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  Kempinski Hotel Bahia Resort, Marbella Estepona, Spain
– A Flashpacker favourite for golfers, fun lovers and families
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As Europe’s oldest luxury hotel group, 'Kempinski’ are proud of their brand name and state that they they offer ‘exquisite European flair’ and believe that, ‘life should be lived with style’. Today they are whole-heartedly committed to providing perfection for their guests – with this in mind we put them to the test.

Glitz, Glamour & Golf

Easy jetting to Malaga, then a 40 minute car journey, we arrive at the 5 star Kempinski Hotel Bahia – a brilliant blend of Moorish and Andalusian architecture in eternal terracotta and part of the renowned chain and a member of The Leading Hotels of the World and Global Hotel Alliance.

Veranda View: Kempinski Bahia
[Click to enlarge pics]
Kempinski Hotel Photo Gallery
Opened in 1999, the resort is decorated throughout with huge canvasses and tiles painted in opulent and sensual style by celebrated German born artist Stefan Szczesny, quoted as the most Spanish painter of Spain, post Picasso. No doubt on the way to the beach you’re bound to bump into a breast, a butt or a bull. The grounds are littered with ‘Tinajas’; giant clay pots, laying on their sides on the lawns and beachfront, capped by canvas covers, tempting guests to beat them like bongo drums.

There are three gorgeous swimming pools snaking through the award-winning pristine tropical gardens sloping down to the sandy beach with panoramic views of the Med, Gibraltar and North African coastline. It’s truly a superb resort for adults and kids.

In spite of being low season the hotel is full. An eclectic mix of stylish Europeans, mainly from the UK and Germany and refined Arabian princesses who occupy the sumptuous suites, guarded by their dark-suited, mysterious minders.

The hotel prides itself on ‘not being a golf hotel but best hotel for golfers'.

The Golf Desk offers guests unrivaled access to 25 top golf courses, arranging packages at special prices.
A Willy Wonka-esque choice for golfing guests who can swing at the very best clubs, including the esteemed Finca Cortesin, that hosted the Volvo Match Play Championship from 2009-2012; European Tour venues San Roque, Sotogrande and La Quinta, rising stars La Reserva and Almenara, and the golden ticket – king of them all, the ubiquitous Valderrama which is open all year round.

Kempinski Kids Have Fun

A Safe Haven for Children

So who’s looking after the kids while the parents are playing? In the high-season the multi-lingual professional animators at the Kempinski Kids Club in keeping with their ‘fun and learn’ philosophy, will see that ‘Kempinskininis’ aged 4 to12 are entertained. Sporting activities on the beach and in the sea include water-polo, cooking, T-shirt painting, catching frogs in the pond, canoeing in the summer and visiting the organic vegetable gardens.

The main thing is that children will be kept safe and amused as required during the period between 11am till 10pm. There’s tennis and water-sports for all the family.

Pillow Talk

Accommodation comprises 128 comfortable elegant bedrooms with marble bathrooms and terraces and 17 uber deluxe suites, some with Jacuzzi’s, planted on penthouse roof decks.

Our Junior Suite is beautiful with a stunning seaview. However, husband Philip finds his pillow a trifle hard. Housekeeping says not to worry because the hotel has a Comfort Menu, offering baby soap and lotions, fragrant bath salts and a Pillow Menu from which hotel guests can select from the best duck down pillow called ‘Rosa’, to modern sleep inducing head comforters. He is very impressed and sleeps with Rosa every night!

One of the joys of staying in this luxury hotel is greeting the day at breakfast. The Kempinski Bahia hits a high score at El Mirador with over a hundred items to suit the morning tastes of every nationality. The spacious veranda overlooks the gardens and the bay of Marbella.

What’s on the Menu?

There’s an abundance of dining choices: seafood and fish at the ocean-facing La Cabaña del Mar, romantic Italian Alfresco dining at La Trattoria with live entertainment, june till october; the Alminar Wine & Steakhouse and for memorable occasions reserve a 4 course candlelight dinner at the 16th Century Alminara Watchtower, very popular with honeymooners and those proposing life’s journey together – Max capacity: 9 guests (24 hours notice).

Feeling peckish by the pool? Spanish elevenses; snacks, ice cream and fresh juices, readily available during high season. And for guests who want to graze mid-afternoon; “Spanish High Tea” is served in the Lobby Lounge. There’s a dress code in the evening so no flip-flops and shorts.

Philip’s man food – a ‘tot’ at the Bahia Kempinski Bar; home to the largest Single Malt Whisky collection in the Costa del Sol, offering over a hundred selected brands from all around the globe.

Today's Catch – La Cabaña del Mar

I like to be pampered. At the time of our visit the Spa was in the midst of being renovated for the summer. However, it didn’t stop me having a relaxing Harmony massage in one of the bedrooms.

Flamenco at Kempinski – Artist Stefan Szczesny


Disclaimer: Prices correct at the time of publication.

The Kempinski chain knows how to entertain

Ahead is glorious Easter and high summer, when the resort is in full swing with a calendar of nightly entertainment and events. But it’s not only the facilities that makes this a world-class luxury hotel and the finest all-rounder on the Costa del Sol, it’s the attention to guests requests from the courteous and ‘can do’ staff that makes a stay at this Kempinski pleasure dome such fun and so memorable.

The hotel is only 3km from the village of Estepona and 20 driving minutes from Marbella. It is also easy to take a day trip to major cities such as Malaga, Seville, Granada and Cordoba. If you are interested in moving around, it’s best to rent a car as Estepona is the only town in walking distance (approx. 20 minutes).

Rooms from €130 + VAT low season.  For special offers and events calendar visit the Kempinski website.

Award-winning online luxury travel agent, Destinology also offers excellent packages with or without flights and the knowledgeable staff are very helpful and efficient.


© Philip and Nina Saville, The 2012-15