Travel: A grown-up getaway to remember at Kempinski Hotel Bahia, Esteponia, Spain
Terracotta turrets at Kempinski Hotel Bahia
Where to holiday with friends in your early 30s? Having outgrown the traditional raucous ‘girls trips’ destinations of our 20’s, however fun they were, and keen to avoid the failsafe city break after a busy summer, I found myself a little out of ideas. Not to mention the stress that was trying to coordinate everyone’s erratic diaries and finding we could only manage a long weekend in the end of September. With only 4 days to play with, we were keen to avoid longer flights, ruling out the likes of Greece and Turkey, destinations typically lauded for breaks this time of year, for the fear of cutting short our much anticipated R&R (read as Rose and Relaxation) time.
This combination of factors led us to the old faithful destination that is Spain, lured to Esteponia (situated 40 minutes from Malaga airport) with the promise of modern luxury from the newly renovated Kempinski Hotel Bahia. Upon arrival we were greeted by a sprawling skyline of rust coloured turrets, which are seemingly in the process of being reclaimed by tumbling greenery. As a true millennial worth her own weight in houseplants, the sight of greenery is always a welcoming calming influence on me. Do not be daunted by its initial size, a large proportion of the compound are holiday homes and inhabited only in certain times of the year so you never feel overwhelmed by the number of guests.
Fresh from a 4 million euro renovation, the interiors are flawlessly on trend, expect indulgent dark jewel tone colour palettes with statement metallic highlights and retro nods. Making it perfectly Instagram-able, another very important criteria to modern travellers. But do not fear that does not mean it is style over substance, the 3 restaurants have had as much love and care invested into their culinary offerings as they have the en point décor. Take the Baltazar Bar and Grill, the perfect evening spot for Spanish classics. Expect epic grills and seafood all freshly prepared by the diligent team in the open kitchen. The Tuna Tataki is an absolute must, a tantalising Asian inspired dish, the combines seared tuna with avocado, mango and toasted sesame, it’s a repeat order for sure.
Modern dining at Baltazar, Kempinski Hotel Bahia
Be sure to swing by The Black Rose Bar to be matched to your perfect cocktail by one of their master mixologists. You may need a guide through their unusual and inventive takes on the classics. Look out for the Thycu Collins, a refreshing mix of cucumber, thyme syrup, yuzu and lemon juice, and I can guarantee its predecessor the stuffy ever predictable Tom Collins will become a distant memory.
Ditch the classic cocktail list at the Black Rose Bar
Newly opened, the Spiler beach club is a destination in its own right, great for sunbed sloths not keen to moving too far. A cool hangout of crisp white wash walls and traditional wicker furniture, the menu features an array of zesty seafood, fresh salads and artisan pizzas. Of course no trip to Spain is complete without the compulsory paella, but this isn’t just any paella, this is a classy affair of rich saffron infused lobster. Combine with a crisp rose and recline to a bed to digest in the shade. Set directly on the beach it has all the views, and those with mobility problems will relish the flat pathed beach walk – perfect for an afternoon mosey should you be that way inclined.
Or if you want to stay a little closer to home adjacent to Spiler beach club is a horticultural garden brimming with lemon, avocado and olive trees, perfect for a strolling contemplation. Feel free to explore the sites very own 16th century watchtower, still stoically keeping an eye out for pirates so many centuries later and now available as a memorable location for private dinners or yoga sessions.
But if anything can tempt you away from poolside lounging’s, it will be the genteel white washed squares of Esteponia, lauded as the ‘garden of the Costa Del Sol’ with stunning botanical gardens and orchid house. A buzzing cultural hub with urban art and poetry on the streets, abundant in museums and galleries, all the while carefully conserving its own traditions and history.
Sunsets at Spiler Beach club
Although it may feel like a world away handily you are only 30 minutes from Marbella, and being young-ish once you are fully rested, it’s about finding the right party. You should respect the classics and pay a visit to Nikki Beach and discover for yourself why it has been much lauded and replicated worldwide, and deservedly so because it does the boujie party oh so well. Look out for special events like the ‘Amazing Sundays Champagne Brunches’ for the ultimate dining and entertaining experience, all while taking in the spectacular views of the Mediterranean. And when you are all danced out retreat back to the calm of Esteponia, and the warm embrace of the Kempinski Hotel Bahia to recover all over again. Why not pay a visit to their Natura Bisse spa (or heaven forbid their state of the art gym) to help speed up the process? Life is all about balance after all.