Hashtag Life visited and reviewed an Andalusian Gem; The 5* Kempinski Bahia Hotel, in Estepona
When you think of Marbella; you think of the fashionable holiday hotspot of the 80s and 90s and even the noughties – a riviera of it’s own, a summer destination to rival it’s neighbouring Countries’ rivieras: a hub of flashy hotels, world-standard restaurants, beach clubs, and parties. Marbella may still be so, albeit a little more tame and certainly more accessible now, to the seaside-goers, locals, family-holidayers, and young adults; but we were introduced to a new charm which hasn’t peaked yet, but we certainly believe is going to: the charming seaside town of Estepona.
A new “Golden Mile” stretches across the Costa Del Sol, and panders away from the well-known Puerto Banus, offering a more refined, quaint, unspoiled beautiful new slice of southern Spain. We visited The Kempinski Bahia, located at the foot of Estepona’s mesmerising town centre, and home to a long golden stretch of the Andalucian beach.
Nature surrounds this beautiful traditional fishing village, from those endless beaches to La Concha Mountain – only a few minutes away from the Hotel. The local town was an absolute sight; stripping the beauty of life right back down to it’s cobbled streets, hanging lanterns, the flower pots on every window sill creating little colourful streams for the wandering visitor to follow as they happen upon beautiful churches, little garden squares, romantic spots, and small local restaurants. Estepona town is one which has truly preserved its many riches through its effortless simplicity.
The Kempinski Bahia hotel is worth visiting for it’s culinary accomplishments alone. Some of the best food I’ve had in a European hotel, I had at the hotels jewel of a restaurant: Baltazar. The restaurant sits behind the hotel’s largest outdoor heated pool, an oasis in it’s style, and with long window seats that enjoy the sunset colours as they arrive. Inside the restaurant away from this view however is an entire buzz of it’s own; a jazzy, golden-lit atmosphere, with an open kitchen boasting the four different grills used here, adds flare and ambience.
The inventive plates straight from he grill with southern Spanish inspiration are unquestionably addictive – we returned twice during our stay, and couldn’t grow bored of the delectable tastes on offer at the restaurant. Next door however is another gem; La Cuina De Mi Abuela – My grandmothers kitchen – and thats exactly where you’ll feel you are, with the home comforts and incredibly sweet and friendly service it dishes out. The ambience at this restaurant matches its plate; hearty, warm, comforting, filling, and served with a whole lot of hospitality. Our waiter was the only one on duty, rushing between several tables, but always doing so as if you were the only guest in his restaurant. A true delight, that really allows guests to end a day at the hotel feeling happily hosted. Other dining options include Black Rose, the all day bar for light bites, and Spiller the beach-club style bar/restaurant.
In true Kempinski style; the rooms are have a classical-contemporary design, swish marble bathrooms, top of the range amenities, and a spacious feel for that added comfort and tranquility. Most rooms come with a balcony; and garden or sea views alike, both are peaceful and pretty.
I only had time to peak into the Spa, so cannot speak for the experience on offer, however the extremely vast and therapeutic looking space, offers holistic treatments using natural and high-quality brands, in six luxurious treatment rooms. They offer a wonderful selection of all the usual massages and treatments, whilst thet Beauty & Wellness Centre features a state-of-the-art fitness-centre including a Technogym Kinesis wall, a new Finnish sauna, a steam bath, relaxation area and an indoor pool.
One of the most individual and impressive characteristics of the hotel (second to its winning highlight for me: the gastronomy) is it’s cultural involvement in the local goings-on and the events it will host/take part in to celebrate that. As the region was the birthplace of Picasso, with the Museo Picasso Malaga nearby, the hotel also takes part in celebrating artist’s installations on its own grounds, and a gallery of pieces for guests to enjoy, changing seasonally, to display new and different talents.
Lastly, no other destination combines culture, culinary experiences and golf at such an elevated level like Andalucia, and as part of the many services on offer at the hotel, a golf-concerige is on hand at the hotel’s reception for personalised packages and special price arrangements with over 20 golf courses in the area.
Overall, my takeaway sentiment from a stay at the Kempinski Bahia is that it is one of the most beautiful Kempinski Hotels I have visited, so if you are a fan of the brand’s renowned class and opulence, you will certainly not be disappointed with this hotel, especially with its recent renovations rendering it with a polished and modern feel. It is a hotel you can enjoy throughout the seasons – so Winter is definitely not out of the question (we visited in November) although not if you’re a swimmer – stick to the summer months, of course! Any foodie, will be happy here with a hop and a skip to any of their stellar restaurants. Most of all, the hotel for me, celebrates the ethos of ultimate relaxation, and the desire to step away from today’s busy world to relax somewhere refined and private, whilst also feeling relevant and luxurious.