It is not often that a chandelier in a bedroom appears as a hat, or is it a fairy fascinator wafting over the arrival… whatever, the whimsical metal cage hanging above the bed in room 42 of Finca Cortesin makes one want to dance.
And that is what every hotel bedroom should do, says the gal (thinking, the corner of her smile momentarily turned down, how many hotel rooms she has entered that have been really depressing, and no, she is not going to share).
The 67 bedrooms at Finca Cortesin were designed by Ana and Christina Calderon, who definitely have a sense of boldness. Be different. The fabrics on the French windows in 42’s bedroom and salon are natural linen with black engravings of rows of standing horses, each 30 cm high. The room’s ceilings, by the way, are 14 feet. Authentic luxury is a feeling of space.
Room 42 is a pool suite. Despite being on the upper floor, it has an absolutely private terrace so the pool is great for skinny-dipping, just to get wet in this delightful but somewhat searing Costa del Sol heat. No wonder those from chilly northern Europe and the constant downpours of the UK love the thought of flying into Malaga and then nipping along to one of the many resorts here (Americans fly Delta or Iberia to Madrid and take the train).
In 42, you wake up, look up at the chandelier and pull back the horses to catch sunrise. Gosh it is glorious today. It looks like a fabric spread across the sky. Watch for a few minutes, then retrieve shoes, put outside the door last night in the leather shoe box sensibly marked 42, in big numbers.
Then head down for breakfast, outside on the terrace (great bread – the local village, Casares, is renowned for its wood-burning bakeries.
Then, if you are a typical guest here, head for the golf. The course was designed by Princeton historian turned designer Cabell Robinson, and said to be one of the finest courses in Spain (6,900 yards, over a hundred bunkers and views of the Mediterranean from every one of the 18 holes.
The Volvo World Match Play Championship was held here, May 17-20, 2012 – it was won by 30 year-old Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts
The blue of the trophy is a reminder of the blue skies, and the colour, in fact, that appears throughout the entire Finca Cortesin complex. As well as the golf course and the hotel, which spreads over so much ground you would think it has about 200 rooms, at least, there are masses of residences and villas-to-rent and a big shopping complex is beginning to emerge.
The buildings are all sparkling white, outside. The grounds are exquisite. The hotel has areas ideal for weddings or car launches (an underground garage can be turned into a product-launch venue as well, as it holds 56 vehicles).
There are flower beds and archways and walkways flanked by bright spots of pink, white, purple. One of the two outdoor pools, a staggering 160 feet in length, is lined in blue tiles.
Inside the main hacienda that is the hotel, the lobby leads to a square sitting area that soars through two high-ceilinged floors to a glass conservatory roof. The sitting area has red and yellow furnishings, and old stone flag squares as flooring.
Go up 34 new-stone steps to the upper floor gallery. Around this gallery are three 12-foot blue-based rugs, hand-sewn cross stitch from Portugal. In the all-white walls, blue alcoves hold white china sculptures that make you smile.
All the public areas were designed by Duarte Pinto, real name Duarte María Egaz de Avillez Pinto Coelho. He is Portuguese, hence those rugs. He appears to have an unending supply of antiques. Just as Sir Rocco Forte’s sister Olga Polizzi, who oversees design at all his hotels, may well place a single wood hat ‘mould’ in one of the suites at Brown’s in London, so here, in a downstairs room with dull-red walls, Duarte Pinto has a whole shelf of hat moulds.
Variously throughout the hotel there are multi-displays of giant shells, each under a tall Victorian glass dome. The fitness area soars, with more high ceilings (many say Arlette does the best facial on the whole of the Costa del Sol, by the way).
Come out from what-ever, and you pass a big mirror so you can see how you look. The mirror has a frame of driftwood twigs, a nice nod to sustainability. Back up in room 42, by the way, if you look sideways you can see banks of angled solar panels, another environmental touch.
What is it about these older guys in this part of the world? Pinto was born in 1923 and was working right until his death in 2010. Finca Cortesin, which opened in 2008, must have pleased him immensely, and he would be thrilled, surely, to know that the luxury resort, part of Preferred, not only hosts major golf championships but a lot of those car launches.
The latest, only last month, was a three-week full house to introduce car media from all over the world to the BMW – 6 Series Gran Coupé, with Dakota leather seats.