from the bar. In between, if you only manage to take in one sight make it the impressive Moorish Alcazaba de Málaga, an aloof fortress on the hilltop. A mere 15-minute walk door to door, it’s generally held to be the best preserved fort in Spain.

9. Casa Paraíso Boutique B&B

Bed and Breakfast

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 Courtesy of Casa Paraíso Boutique B&B / Booking.com

This colourful boutique B&B in touristy Torremolinos is a standout stay, with kempt gardens, a seasonal outdoor pool and shaded swing-chairs perfect for siestas. A good night’s rest is guaranteed in its relaxing bedrooms with white-painted beams and vintage wooden furniture. Homemade breakfasts to order include delicate fresh fruit salad – best enjoyed with piping hot coffee on the tiled patio. Torremolinos, bargain gateway to the Costa del Sol, has a surprise or two up its sleeve: try the Pablo Ruiz Picasso Cultural Centre, a 15-minute stroll away.

10. Olive & Ivy Guest House

Guesthouse

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 Courtesy of Bed and breakfast Olive & Ivy Guesthouse / Booking.com

Canillas de Aceituno, an hour’s drive from Malaga, makes a refreshing change from the beach, and it’s just the ticket for outdoorsy types, with its hiking routes and bike trails. This modernised guesthouse is a popular choice: a slice of urban luxe with four individually-styled rooms and a cool, contemporary whitewashed family apartment rife with geometric pattern fabrics. Deluxe doubles have balconies overlooking the Plaza Mayor with its village bustle. The big reveal? it’s not just a full English breakfast on offer on the shaded terrace – they do a full Irish too.

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