The 10 Best Boutique Hotels on the Costa del Sol

Nerja is just one of the Costa del Sol's many inviting beach spots
Nerja is just one of the Costa del Sol's many inviting beach spots | © Fotomicar / Getty Images
Photo of Molly Codyre
22 July 2020

The super-resorts that line the Spanish coast have a lot to offer – but you’ll never get the same level of service and attention to detail that a boutique hotel has to offer. Culture Trip rounds up the best places to stay, now travel to Spain is back on the agenda.

As you would expect of Spain’s top tourist destination, the Costa del Sol has a lot of accommodation options. And, frankly, the choice can be overwhelming. So whether you want to play golf by the sea or relax in a pueblo blanco in the Andalusian mountains, we’ve narrowed down 10 of the best for you to choose from.

Hotel Marbella Heights

Overlooking Marbella’s prestigious Rio Real golf course, on a stretch of coast affectionately known as the Costa del Golf, Marbella Heights should be top of your list if you’re a golfer looking for luxury. The exquisite suites all have pan-Asian themes, with names such as Mandara and Khao-Lak, and offer some of the best sea views around. They’re particularly strong on arranging trips and activities here, so if you fancy a visit to a winery, a private yoga lesson or even a Spanish cookery class from the hotel’s in-house chefs, this is the place for you.
Everything you need to know

At a Glance

Free WiFi
Outdoor pool
Breakfast available (surcharge)
Restaurant
24-hour front desk
Multilingual staff
Terrace
Bar/lounge
Smoke-free property

Townhouse Marbella

Right in the heart of Marbella city centre, Townhouse Marbella brings a slice of old-school luxury to this beach destination. With only 10 rooms, this is boutique accommodation at its best, with personal service, complimentary breakfast, and a residents-only roof terrace providing sweeping views over the coastal town. Plus, the hotel is located just a few hundred feet from the boardwalk that runs between Marbella and Puerto Banus, so you’ll be dipping your toes in the Mediterranean in no time.
Everything you need to know

At a Glance

Free WiFi
Express check-out
Dry cleaning/laundry service
Multilingual staff
Bar/lounge
Smoke-free property

The Urban Villa, Ojen

If you’re planning a trip with a large group of family or friends, Urban Villa will take some beating. Sitting in the foothills of the Ojen mountains, just a 15-minute drive from Marbella, this plush, five suite villa combines traditional Mediterranean charm with all mod cons, and five-star service. Groups of up to 12 can have this place to themselves, and you won’t be disappointed with the outdoor terraces and pool, or the views of coast and mountains. It all feels blissfully removed from the daily bustle, but it’s close enough to dip into the nightlife if you feel like a change of pace.
Everything you need to know

At a Glance

Free WiFi
Outdoor pool
Breakfast available (surcharge)
Dry cleaning/laundry service
Multilingual staff
Terrace
Smoke-free property

Hotel Room Mate Larios, Málaga

This distinctive art-deco building in the centre of Málaga is a cosy bolthole, close to all the excitement of the city. Breakfast is served until noon, giving you plenty of time to fuel up before exploring nearby treats like the Picasso Museum and the Cathedral. The pièce de résistance, however, is the Larios Terrace – order yourself a sundowner from its enormous circular bar, grab a seat and watch the city spires turn to silhouettes under an orange sky.
Everything you need to know

At a Glance

Free WiFi
Breakfast available (surcharge)
Conference space
Concierge services
24-hour front desk
Dry cleaning/laundry service
Multilingual staff
Bar/lounge
Smoke-free property

La Fonda, Benalmádena

The 28-room La Fonda is situated in the charming old town of Benalmádena – yet it’s far removed from the city’s nightlife, offering modern luxury in a traditional whitewashed building. The interiors are decorated in bold primary colours, each associated with one of the three cultures that have influenced the region: Andalusian, Greek (Mediterranean) and Moorish. There’s a luxurious spa and outdoor pool, along with thoughtful extras such as complimentary fruit at reception. The enormous terracotta-tiled roof terrace is an all-day hotspot – perfect for a sun-soaked breakfast or atmospheric evening cocktails.
Everything you need to know

At a Glance

Free WiFi
Outdoor pool
Restaurant
In-room accessibility
Full-service spa
24-hour front desk
Fitness facilities
Dry cleaning/laundry service
Multilingual staff
Bar/lounge
Smoke-free property

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  • Kempinski Bahia, Estepona

    This sprawling estate is right on the beachfront in a small fishing village just outside of Marbella. An enormous pool offers a delightful cool-down for those who like to avoid the sea, while golfing aficionados can practice their swing on the area’s best courses with the hotel’s in-house golf concierge. There are six bars and restaurants, more than enough to keep you busy, well fed and watered, whether it’s grilled ribeye steak from Baltazar Bar & Grill or a mojito on the sand at Spiler Beach Club.
    Everything you need to know

    At a Glance

    Free WiFi
    Breakfast available (surcharge)
    Full-service spa
    Beach towels
    Conference space
    Concierge services
    24-hour front desk
    Limo or Town Car service available
    Dry cleaning/laundry service
    Multilingual staff
    Terrace
    Smoke-free property

    Finca Cortesin, Casares

    If you’re looking for a golf trip and don’t mind splashing a bit of cash, then the grand, 67-suite Finca Cortesin is for you. It’s widely considered one of the most luxurious hotels on the Costa del Sol, with a superb golf course that online golfing directory Leading Courses called one of the best in Europe. Its plush rooms have high ceilings and elegant decor featuring kooky printed drapes, headboards upholstered in ivory-shaded fabrics and avant-garde chandeliers. If golf isn’t your thing, there are four pools, two tennis and paddle courts, a gym, and a luxury spa to keep you occupied.
    Everything you need to know

    At a Glance

    Free WiFi
    Restaurant
    Full-service spa
    Beach towels
    Express check-out
    Conference space
    Concierge services
    24-hour front desk
    Dry cleaning/laundry service
    Terrace
    Bar/lounge
    Smoke-free property

    Hotel Vincci Selección Aleysa, Benalmádena

    Vincci Selección Aleysa in Benalmádena has carved out a reputation for itself as one of the chicest boutique hotels on the Costa del Sol – quite an accolade given the competition. Each of its 35 rooms boasts a sea view, which you can admire over the delicious bottle of cava you’ll find waiting in your room. Pillow menus (yes, you really can have your choice of pillow), and a spa with everything from Turkish baths to a Finnish sauna keep things chill, or if you’re feeling more active there are two bars, a beachfront pool area, and a courtesy bicycle service. In-house Restaurant Alamar is about as waterfront as it gets, and the breathtaking sunset views make for a magical evening.
    Everything you need to know

    At a Glance

    Free WiFi
    In-room accessibility
    Beach towels
    Express check-out
    Concierge services
    24-hour front desk
    Dry cleaning/laundry service
    Multilingual staff
    Terrace
    Smoke-free property

    Hotel Villa Guadalupe, Málaga

    If you’re after a luxury retreat in the countryside that’s still within easy reach of the beach, head for Hotel Villa Guadalupe. A 20-minute drive from Málaga and the beach, the hotel is perched on top of a hill in the exclusive residential quarter of El Atabal, formerly a Dutch colony. In homage to this cultural heritage, paintings by Dutch artist Irene van Vlijmen adorn the walls of its spacious rooms. Communal spaces include an excellent restaurant helmed by chef Amador Fernández – the seafood menu, with dishes such as contemporary paella and tuna tartare, is so good it’s a favourite among locals.
    Everything you need to know

    At a Glance

    Free WiFi
    Outdoor pool
    Breakfast available (surcharge)
    Restaurant
    Concierge services
    Dry cleaning/laundry service
    Multilingual staff
    Bar/lounge
    Smoke-free property

    Vincci Selección Posada del Patio, Málaga

    An ultra-chic place to stay, this foliage-filled hotel feels like a little slice of paradise in the heart of Málaga. In addition to countless plants, you’ll find palm-influenced golden orbs running from floor to ceiling in the lobby, and greenery-patterned bedspreads bringing an outdoor feel into your bedroom. The rooftop swimming pool is open all day, so you can take a morning dip before the heat sets in, or cool off in the evening. Breakfast is a quiet affair – served up in the soothing breakfast room, it’s a dreamy way to start the day and energise yourself for the adventures ahead.
    Everything you need to know

    At a Glance

    Free WiFi
    Outdoor pool
    Breakfast available (surcharge)
    Restaurant
    In-room accessibility
    Express check-out
    Concierge services
    24-hour front desk
    Dry cleaning/laundry service
    Multilingual staff
    Bar/lounge
    Smoke-free property

    This article is an updated version of a story originally created by Mark Nayler

    These recommendations were updated on July 22, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.