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Atarra has just got back from Spain, and tells us her impressions of her stay at the Kempinski:

Kempinski Hotel Bahia Estepona is a very elegant and contemporary hotel located off the convenient highway. Transfer time from Malaga International Airport is approx 1 hour and from Gibraltar International Airport it is approx 40 mins. If you want to explore the surrounding areas you’ll need a car or taxi to get around as it is pretty much on its own. The old town of Estepona which is a 10 min drive away is much less developed, less glitzy and less expensive than its neighbours such as Marbella & Puerto Banus and it’s not as touristy. It is full of character with steep, narrow cobbled streets, whitewashed houses, lots of beautiful flowers, loads of tapas bars and boutiques. Estepona Marina is also worth visiting as here you will find the famous ‘Reinaldo’ bar which is always buzzing with local Spaniards, several very reasonably priced tapas bar’s and an array of the more pricier restaurant’s to cater for all sorts of tastes – Chinese, Indian, Fish and Spanish.

The beaches here are among the best on this stretch of coast. La Rada is the main beach in Estepona and stretches for miles,with golden sand but shingly and stony in places. There is a smaller ‘cove’ like beach called Playa San Cristo which is great for little ones as the sand shelves very gently into the sea and the water is generally very calm. About 500m along the Kempinski beach on the left is a place called Laguna Beach which is a mixture of restaurants, bars, numerous designer clothes shops, a swimming pool and sun beds (at a charge) – all extremely pricey!! It’s like a ‘very’ mini Puerto Banus and full of ‘bling’!! You can get to Laguna Village from the beach by the Kempinski which takes about 10 minutes but it involves walking on the sand or alternatively a taxi takes 3 minutes but comes at a hefty price of 8 euros! For the golf fans there are lots of golf courses in Estepona, for culture try the historic town of Casares & Ronda and for a fun family day out Selwo Safari Park is the place to visit – all within easy reach of the Kempinski.

I loved the style of the Kempinski Hotel, the terracotta architecture makes it look & feel very Spanish, the tropical gardens are vast and stunning, there are three outdoor pools one of which is heated and even when at 90% occupancy as it was when I was there in early September the hotel & grounds didn’t feel crowded at all. There are loads of sun loungers and the lower pool is the most popular and is the centre for the family entertainment.

All 147 rooms & suites are modern, elegant, very clean looking and spacious and they all have a balcony. The Deluxe Rooms have very small balconies but the rooms are generous in size, 42 sqm and offer a bath and separate shower. The Junior Suites & Deluxe Suites have larger balconies and offer a lot more space. All of the Deluxe Rooms interconnect but avoid the Deluxe Rooms with Inland View and even some of the Garden View rooms as these over look the main highway. It is worth paying the extra to have a Side Sea View or Full Sea View rooms as the views from these rooms are lovely. The Junior Suites are very big at 80 sq and the Deluxe Suites are 100 sqm.

The beach by the hotel isn’t all that attractive nor is it particularly child friendly as the waterline is very rocky and stony make it very difficult to get in and out of the sea. There are however an array of comfortable large sun loungers which are dotted around grassy area up a level from the sand and the views of the coastline and sea is absolutely stunning. I noticed that it was mostly adults that were by the beach and families tended to stay by the pools.

I didn’t feel that the Spa here had as big a ‘wow’ factor as other hotel spas that I’ve been to but with an indoor serenity heated pool, a gym and a sauna which are free of charge to hotel guests as well as a generous offering of massages & beauty treatments, it certainly serves the purpose.

I was very impressed with the kids club (4 – 12 yrs) open daily from 1100hrs – 1700hrs in high season (Easter, Summer, Christmas & New Year) and Pepe, the kids club manager is brilliant, so enthusiastic with the kids and they adore him. Activities include Spanish lessons, treasure hunts, football, cookie baking, dance lessons, clay workshops, swimming games and many more. Children under 4 years are allowed into the club if accompanied by a parent or baby sitter. Children’s menus are available in all restaurants and room service. Baby cots, highchairs, bottle warmers, and kettles available on request.

Good choice of 3 restaurants ranging from Mediterranean to Italian to Spanish cuisine and two bars one of which is a poolside bar. Food & drink is on the pricey side but I would definitely recommend half board unless you prefer to eat locally in Estepona or in the other nearby towns as it allows you to dine in between all 3 restaurants and children under 6 years of age are free on half board when parents are booked on this board basis.

I had heard that the breakfast was exceptional here and it was absolutely top notch with such a lot of variety.

I was very impressed the facilities provided; the gardens, pools, decent kids menus and general friendly approach to kids. The resort as a whole has a great ambienceGardens, is ideal for adults and children of all ages, it’s very good for families with a mix of generations and everything is just so easy and ever so relaxing.”

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