Sitting on the edge of the pretty white hill village of Casares, the Finca Cortesin Hotel, Golf and Spa is set away from the worst excesses of the Costa del Sol. It looks impressive – it cost €700m (about £600m) to build so it should – with its architecturally appealing mix of traditional Spanish and Moorish styles. Elegant in design, at its heart is a beautiful courtyard of palm trees and fountains, bounded by a portico, with secluded seating areas decorated with mosaics and tea lights.
This "traditional finca" may be a new-build, but some of the materials used give it real character, such as the cloister doors taken from Andalucian convents, and the floors, which once graced an 18th-century Portuguese nunnery. The hotel is a stunner, though one of its best attributes is the views it offers, across to the sea in one direction and to the mountains in the other.
With just 67 suites sitting in more than 26,000 square yards (each with 13ft-high ceilings and a garden or terrace), guests are ensured space and privacy. The walls are shaded in pale olive and the black wrought-iron stools are given a Moorish twist with colourful stripey covers, while the mauve gingham headboards on the beds and bright flowery curtains feel more English in style. The Italian marble bathrooms have intricately tiled floors and vast walk-in showers, while the baths are positioned so you can make the most of the views across the hotel's grounds while you soak.
The food and drink
There are three restaurants – if you include the bar with its luxurious drapes and rugs, where tapas can be enjoyed on deep, squashy sofas. Schilo is the most formal choice. It has Asian fusion cuisine and offers a tasting menu. The food is prepared in an open kitchen where you can see chef Schilo van Coevorden (formerly of Blakes Amsterdam) hard at work. Four courses costs €74 (£64) per head without drinks. El Jardin serves a Spanish menu in a pleasant room decorated with blue tiles and copper pots. Three courses costs €50 (£43), without drinks.
The hotel's golf course – with an academy managed by Jack Nicklaus – is to host the Volvo World Match Play Championship for the first time in October. There are three swimming pools – two outside (one Olympic size), and a third in the spa filled with saline water. The spa has seven treatment rooms, a water menu with no less than 18 different types to try, and the only snow cave in Spain. There is also a gym and a Pilates studio, with a tennis court and small grass football pitch coming soon. Outside the hotel, explore nearby Casares, a typical Andalucian hilltown of white sugar-cube houses, with a Moorish castle (catch the feria on the first weekend of August). More of the same can be found a little further inland at Gaucin. Estepona has a good sandy beach – children will love the playground on its promenade.
Children are welcome. No pets. Some areas are accessible for wheelchair users.
Double rooms cost from €275 per night with breakfast.
Finca Cortesin Hotel, Golf & Spa, Casares, Malaga E-29690 (00 34 952 937 800; fincacortesin.com).