Not so long ago, Malaga‘s international airport was solely a drop-off point for visitors seeking sun and sea elsewhere along the Costa del Sol, but now the city is a destination its own right. Malaga and the surrounding area are now home to a number of super-cool designer and boutique hotels providing luxury that’s not as draining on the wallet as you might expect. Here is our guide to the city’s smartest, most chic accommodation.
Room Mate Larios
The unbeatable location of one of Malaga’s coolest designer hotels means it is also a popular hang-out for Malagueños, who crowd into its trendy bar at the weekend for cocktails. The 41-room hotel is situated a two-minute stroll from Plaza Constitución, the old town’s most central square, and directly on the glossy shopping-boulevard that is Calle Marques Larios (named after a former mayor of Malaga). The interiors are bold and contemporary, heavily favouring a smart black-and-white colour scheme, and a stunning roof terrace overlooks the single tower of Malaga’s great cathedral.
Warm, welcoming oranges and yellows characterise the interior of this smart boutique hotel, which is located in the heart of Malaga’s old town. It’s a tribute to the designers that the ultra-modern style doesn’t feel like an imposition on the converted 20th century townhouse that houses Petit Palace; the effect, rather, is a harmonious mix of the contemporary and the traditional. Its superb location means you’re only about a ten-minute walk from the beach, but the 66-room hotel provides all guests with complementary bicycles for the duration of their stay to make getting around that bit easier. Some rooms have cathedral views.
With many of its 61 rooms overlooking Malaga’s vast port and the enticing blue of the Mediterranean beyond, Room Mate Valeria guarantees you some of the best views in the city. Friendly, helpful staff and a roof terrace with comfortable loungers and a plunge-pool further enhance the offering of a designer hotel that is establishing itself as one of the most desirable in Malaga. In contrast to the black-and-white interiors of Room Mate Larios, which sits about five minutes away up Calle Marques, the rooms here are in loud whites, greens and blues that nevertheless feel cosy. Some also have balconies, enabling you to better enjoy the wonderful views.
The star attraction of this bright and spacious five-star boutique hotel is the unique access it provides to Malaga’s rich history. Beneath a section of floor in the bar, you can see remains of the city’s Roman and Arabic walls. As if that weren’t cool enough, you can walk directly beneath the bar among the ancient ruins themselves, giving this sleek 109-room hotel an edge that must be the envy of its many competitors. Rooms are colourfully decorated in dark pinks, purples and white and many have balconies and small terraces. The historic city centre of Malaga is about a ten minute walk away.
If you’re after a luxury retreat in the countryside but still within easy reach of the beach, Villa Guadalupe is the place to book. Situated about a twenty-minute drive away from Malaga city and the beach, Guadalupe squats on top of a hill in the exclusive residential quarter of El Atabal, formerly a Dutch colony. To reflect this cultural heritage, paintings by the Dutch artist Irene van Vlijmen adorn the walls of its 11 bright, spacious rooms and communal spaces. The latter includes a beautifully-decorated restaurant in which you can enjoy the food of well-regarded chef Amador Fernández.
Central courtyard of Hotel Palacio Blanco | courtesy of Palacio Blanco
If you want beach-side accommodation within reach of all that Malaga city has to offer, but not right in the middle of all the activity, Palacio Blanco should be top of your list. Situated in the charming white-washed residential suburb of Velez-Malaga, about half an hour away from Malaga itself, this nine-room boutique hotel overlooks some of the Costa de Sol’s finest beaches. The exquisitely decorated rooms surround the elegant central courtyard of a restored 18th century palace, offering a perfectly balanced combination of tradition and modernity. For days dedicated to lounging and catching the sun, you won’t have to travel further than the hotel’s lovely roof terrace, which has a spa-pool and fantastic views of the coast.