15 minutes from Malaga airport, between the towns of Benalmádena and Fuengirola lie some rather impressive hotels. I know this because that is where my friends are staying for the next two weeks: jealous? You betchya!
It is a long time since destinations like nearby Torremolenos first hit the travel headlines. They were cheap, package-holiday friendly resorts designed to attract anyone needing to escape the grey of 1970’s Britain: at any cost! And that was most of us! And we didn’t have very high expectations!
But you only need to have a look on the web to see that things have changed on the Costa Del Sol. It is still the family friendly hub that it has always been, but as our holiday expectations have risen, so have the standards of its hotels: great examples include the Holiday Polynesia and the Holiday Hydros hotels – two very different places for two different markets
Hotels of Costa Del Sol
Once upon a time, holiday makers would be impressed to find a nearby town boasting several family-friendly restaurants, a few bars, a disco, a theatre, a cinema, cafes, kids clubs, somewhere for teenagers to hang out, haidressers, spas, minigolf etc.
Nowadays all of this is available actually within the Holiday Polynesia Hotel itself!
So no wonder families who come to the Costas find it hard to get much further than their hotel in the first week of an holiday here if this is what they can expect to find.
But if a fortnight with other poeple’s kids fills you with fear, don’t worry. There are also small luxury hotels available. The Hydros Hotel, for example, is about a tenth of the size of the Palace, only has 28 luxury rooms and is all about wellness, comfort, peace and quite!
With state-of-the-art spa facilities you may not be surprised that guests here have just as hard a time leaving the hotel as the guests of the Polynesia!
I mention these two particular hotels in passing as it is important when considering the Costa del Sol to get rid of some of the pre-conceptions you might have a bout the area, but not all!
Just as holidays here were perfect for our parents, the area has moved with the times and is perfect for us too: whether we want serenity and romance, a few pints and a bop or somewhere were we can forget about the kids for a fortnight.
Obviously you will do your own homework (I’m just going to ask Jane and Richard on their return as to what they thought) but do check out www.holidayvillage- costadelsol.co.uk for more information on the hotels mentioned above. You will see what I mean about the variety of holidays on offer here.
Getting out of the Hotel
Spain is a country so rich in food and drink, sport and culture that, on the flip side it could be tricky to find time to get round to using the hotels facilities!
Health and Wellness is just one of the thematic holidays that the Costa Del Sol like to promote to visitors to the region.
The hinterland has always been a great escape destination for the more active holidaymakers. Look out for VITA an organisation that brings together Green, Inland Active Tourism – in fact that what it stands for in Spanish! But it is not just about nature and rocks and mountains. It also brings together culture, history and tradition.
Perfect if you want to discover a bit more of Spain outside of your hotel.
Getting to Malaga
Malaga has excellent connections from all the major UK airports with Monarch, Ryan Air and Easyjet all flying non-stop (by the way I write for the Monarch inflight magazine so keep an eye out for articles on the UK’s Theatre Scene!).
I must also mention rail travel to Spain. In this age of cheap air travel it is easy to forget that many people don’t actually like flying! So with an increasingly open network of high speed trains going through Europe on any one day it is worth mentioning that tickets London to Malaga start at just £169 per person and the journey takes just 24 hours.
After taking the Eurostar to Paris you can enjoy a sleeper train to Perpignan before picking up a fast train to Madrid and another super quicky (it’s called AVE) on to Malaga. Personally I don’t really mind either way but it has to be said that the scenery is better on the train!
However you get to the Costa Del Sol, just remember that however much you would like to stay in your hotel, your best memories will be of the times you actually left your hotels, took a walk or a bus and had a proper explore!
Take some water, some good shoes, sun tan lotion and an English/Spanish phrase book and have an adventure!