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One of Spain’s most luxurious hotels is now ‘like a ghost ship’ after 15-month pandemic closure

A favourite spot for wealthy British holidaymakers in Spain has been left to rot during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The luxurious Gran Hotel and Spa in Benahavis, near Marbella, home to a football training camp used by Germany, Belgium and Aston Villa, has now fallen into disrepair.

Pictures show how the four-star venue’s lush manicured lawns have dried up and its inviting pools have turned green.

Frogs live the stagnant waters, which are covered with a film of algae. 

The hotel was a celebrated location on the Costa Del Sol, admired for its lavish facilities, including a golf course and spa.

But its deckchairs and rooms have now been empty for 15 months after it was forced to temporarily close in March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A favourite Spanish spot for wealthy British holidaymakers has been left to rot during the Covid-19 pandemic due to a lengthy temporary closure

Pictures show how at the luxurious Gran Hotel and Spa in Benahavis, near Marbella, inviting swimming pools have turned green from debris

Pictures show how at the luxurious Gran Hotel and Spa in Benahavis, near Marbella, inviting swimming pools have turned green from debris

The four-star venue's lush manicured lawns have dried up in the heat from the southern Spanish sun without watering

The four-star venue’s lush manicured lawns have dried up in the heat from the southern Spanish sun without watering

One local said the stagnant waters of the hotel's pools are now 'only any good for tadpoles and frogs' after maintenance fell off during the prolonged closure

One local said the stagnant waters of the hotel’s pools are now ‘only any good for tadpoles and frogs’ after maintenance fell off during the prolonged closure

The summer house which operates as a swim-up bar lies unused, with sun loungers casually tossed into the water and knocked over

The summer house which operates as a swim-up bar lies unused, with sun loungers casually tossed into the water and knocked over

Weeds have sprung up around the unkempt hotel, which had been temporarily closed for more than a year due to Covid-19

Weeds have sprung up around the unkempt hotel, which had been temporarily closed for more than a year due to Covid-19

The summer house which operates as a swim-up bar lies unused, with sun loungers casually tossed into the water. 

The once immaculate exterior corridors with their pristine plants are now infested with overgrown or dead shrubs.

The hotel is also home to a football training camp with teams including the German and Belgian National Teams, and Aston Villa reserving the facilities to prepare for competition. 

Locals have blamed the hotel’s ongoing closure in part on Spain remaining on the UK Government’s Amber List of travel destinations, despite Covid-19 cases plunging across the country. 

Spain reported 4,924 new coronavirus cases on Friday and 13 deaths.

One local described the hotel as being ‘like a ghost ship.’ 

‘The Gran is the jewel in the crown when it comes to hotels in the Costas yet it is now a sad shadow of its former self. The place is overgrown with weeds and the pools are only any good for tadpoles and frogs,’ one local said.

‘Many national football teams have previously stayed there due to excellent football training facilities nearby and it is a favourite of wealthy British holidaymakers too. 

‘The fact Spain is still on amber surely is a factor in it not reopening as many Brits would book in there.

‘There are beautiful hotels elsewhere in the village but the Gran is still an important part of the area and needs to reopen again. It’s currently like a ghost ship.’

The resort, home to a football training camp used by Germany, Belgium and Aston Villa, has now fallen into disrepair

The resort, home to a football training camp used by Germany, Belgium and Aston Villa, has now fallen into disrepair

The venue's deckchairs and rooms have now been empty for 15 months after it was forced to temporarily close in March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic

The venue’s deckchairs and rooms have now been empty for 15 months after it was forced to temporarily close in March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic

Locals say the once-inviting blue swimming pools are now inhabited by frogs and covered with a film of algae

Locals say the once-inviting blue swimming pools are now inhabited by frogs and covered with a film of algae

Pictured: The hotel's outdoor pool with bridge and swim-up bar before the 15-month closure, which began in March 2020

Pictured: The hotel’s outdoor pool with bridge and swim-up bar before the 15-month closure, which began in March 2020

In April, the hotel posted on Facebook, saying: 'For the well-being of our clients and colleagues, now it's time to stay home, thus helping to prevent the spread of the epidemic.

In April, the hotel posted on Facebook, saying: ‘For the well-being of our clients and colleagues, now it’s time to stay home, thus helping to prevent the spread of the epidemic.

Despite pleas from locals and potential guests, it is feared bosses of the sprawling 95 room hotel in the village have given up on saving its 2021 summer season, with travel giants Expedia not taking bookings at the spot until January 2022.

A notice in Spanish on the deserted hotel’s Facebook page dated March 22, 2020 reads: ‘Dear followers, due to the coronavirus pandemic situation, the Gran Hotel Benahavis will remain temporarily closed. 

‘We appreciate your understanding and hope that the situation will be resolved as soon as possible, and we can welcome you and receive your visit again.’

In April, the hotel posted again, saying: ‘For the well-being of our clients and colleagues, now it’s time to stay home, thus helping to prevent the spread of the epidemic.

Despite pleas from locals and potential guests, it is feared bosses of the sprawling 95 room hotel in the village have given up on saving its 2021 summer season, with travel giants Expedia not taking bookings at the spot until January 2022

Despite pleas from locals and potential guests, it is feared bosses of the sprawling 95 room hotel in the village have given up on saving its 2021 summer season, with travel giants Expedia not taking bookings at the spot until January 2022

Locals have blamed the hotel's ongoing closure in part on Spain remaining on the UK Government's Amber List of travel destinations

Spain remains on the UK Government's Amber List of travel destinations, despite Covid-19 cases plunging across the country

Locals have blamed the hotel’s ongoing closure in part on Spain remaining on the UK Government’s Amber List of travel destinations, despite Covid-19 cases plunging across the country

The once immaculate exterior corridors with their pristine plants are now infested with overgrown or dead shrubs

The once immaculate exterior corridors with their pristine plants are now infested with overgrown or dead shrubs

A notice in Spanish on the deserted hotel’s Facebook page dated March 22, 2020 reads: ‘Dear followers, due to the coronavirus pandemic situation, the Gran Hotel Benahavis will remain temporarily closed’

The hotel has told social media followers: 'We appreciate your understanding and hope that the situation will be resolved as soon as possible, and we can welcome you and receive your visit again'

The hotel has told social media followers: ‘We appreciate your understanding and hope that the situation will be resolved as soon as possible, and we can welcome you and receive your visit again’

Pictured: A covered outdoor bar area at the hotel before the pandemic closure

Pictured: A covered outdoor bar area at the hotel before the pandemic closure

Locals have blamed the hotel's ongoing closure in part on Spain remaining on the UK Government's Amber List of travel destinations. Spain reported 4,924 new coronavirus cases on Friday and 13 deaths

Locals have blamed the hotel’s ongoing closure in part on Spain remaining on the UK Government’s Amber List of travel destinations. Spain reported 4,924 new coronavirus cases on Friday and 13 deaths

‘We are convinced that this situation will emerge more strengthened as a society, and we are looking forward more than ever to meeting again, enjoying all the beautiful surroundings we have, and welcoming you back to the Gran Hotel Benahavis. We will be back.’ 

The village of Benahavis is known as ‘The Dining Room of The Costa Del Sol’ for its numerous high-class restaurants offering delicious meals.

The surrounding area is home to many British expats and the site of a hillside mansion and vineyard belonging to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Nearby Marbella is a favoured holiday haunt of the rich and famous, including Hugh Grant, Rod Stewart and Cristiano Ronaldo.  

'The Gran is the jewel in the crown when it comes to hotels in the Costas,' one local said, adding that it was 'a shadow of its former self'

‘The Gran is the jewel in the crown when it comes to hotels in the Costas,’ one local said, adding that it was ‘a shadow of its former self’

The village of Benahavis is known as 'The Dining Room of The Costa Del Sol' for its numerous high-class restaurants offering delicious meals. Pictured: A covered outdoor seating area at the hotel

The village of Benahavis is known as ‘The Dining Room of The Costa Del Sol’ for its numerous high-class restaurants offering delicious meals. Pictured: A covered outdoor seating area at the hotel

The lavish venue has a number of sporting facilities, including a golf course and tennis court. It is also home to a football training camp

The lavish venue has a number of sporting facilities, including a golf course and tennis court. It is also home to a football training camp

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