by Terence Baker | November 01, 2004

The Gran Hotel Guadalpin

Marbella majesty:
The Gran Hotel Guadalpín

Along Spain’s southern coast, with the Mediterranean Sea as its front yard, Costa del Sol is an enchanting mix of sunny beaches, rugged hills and electric nightlife. Málaga is at the center of the action and has the area’s main airport; nearby cities such as Estepona, Fuengirola and Marbella are known for their world-class resorts. Up in the hills, beautiful whitewashed towns such as Mijas, Ojén and Ronda await discovery.

In 2007, the AVE high-speed train will begin service from Madrid to Málaga, a two-hour journey.
    A second runway at busy Málaga Airport will open in 2010.

Málaga-based incentive company Libertad Conference & Incentive Travel added three new tours this year. The Picasso tour visits the artist’s birthplace in Málaga as well as the city’s new Picasso Museum; the Mountain Wine Route goes to the hill town of Ronda and its wineries, while the Two Continents tour travels to Tangier in Morocco, three hours away via coach and ferry from Marbella.

Adjacent to 45 holes of golf, the Hotel Villa Padierna last month added 54 new guest rooms (for a total of 107) plus a spa with eight treatment rooms, a gym and a pool. New for next year will be an additional 18 holes of golf. Resembling a Tuscan mansion, the property opened in spring 2003 and features two restaurants and approximately 10,000 square feet of meeting space.

The 144-room Gran Hotel Elba Estepona & Thalasso Spa opened on June 15, complete with a spa, a private beach and the Paris-Roma restaurant. Meetings are held in a theater seating 300, a classroom for 240 and a banquet hall for 200.

The 285-room Hotel Beatriz Palace & Spa opened in April. The fourth property of the Spain-based Beatriz Hoteles chain, the hotel is adjacent
to this coastal town’s 12th-century Sohail Castle and has function space and 11 meeting rooms for between 50 and 1,200 people.

The New Fair & Exhibition Center opened in March 2003. The facility has two exhibition pavilions separated by a large patio. In total, the center has approximately 200,000 square feet of exhibit space and accommodates up to 2,400 people.
    Set to debut in March 2005 is the 180-room Hotel Monte Málaga. The oceanfront property will offer a pool, a gym and function space for up to 1,200 people.

The 127-room Gran Hotel Guadalpín opened in March, just 100 feet from the city’s Palacio de Ferias y Congresos convention center, which has 30,000 square feet of exhibition space for up to 2,000 people. The hotel has 4,000 square feet of its own meeting space. Also on site are two regional eateries, as well as a Japanese restaurant overseen by the former personal chef of Japan’s Emperor Akihito.
    The Guadalpín chain also plans to open the Exclusive Resort Guadalpín Banús next year in nearby trendy Puerto Banús.
    The 241-room Don Carlos Beach & Golf Resort Hotel has added four small meeting rooms, holding 10 people each, and plans to add 14 to 16 additional meeting rooms in the next year. In June, the property debuted a night spot called Nikki Beach. Although the club has indoor space for 200, it is the outside deck white linen, comfy sofas, sea breezes where guests are invariably drawn.