Elba Estepona Gran Hotel is a well-established hotel located right on the beach. There are two large outdoor pools including one designated for children while there’s also an indoor pool on the rooftop which enjoys superb views towards Gibraltar and Africa. In the peak summer months the hotel hosts a Kids Club where the staff will entertain their younger guests with games, arts and crafts and other activities.
There are no less than 35 golf courses, many with glorious sea views, within easy reach of the hotel and the front desk is on hand to assist with reservations. Head for the Thalasso Spa where you’ll find thermal pools, hydro massages, ice baths, sauna, a whirlpool and a Turkish bath as well as a range of other treatments.
The Arena Beach restaurant offers buffet-style international cuisine and there are also three other à la carte choices which are well worth sampling. ‘Andalus’ specialises in international and Andalusian specialties; ‘Asia Fusion’ in dishes from the Far East whilst ‘Paris Rome’ showcases the very best of French and Italian cuisine. Head for the lobby bar for a cocktail, the pool bar for a cool beer or the Terrace Bar where there’s regular live music.
Once a long line of fishing villages, Costa del Sol rose out of the landscape to become a favoured destination for holiday-makers during the 1960s and 1970s. Today its continuous popularity as a sunny getaway is visible in the luxury resorts and hotels like Elba Estepona Gran Hotel and Thalasso Spaalong the coastline. In the city of Benalmadena, just next to the lavish resorts, you can wander along the promenade to the beautifully exotic Parque de la Paloma for a bit of relaxation and people-watching.
If you’re looking for somewhere to show off your own aquatic skills, then head to Aqualand Torremolinos, for a go on the slides, rides and pools. Further north on the coast lies the provincial capital of Malaga with its fortress, Alcazaba, towering above the city with unbeatable views. At the foot of the fortress, there’s a museum dedicated to the city’s most famous son, Pablo Picasso. Day trips to Cadiz and Gibraltar are also possible. After a day of experiences and sightseeing, dive into some of the region’s local cuisine. Tapas accompanied by sweet Malaga wine serve as good introductions, but fried seafood and almond biscuits should definitely also be sampled frequently.