Javier Lopez, who is based in Madrid, is one clever investor – and he seems to understand luxury lifestyle. He has built up Finca Cortesin, 50 minutes from Malaga airport and only 15 minutes from Gibraltar. The 480-acre estate is anchored by its Cabell Robinson golf, and also by the 50-room luxury Finca Cortesin Hotel, Spa & Golf with nearby letting villas. One thing was missing, however, soon after its opening in 2008 Finca Cortesin’s hotel GM René Zimmer was beginning to get comments about the lack of a beach. No problem. Señor Lopez leased a vacant spot right on the Mediterranean.
In 2013 Finca Cortesin Beach Club opened, see it above. It has an Olympic-sized infinity pool, spa-level changing and relax rooms, and, on the big whitewood deck, a glass-sided restaurant that serves some of the world’s lightest tempura-style deep-fried squid: he also shipped in fine sand from Cadiz to build an upper terrace above the actual beach, which is not so fine sand. Lopez overall invested €1.5 million in this set-up, and the return on investment was really quick, says René Zimmer. Hotel guests have regular seven-minute shuttles to and from the beach. They can also stop off at the circular Plaza mall at the main entrance to the resort – this complex includes the indoor-outdoor Don Giovanni which is really popular with local residents as well as hotel guests.
Bakar boutique, right next to Don Giovanni, sensibly stays open until midnight, for post-prandial impromptu spend. What a difference it makes to find a high-quality boutique attached to a hotel, and one that displays its goods in a luxury way – the buying here is done by Javier Lopez’s sister. There is also a Javier López and Fer Frances Gallery, featuring the contemporary art that they offer in their other galleries, in London and Madrid (the pair seems to be particularly fond of works by 90-year old American artist Alex Katz). The Plaza also hosts a Hermanas Calderón interior design studio, and if you want to buy or rent classic cars, head for Moveo.
But back to the hotel. There are many guests who still prefer just lazing around one of the two outdoor pools, or working out in the gym, next to the big indoor pool and the spa. The ideal day for me of course starts early. Yes, this is the hotel where a trainer said, unsolicited, “I know you work out early, we can open the gym for you two hours before the general opening”, which was a gesture that added yet further to overall memories of what is a true luxury product. Luxury always aims its bar higher, of course – bedlinens, for example, are being upped from 300 to 400 thread count. It would be difficult to get the breakfast product even further up the luxury stakes; the signature omelette Cortesin comes with black truffle and shavings of Manchego cheese, from La Mancha sheep of that breed (although breakfast is included in the room rate, I did admittedly have to pay €14 for that dish, and it was worth every cent.