Approximately one hour's drive by car from Malaga airport, or forty minutes from Gibraltar, Finca Cortesin is set in Andalucia, just inland from the Mediterranean between Sotogrande and Estepona. Turning off the main road into the hotel's resort, you immediately feel a sense of calm and exclusivity. We pull up onto the cobbled driveway of this palacial whitewashed finca, adorned with coral pink geraniums and blue and white tiles. Staff immediately appear, opening doors and relieving us of bags, whilst we are welcomed into the cool and minimal lobby. My first impression was that I'd arrived at someone's beautiful home, rather than a hotel.
Our room wasn’t quite ready so we were invited to sit outside for complimentary welcome drinks and tapas whilst we waited. This ‘welcome’ is extended to all guests and is a very smart touch, not having to sign a drinks bill as soon as you arrive is most welcomed.
Sitting outside amongst the olive trees, I was struck by how peaceful Finca Cortesin really is. No ill fitting or loud background music is piped through anywhere in the hotel, leaving you to appreciate the calm and take in the landscape. After a couple of glasses of champagne, some tapas of ham and cheese, the room was ready.
Finca Cortesin is an 'all suite' hotel, with only 67 in total. The sizes of the suites are incredibly generous, the entry level room being a Junior Suite and 52 square metres. Each room is individually designed, with neutral tones offset by pops of colour and patterns. It’s impossible not to be struck by the ceiling heights here, they are 4 metres at their lowest.
A hallway and dressing area lead into a large spacious bedroom with separate sitting area, and French doors open onto a west facing terrace that I immediately imagine myself enjoying a drink on before dinner.
One of the many favourable points of Finca Cortesin, is it’s five different restaurants, meaning a stay here is never monotonous in terms of dining. They are so superb, you'll want to eat in each at least twice.
The variety, ambience and design of each restaurant has been very cleverly thought out, giving each a very unique personality. Michelin starred ‘Kabuki Raw’ is the hotel's fine dining Japanese restaurant, the outside area set in a beautiful covered courtyard, extremely romantic come dusk. The staff here are incredible and manage to transform our menu choices into what felt like a chefs tasting menu, advising which dishes to bring at which pace and plating half portions of each dish we’d chosen to share, so there was no fighting over each plate at the table! Dinner here lasted over 3 and a half hours and I left wishing I was staying long enough to enjoy another dinner at Kabuki.
Other evenings were spent at the more informal Don Giovanni, Finca Cortesin's Italian Trattoria. The interior design of this restaurant really takes you to Italy, clever red and white patterns dominte the design and it's centrepiece is the courtyard where tables are most requested. Heaters and blankets are readily on hand for all in lower seasons. You’ll certainly want to dine here more than once, the menu is so vast it's impossible to choose and you'll find yourself spying dishes being served to other tables and wishing you’d ordered that too!
Another option for dinner at Finca Cortesin is Jardin du Lutz, providing traditional Andalucian cuisine. I chose not to eat here during our stay only because the terrace of Jardin du Lutz is where breakfast is served and coming to Andalucia from Madrid I'd had my fair share of Spanish cuisine. I must add, the terrace of Jardin du Latz, is incredibly beautiful and transformed in the evening with candles and low lit lanterns.
Days at Finca Cortesin can be spent around the hotels vast pool, acid jade tiles line the pool giving a beautiful deep dark contrast to the crisp white sun loungers and smart black parasols. Lunch can be served to your lounger or at the pool resrtaurant, housed at one end of the pool with the Cesares Mountains as a backdrop. Peace is the soundtrack.
The hotel is located ever so slightly in land, however, sea lovers have their own beach club less than five minutes from the hotel. Transfers are provided by the hotel on request, meaning you’ll never have to wait much more than 5 minutes to be driven down to the beach club or back to the hotel.
The beach club is home to a large infinity pool and sun loungers are positioned around the pool, on a small grassy area and along a fairly narrow stretch of planted soft sand that sits just behind the ‘real beach’. This part of the coast isn't famous for it's beaches, so the line of soft white sand added by Finca Cortsein is a nice touch.
The beach club restaurant holds live music during lunch and dinner, giving it a lovely up beat but never ‘party’ atmosphere. The menu ranges from light salads to squid ink paella and the atmosphere is laid back, fun and friendly.
Finca Cortsein is suited perfectly for those who truly appreciate great service, peaceful surroundings and superb food. Far removed from the flash of the Costa del Sol, this is understated luxury at it's finest.
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Rates start from 620 euros.