Home of the Volvo Golf World Match Play Championship, Finca Cortesin offers one of the best courses in Europe. But there is so much more to this beautiful property for it is truly a hidden gem.
Originally a private estate in the township of Casares, the property is situated in a large forest, populated with evergreens and cork trees. Here, the profits from cattle raising and the production of wheat and barley made this one of the wealthiest areas in the country in former days.
The property was originally owned by the Ponce de Leon family, and later it belonged to a wealthy landowner who used the landmark for hunting with his bourgeois friends.
Finca Cortesin, as it stands now, was opened in 2008 as a 5-star luxury hotel with 67 suites, three restaurants, three swimming pools, a luxurious and relaxing spa, a seaside beach club and a par-72 golf course with 18 holes designed by Cabell B. Robinson.
There is a huge feeling of space here, not only in the suites but the hotel’s grounds, even when the property is running at maximum occupancy. Overcrowding is never an issue.
In terms of style, the hotel has a certain charming quirkiness to it. One can’t help but admire many of the features, including the unique flooring taken from an 18th-century Portuguese convent and the fact that each door is a different style and shape. The hotel, I was told, was in fact built around the doors. Thus the public areas have a warm and lived in feel; you are a guest in what could be a private home.
- Daily breakfast for two
- Spa Treatment
- One 50 minute massage per person per stay (minimum stay and selected suites apply)
- Early check-in / Late check-out
- Subject to availability
- VIP welcome
- Mineral water, fruits and flowers in room upon arrival
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
Exclusive benefits may vary by hotel or hotel group. Exclusive benefits apply when booking the Best Available Rate and are not combinable with any hotel offers or special packages unless stated.
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About an hour’s drive west from Malaga airport, I arrived at the hotel and was greeted immediately by a doorman who took my luggage from and the keys from me to valet park my car. The main courtyard is typical Andalusian architecture with whitewashed walls, cobbled driveways, tiled fountains and splashes of potted pink flowers dotted around the entrance. The feeling you have arrived ‘at the Med’ is strong.
At the reception, the Portuguese, French and English influences shine through from the beautiful rugs on the floor and walls to the French paintings and the ornate vases on display.
I was offered a complimentary drink and tapas in the Blue Bar, and after a long day of travelling, this was greatly appreciated. I opted to go local and went for a glass of Rioja and a selection of Manchego cheese and Spanish hams.
The service was smooth, and the atmosphere in the bar was very relaxing, where the décor oozes luxury in a shabby-chic kind of way. It has a country house feel to it: high ceilings, parquet wood flooring and handmade blue wallpaper. British portraits hang on the walls while mahogany cabinets and tastefully worn chairs and rugs add to the ambience.
After tearing myself away from the tapas in anticipation of the culinary delights that awaited me that night in the restaurant, I was escorted to my suite.
Room and suites
The overall sense of space here at the Finca extends to the rooms. My junior suite measured 52 m² (560 ft²) with a ceiling height of four meters, giving an elegant sense of space. All the suites are individually designed using a mixture of very bold and muted colours, teamed with modern pieces of furniture and accessories. The use of colour is bold and attractive: vibrant reds and grey and white print wallpaper and drapes.
This suite has an open entrance hall area with ample wardrobe space and a small chaise longue. The king-size bed occupies half of the suite and the crisp Egyptian cotton bed linen made for a comfortable night’s sleep.
A lovely sitting area with large sofa and two chairs and a desk fills the rest of the space. A vase filled with hand-cut countryside flowers was placed on the table, a homely touch.
The outside terrace is a great space to enjoy the Spanish sunshine, with room for two chairs and a table and sun lounger. There’s a well-stocked mini-bar in the room with a good selection of nibbles, but strangely, if you wanted morning tea or coffee there are no facilities to make yourself any.
The junior suites surround a Moroccan-style garden, complete with a water fountain, a lovely way to start the day. The hotel’s executive sea-view suites have picture postcard vistas and large terraces; book in advance for these rooms. Or take a one-bedroom pool suite with your own spacious terrace and pool.
The in-room technology was the only glitch to a near perfect stay. There are no USB sockets and surprisingly no sockets next to the bedside tables. The large plasma TV only offered the standard English speaking news channels, and apart from this, there are no other entertainment options. WiFi connectivity was good throughout the hotel.
In keeping with the rest of the suite, the bathroom was very spacious, 12 m² (130 ft²) to be exact. There is a large bath and a separate shower cubicle, a vanity area with twin basins with excellent lighting and I dare say one of the best hotel hairdryers I have used in Europe.
Toiletries are Penhaligon’s, all 50 ml except for the bath essence which was 100ml. In all the other suite categories, the toiletries are 100 ml as standard.
The only thing that was noticeable was that the water temperature in the shower was lukewarm during my stay, a slight grievance as a piping hot shower is welcome in the cooler months.
The El Jardin de Luz restaurant is decorated in a rather unique and quirky style with tall ceilings, clay tile floors, antiques and painted tiles so that you certainly feel as if you are in the Mediterranean region. The walls are decorated in a green, floral pattern which is not to everyone’s taste and initially felt quite overwhelming, but after settling into breakfast, I soon got used to it.
Breakfast was delicious. I was presented with a basket of fresh warm breads and pastries, a selection of jams and other goodies, and a small yoghurt granola pot, all before I had ordered off the menu. Scrambled eggs were the order of the day and they were delicious.
Weather permitting, I would recommend breakfast on the outdoor terrace where spectacular views of the Med and of the garden with its established olive trees offers a wonderful way to start the day.
During the evening, the restaurant took on a whole different feel when dimmed lights and candles gave the space an intimate feel. The executive Chef Lutz Bosing and his team concentrate on producing traditional and simple dishes using the best local produce. I opted for the sirloin steak, with roasted vegetables which was beautifully prepared and cooked just as I had requested. The cheesecake was the best I have ever tasted and sipping on a lovely glass of Rioja, it was a most enjoyable dinner.
The service at both breakfast and dinner was not the slickest; staff were attentive and friendly but at times slow and forgetful.
Spa and wellness
The spa is rather impressive at 2,200 m² (over 7000 ft²).
It comprises three specific areas for face and body treatments, an indoor swimming pool and a fitness centre. You can also book a personal trainer, yoga and pilates sessions.
While staying here, I had a backache, and so I booked in for a 50-minute therapeutic massage, and while I’ve had many massages over the years, the after-effects of this treatment were stellar. I left feeling rejuvenated. All treatments are performed using products from the French brand Biologique Recherche.
Golfers will be in seventh heaven as the estate has its own championship golf course. In addition, guests can spend the day horse-riding, playing paddle and tennis or sailing and scuba diving. All activities are arranged by the hotel.
Pool and beach
The indoor swimming pool is surrounded by tall, arched windows, potted palm trees and loungers and offers an elegant and colonial ambience. Surrounding the pool area is a sauna, jacuzzi and a Turkish bath, plus a snow cabin, unique to Spain, at temperatures maintained at -12 degrees. I was not tempted by this experience, but some I know swear by its beneficial effects.
From April onwards, the hotel has a beach club, and guests are ferried over by a complimentary shuttle bus. Here, there is another huge infinity pool surrounded by palm trees and sun loungers, while a private area is reserved for hotel guests only with its own restaurant and bar.
During high season, the poolside restaurant is open and serves light meals and drinks, however, there was a distinct lack of any service around the pool when I was lounging there during an unseasonably warm winter’s day in March. While I understand it was early in the season, there were eight of us relaxing around the pool, and I’m sure we would have all appreciated the offer of a cold drink.
There is also an Olympic-size adult pool located to the side of the hotel.
Staff and service
The staff here were overall extremely friendly, warm and professional. The welcome I received set the tone for my stay, together with the impeccable service at the Blue Bar, which was very personal. Apart from the issues in the restaurant, the staff and the service here were exemplary.
A mixed bunch of German, Spanish and Brits, most of whom were enjoying a game of golf in the winter sun.
The checkout was as warm as the welcome I received. The doorman had my hire car waiting for me loaded with my luggage, and he and the reception staff waved me on my way
How to get here
50 minutes from Malaga Airport
67 Rooms & Suites