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Toast to the coast

The outstanding Hotel Villa Padierna has set a new standard for luxury hotels on Spain’s Costa del Sol; it is our Best Luxury Hotel in Spain

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Taking its name from the Count of Villa Padierna – one of Spain’s last great aristocrats, whose bronze statue greets guests as they enter – the hotel has a regal and elegant ambience similar to that of a grand estate. Surrounded by three 18 hole golf courses and with its own amphitheatre, ballroom, chapel and ESPA spa, it has plenty to explore and discover.

Each of the hotel’s 11 villas and 118 rooms and suites are unique, with carefully chosen antique furnishings incorporating the new with the old. Plasma televisions, music systems and high speed internet access allow guests to enjoy the hotel as a home away from home. Additional amenities, such as espresso coffee machines, private pools, sun decks and kitchens are also available in the elaborate villas. The majority of bathrooms also have floor to ceiling windows opening onto terraces.

The heart of the hotel is a 20m tall glass atrium courtyard, where guests are invited to sit and relax while having a drink or light snack. The courtyard unites each of the guestroom hallways to the main building, and on each of the ground level hallways marble statues and Florentine frescoes decorate the public spaces.

The outdoor garden is modelled on the historical Persian garden Bagh e Fin: a series of fountains and waterways made of glazed turquoise Islamic tiles, set among clusters of flora and fauna. Marble benches line smaller courtyard areas protected by lush foliage for quiet conversations and contemplation. Wonderful fragrances from jasmine and lady of the night lift the senses, while cypress trees and palms surrounding the lake-like swimming pool offer guests shade from the Mediterranean sun. A spectacular amphitheatre and chapel provide the perfect venue for weddings and cultural events throughout the year, especially under the clear night sky, when the array of fountains shines under different coloured lights.

Eating in
Villa Padierna offers a number of fine dining opportunities, with personal cuisine created with unique techniques, imaginative ideas and fresh seasonal ingredients. Víctor Taborda, executive chef for La Veranda restaurant, has been trained by several award winning chefs, including Martín Berasategui. His menu creates a gastronomic fusion of northern and southern Spanish cuisine, which puts Hotel Villa Padierna in a well known culinary scene.

La Loggia offers casual alfresco dining on a spacious terrace, where guests can enjoy delicious regional and international dishes while taking in the magnificent and peaceful views over the golf course. On a clear day, the beautiful silhouette of Gibraltar and the coastline of Africa are visible.

The pool bar, La Pergola, is the perfect setting to enjoy a cocktail under the Costa del Sol’s glorious summer sky.

Cooler evenings are better spent in Eddy’s Bar: named after Villa Padierna’s architect Ed Gilbert, this is a cosy, English-inspired study warmed by a fireplace and decorated with valuable antiques and Spanish oil paintings. The ceiling’s arc shaped lunettes are decorated with reproductions of paintings depicting the original Medici Estate, closely resembling the architecture and landscape of the hotel. El Salon is adjacent to Eddy’s Bar and offers an indoor area for those who wish to smoke with a selection of fine cigars and aged whiskeys. The graceful sitting room contains antique gold gilded mirrors, two fireplaces and a range of antique furniture, clocks and oil paintings depicting the Roman emperors.

Chilling out
The 2,000sq m ESPA Thermae Spa contains a vast range of treatment rooms including steam rooms, saunas, a cold water plunge pool, a relaxation pool and a large indoor swimming pool with massage jets. More unusual treatments include salt vapour treatments and an ice fountain. For the more active guests there is a gymnasium with state of the art equipment.

The spa echoes the style of the hotel, with marble predominant and statues of gods and goddesses throughout the treatment rooms. The hallway is decorated with anatomical drawings taken from an 18th century textbook, providing insights into the constitution of the human body. Using ESPA treatments throughout, the 12 treatment rooms provide space for a wide range of techniques including massages, body wraps, manicures, pedicures and facials.

The scented steam rooms offer an unforgettable experience. The Vapour of Bali is a marble steam room with gold tiles and provides guests with relaxing music, fragrances and artefacts from Bali. This room, constantly kept at 38ºC, acts as the ideal environment in which guests can relax and relieve stress. The Vapour of India contains gold tiled alcoves and is adorned with blue, orange and green lights. Echoing the sounds and scents of India, the room is filled with delicious fragrances of curry, ginger, cinnamon, lemongrass and orange, aimed to stimulate the senses and aid circulation.

Following the ‘round the world’ theme, the Turkish Hammam is composed of chic striped marble tiles, and is scented with refreshing eucalyptus and mint oils, creating a purifying and detoxifying effect. After this, guests can experience the Vapour of Salt, a steam room containing large statues and a pedestal filled with sea salt. It is here visitors can act as the Romans did, scrubbing their bodies with the highly mineralised salt to exfoliate the skin, and then relax in large marble chairs while absorbing the steam, releasing toxins from the body. The orange-scented Shower of Oil then cleanses the skin by rinsing off the sea salt.

The Greek sauna is perhaps the most romantic of all, with tiny star-like lights illuminating the ceiling, and the warming aroma of rosemary and lavender. If guests want to relax their muscles, the Finnish saunas are ideal. With one at 95ºC and the other at 75ºC, they activate the blood circulation, eliminate toxins and relaxe the muscles. The Laconium, meanwhile, is maintained at body temperature and is the last stage of the thermal circuit, used to normalise blood pressure, and contains soothing palm rose and ylang-ylang scents. After a day in the spa, visitors can head for the spacious relaxation room, where fruits, tea and relaxing beds provide respite and replenishment from everyday stress, and luxurious silk curtains allow just enough sunlight to create a calming ambience.

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